Friday, 15 January 2021

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Striking for goodwill


7.4.2016 – The UN has enlisted the volunteer services and support of prominent personalities from the worlds of art, music, film, sport and literature to highlight key issues and to draw attention to its activities. As this year’s Wimbledon unravels, meet some of the UN tennis goodwill ambassadors appointed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Over the years, many Olympians, World Champions, elite athletes and sports personalities have lent their name and time to support the UN family. Their mass appeal especially helps in motivating people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

These individuals are given the title of Goodwill Ambassador, Messenger of Peace, Special Representative, Champion for Sport or other status depending on the UN entity who has appointed them.

A number of them – including football players Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane – are also championing the cause of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Using their celebrity status and social media networks, the MDG Champions support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in mobilising global action on the Goals. For a complete list of MDG Champions, please click here.

Meet some of the tennis personalities who are associated with the activities of the UN:

Aisam ul Haq Qureshi

2 tennis

National goodwill ambassador: Pakistan
Age: 36
Game: Men’s doubles
Ranking: (currently no.46)
Goodwill: “Stop war, start tennis” 

Qureshi has served as UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Early Recovery since 2010, and raises funds for flood-affected victims through his family’s Haq Foundation. He is also a member of “Champions for Peace”, through which athletes aspire to help disadvantaged communities through sport.

Qureshi is the founder of Stop War Start Tennis. The Foundation aims to use the sport as a bridge to unite communities and nations that have been torn apart by conflict to reconcile their differences and heal the wounds of war.

Justine Henin

5 tennis

National goodwill ambassador: Belgium
Age: 34
Game: Women’s singles
Ranking: (no. 1 in 2003)
Goodwill: “Justine’s Winner’s Circle”

As a UNESCO Champion for Sport Justine is entrusted with a special mission to promote the fight against doping in sport. Her foundation “Justine’s Winners’ Circle” gives financial assistance to families with sick children, to make the dreams of the children come true and to organise meetings with Justine.

Jelena Jankovic

3 tennis

National goodwill ambassador: Serbia
Age: 31
Game: Women’s singles, doubles
Ranking: (no.19 in 2014)
Goodwill:  “Champions for Children”

As UNICEF National Ambassador, Jelena uses her name and her fame to advocate for the rights of children and adolescents in Serbia. In this respect, her contribution helps generate positive changes for children and adolescents in Serbia. The tennis professional takes a special interest in adolescents and young people and promotes their rights through her work.

Novak Djokovic

6 tennis

National goodwill ambassador: Serbia
Age: 29
Game: Men’s singles
Ranking: (currently no.1)
Goodwill:  “Champions for Children”

Novak first teamed up with UNICEF in 2011 when he was appointed a UNICEF Serbia Ambassador. Since then, he has been lending his support to improving the lives of children, especially those who are amongst the most marginalised, with a particular focus on the importance of early childhood education and development in providing children with the best start to life. On a visit to a refugee camp in Serbia, Novak stated: “Refugee and migrant children must be adequately protected in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child”.


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