Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi was invited to the the House of Commons, Westminster, London on Tuesday by the Honourable Speaker John Bercow to celebrate the Pakistani player's founding of the Stop War Start Tennis Foundation.
During the event, which was attended by Laurent Delanney, ATP CEO of Europe, Qureshi delivered a keynote address to the distinguished guests, diplomats and British parliament dignitaries.
“The education that a person gains through traveling and playing on the tennis tour is everlasting,” Qureshi said. “The ATP World Tour allows us a global platform to showcase sportsmanship to our opponents and also help to dispel racial, cultural and religious stereotypes. I can think of no better example for this than Arthur Ashe. He successfully used tennis as a platform to draw the world’s attention to racial stereotypes and discrimination.
“Bridges and walls are made from the same material: concrete and bricks,” Qureshi continued. “Which of the two will we choose to build with? I choose to build bridges brick by brick.”
The occasion was meant to highlight Qureshi’s efforts to demonstrate how sports can build bridges to communities and nations that have suffered from the adversities of extremism and war. Through his foundation, Qureshi has been very active in facilitating tennis-specific wheelchairs among amputees and disabled tennis players.
During the event Qureshi announced that donations have been received for wheelchairs to Iraq, Afghanistan and Cambodia and will be delivered this year.