iOS app Android app

Timothy P. Shriver
GET UPDATES FROM Timothy P. Shriver
Timothy P. Shriver is the Chairman of Special Olympics. In that capacity, he serves 2.8 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in more than 180 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.

In his 13 years at the helm of Special Olympics, Shriver launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda leading to the recruitment of over 1.8 million new athletes around the world. He has worked with the leaders of China to initiate a thriving program in their country highlighted by the country’s hosting of 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai. He has also worked with world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Bertie Ahern, Rafiq Hariri, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Nyerere, Hosni Mubarak, and Shimon Peres to advance the growth of the Special Olympics mission and vision while challenging nations to adopt more supportive and just policies. He has spearheaded programs in developing or war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Iraq.

Shriver has also created exciting new Special Olympics initiatives in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health, education, and family support. Among them, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® has become the world’s largest public health screening and education program for people with intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics Get Into It®, together with Unified Sports®, promotes inclusion and acceptance around the world. In addition, he has worked to garner more legislative attention and government support for issues of concern to the Special Olympics community, testifying before Congress on numerous occasions.

As part of his passion for promoting the gifts of the forgotten, Shriver has harnessed the power of Hollywood to share the stories of inspiration and change, co-producing DreamWorks Studios’ 1997 release, “Amistad,” and Disney Studios’ 2000 release, “The Loretta Claiborne Story.” He is Executive Producer of “The Ringer,” a Farrelly Brothers’ film, and he has produced or co-produced shows for ABC, TNT, and NBC networks, and made broadcast appearances on The Today Show, CNN, MTV, and Nickelodeon’s World of Difference.

Before joining Special Olympics, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He has worked in substance abuse prevention, violence, dropout prevention, and teen pregnancy prevention. He created the New Haven Public Schools’ Social Development Project, now considered the leading school-based prevention effort in the U.S., and co-founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading research organization in the U.S. in the field of social and emotional learning. Shriver currently chairs CASEL.

Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including honorary degrees from Loyola University, New England College, and Albertus Magnus College; the Medal of the City of Athens, Greece; the Order de Manuel Amador Guerrera of the Republic of Panama; the 1995 Connecticut Citizen of the Year; the Surgeon General’s Medallion; and the 2007 Lions Humanitarian Award. He has authored articles in many leading publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Commonweal.

Shriver is a member of the Board of the Education Commission of the States’ Compact for Learning and Citizenship, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

He and his wife, Linda Potter, reside in the Washington, D.C. area with their five children.

Entries by Timothy P. Shriver

You Are A Loud

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 2:18 PM

One lasting lesson of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is that great injustice is usually defeated by very average human beings who act in unexpectedly bold ways. In 1955, a 42-year-old seamstress with a high school diploma named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus,...

Read Post

Finding An Invisible People

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 12:28 PM

What do international health organizations that immunize children throughout Africa, Europe's system of "socialized" medicine, and the United States' Medicaid programs have in common? While all well-intentioned efforts, they routinely fail to reach one of the most severely under-served populations found in every community and every country in the world...

Read Post

Becoming Great Through Service

(5) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 9:00 AM

"Everyone can be great..." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said a half century ago, "because everyone can serve."

Decades later, we can still hear King's cadence and feel the long reverberation of his voice and see the way in which his eyes met his audience in seriousness and spirit....

Read Post

Their Revolution Still Awaits

(2) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 12:15 PM

It's hard to land in Seoul, Korea and believe that only 50 years ago, the Republic of Korea was among the world's poorest nations. Today, it is an economic powerhouse led by companies like Samsung and Hyundai. Where once there were indigent farming villages, now stand booming towns and cities....

Read Post

An Inaugural Shift

(10) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 7:03 PM

President Obama's second inaugural may well be most remembered for the words he said rather than the policies he promoted. He joins a long list of Presidents in repeating the call to "freedom" and an equally long list in citing the founding fathers. But never before has a president mentioned...

Read Post

An Open Letter To Ann Coulter

(37) Comments | Posted October 25, 2012 | 12:34 PM

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during the Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren't dumb and you aren't shallow. So...

Read Post

No Limits

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 2:54 PM

Senior year. Spring 1962. An announcement blares over the PA at Holy Cross Academy in Kensington, Maryland: "Any girls willing to volunteer to work at a camp for retarded (sic) children, please come to the main office." Seventeen year-old twins Ann and Mary Hammerbacher thought, "why not?" and walked down...

Read Post

Putting Our Citizen Sector First

(8) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 6:01 PM

This post is part of a series on childhood poverty in the United States in partnership with Save the Children and Julianne Moore. Moore leads the organization's Valentine's Day campaign. To learn more, go to

Here's a quiz: Which population is three times as...

Read Post

Reflections From Davos

(7) Comments | Posted January 31, 2012 | 12:55 PM

As I write at the end of the World Economic Forum in Davos, I'm struck by the sense that there is a lot of news this year, but ironically, it wasn't made in Davos. The news is that there's a lot of creativity, passion, and even healing going on in...

Read Post

The Bitter Truth

(46) Comments | Posted June 24, 2011 | 3:26 PM

Last week, New York Times reporter, Danny Hakim discovered the unmistakable pattern of a crime -- the suspicious death of Jonathan Carey, a series of questionable actors who were close to the deceased at the time of his death, a string of denials by those close to the...

Read Post

Game Change

(3) Comments | Posted July 12, 2010 | 5:12 PM

Yesterday, millions of fans around the world gathered to watch the showdown between Spain and the Netherlands in the World Cup Final on the pitch in Johannesburg's Soccer City. Although this World Cup has been full of surprises on the field, the real game-changing action has happened off of it.

Read Post

An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh

(115) Comments | Posted February 5, 2010 | 3:31 PM

Dear Mr. Limbaugh:

I incredulously listened to the segment in your show in which you repeatedly and offensively used the term "retard" in reference to our meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

As a public figure, you have the great opportunity to influence the hearts and minds...

Read Post

O'Reilly and the R-Word Factor

(31) Comments | Posted February 19, 2009 | 1:09 PM

There's one mystery that seems common to religions: real love, real truth, real goodness are often revealed by the least among us.

That's the lesson that was very much on display last week in Idaho where the Special Olympics World Games drew over 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from almost...

Read Post

Tropic Thunder -- Colossal Blunder

(88) Comments | Posted August 12, 2008 | 10:33 PM

After two decades of continued devotion, the Special Olympics is faced with an industry that's determined to test every limit...this time, they've gone too far.

I joined hundreds of protestors at the recent premiere of the film Tropic Thunder to denounce its unfortunate and humiliating portrayal of people with...

Read Post