WeThe15: Loughborough contracted to provide research analysis for new global human rights movement launched to represent persons with disabilities

In a historic first, Loughborough is playing a part in the launch of WeThe 15, which aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement to represent the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.

Commencing ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, WeThe15 aims to end discrimination towards persons with disabilities and act as a global movement publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion, and accessibility.

Spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA), WeThe15 brings together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the worlds of sport, human rights, policy, business, arts, and entertainment. 

As part of the project, colleagues from Loughborough University London have been contracted to provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the initial campaign. The initial focus will be on four global territories: UK, Peru, Malawi and Finland.

In a sign of solidarity with the movement, the Loughborough Campus – along with many world landmarks – will be lit up purple for the duration of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Dr Andrea Geurin, Acting Institute Director for the Institute for Sport Business, Loughborough University London, said:

“Over the last year the Global Pandemic has produced a seismic shift towards inclusion – mainly driven by social media. 

“The WeThe15 campaign is a real opportunity to make the world a better and more inclusive place for everyone. Our research will help to improve the effectiveness of the campaign. It is amazing to play our part in such a movement.”

The project will unite international organisations to fight for a better, equal and inclusive world. Stakeholders will also work with governments, businesses, and the public over the next decade to initiate change for the world’s largest marginalised group who make up 15% of the global population.

IPC President Andrew Parsons added:

“WeThe15 is the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities and aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

“By uniting several leading international organisations and the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities behind one common movement, we will make a tangible and well overdue difference for the planet’s largest marginalised group.

“Sport, and events such as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, are hugely powerful vehicles to engage global audiences. By partnering with Special Olympics, Invictus Games, and Deaflympics, there will be at least one major international sport event for persons with disabilities to showcase WeThe15 each year between now and 2030. This could be a real game-changer for 1.2 billion people and underlines the hugely positive impact sport can have on society.” 

For further information about WeThe15 please visit www.WeThe15.org and follow @WeThe15 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 21/170

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.