An Austrian politician and former record-breaking athlete who was left wheelchair-bound after a training accident has hailed Qatar Foundation’s (QF) commitment to accessibility and inclusivity while visiting its Education City home.
Kira Grünberg held her country’s pole vault record and was about to compete in the IAAF World Championships in Beijing four years ago when, during a routine training jump, she landed on her head and neck and broke vertebrae in her spine.
The accident left her a paraplegic, but her response to adversity drew global admiration, and she has now entered the political arena as a member of Austria’s National Council.
While in Doha, she gave a talk titled ‘My Jump Into A New Life’ at Qatar National Library, in Education City, and learned about QF's mission, facilities, and dedication to providing opportunities for everyone to fulfill their potential during a visit to the 2015 building.
“What QF has established is really impressive,” said Grünberg. “The universities at Education City are some of the best in the world and the various courses of study on offer are fantastic."
"It’s extremely important to provide education to all, including providing access to it for everyone with disabilities. That is what is provided by QF and it creates an inclusive environment for everyone. It also ensures that everyone who has something of value to add to the country can do so, and that makes a nation strong.”
Grünberg described diversity as “the key to success”, saying: “The more diverse a society is, the better it is. An open, inclusive system for all members of society lets each and every person find out where their talents lie, and that ensures that a society has its most talented people working together to make a brighter tomorrow.”
And she had a piece of advice for anyone uncertain about how to overcome the obstacles that life has placed in their way, saying: “The most important thing to do when faced with a challenge is to be surrounded by people who support you. It is essential to create a strong, positive environment around you in order to face great challenges. You have good days, you have bad days, but always try to focus on the positive.”