Omar is a man on a mission for humanity.
What drives someone to go to Bosnia & Herzegovina to initiate peace and integration among the Muslim and Christian communities by initiating same-sided football games? Well, we found the man that did just that. This is Omar El Sayed's story of how he is using "football for good" with the charity arm of the world famous Inter Milan football club.
Omar is a 31 years old Egyptian-Italian living in Milano. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt but grew up in Italy after his parents moved there in the mid-1970s.
His father, now retired, has run several restaurants in Milano, while his mother was mainly devoted to raising the family. Omar is married to Sabrina, have a 3year old son who is called Yusef and are expecting a new edition to the family soon. Omar works as an international Project Manager for Inter Campus, the corporate social responsibility project of F.C. Inter Milan. Inter Campus gives back the "Right to Play" to thousands of needy children, using the values of sport and the game of football as an educational tool.
Crafted Society is a proud partner of Inter Campus and more specifically their efforts to provide ethnic and social integration for children in need within Bosnia & Herzegovina. We took a moment to chat with Omar about his life and why making a humanitarian impact is central to his core values.
Tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you?
I am passionate about sports and I have been a enthusiastic rugby player for over 15 years. I have always worked in the humanitarian field for my aptitude and will and Inter Campus represents for me the perfect union between my two greatest passions. I could not wish for a better mission than this, because in the end I think that helping those who are in need is a real mission.I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to work with children and especially children living in disadvantaged contexts and I am honored to be able to do so with Inter Campus.
Can you tell us the moment you decided to use your career for positive social impact?
The turning point of my life was immediately after the tragic earthquake of L'Aquila in 2009. On that occasion I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer in the areas affected by the earthquake and I spent six months in the area which is when I realized that taking care of people in need is my calling in life.
How did you arrive at Inter Campus?
During my previous job I contacted Inter Campus for a possible collaboration. Sometime later the opportunity arrived for me to join the Inter Campus team and I seized the opportunity with great pleasure and pride.
How many days a year do you travel and when you are at home what do you enjoy doing?
I am currently responsible for 5 Inter Campus projects around the world. I am responsible for the projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia and I visit each country, together with the coaches, twice a year for a total of about 60 days of travel. When I am at home I spend my time with my family and my friends. It is important to for me to re-engage when I am home, as in my line of work, you realise just how blessed you are to have people around you who love and take care of you.
Tell us about some of the more challenging projects you have been involved in with Inter Campus and why?
Domanovici, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a village where all basic services are still separate: there is a school for Muslim children and a school for Christian children, Muslim shops and Christian shops ...Inter Campus is the only local integration model, where Muslim children and Christian children play and grow together. The greatest challenge is to remain in Domanovici and develop further to be able to propose a successful model of integration that can be taken from the local institutions to work concretely on building the community's future.
"I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to work with children and especially children living in disadvantaged contexts and I am honored to be able to do so with Inter Campus."
Omar El Sayed
What are your key projects you are working on between now and the end of 2017? Is there any one specific project which you are enthusiastic about and why?
Bosnia and Herzegovina is certainly one of the most exciting projects for me. The project was set up in 1999 and we still work today in very complex areas, where the conflict seems to have not yet been overcome. We currently have two centers, one in Sarajevo, where we work in a poor neighborhood, crushed by the heavy economic crisis affecting the Country, and one in Domanovici (near Mostar) where Inter Campus is the unique experience of integration between Christians and Muslims.
"We want to be helpful in the contexts we operate in and in Bosnia and Herzegovina we want to be also help inspire the local community and local institutions, so that every trace of the former conflict can be deleted."
Omar El Sayed
What is the best part of your job?
Inter Campus for me means family, a family created by Dr. Massimo Moratti with an unprecedented vision in the professional football world. Being part of this family gives me an extraordinary feeling and being able to propose an educational, healthy soccer model - that can positively affect the lives of thousands of children in the world - is undoubtedly the best part of my job.
As a professional Rugby player – could the values of using football for good be applied to Rugby for good?
I believe the Inter Campus model, thanks to the extraordinary skill of the technical area, is replicable on all team sports: we propose, throughout the game, universal values such as respect, equality and peace. So yes, it can definitely be applied across multiple sporting disciplines.
For the future generations it seems that doing GOOD is becoming the new COOL. Why do you think that our “Luxury for Good” philosophy is necessary in a world of over consumption and mass production?
As Inter Campus proposes an original and pure football model focusing on people, Crafted Society with its “Luxury for Good” philosophy is an example of enabling work activities: it aims to return humanity to our historic occupations and traditions of craftsmanship, through creativity, technique and originality. I believe that this new Luxury for Good philosophy of promoting the excellence of craftsmanship is exciting for the future generations who have grown up in a modern world of fast fashion where very little is transparent and ethical.
"I believe that this new, Luxury for Good™ philosophy of promoting the excellence of craftsmanship is exciting for the future generations who have grown up in a modern world of fast fashion, where very little is transparent and ethical."
Omar El Sayed
What are you excited about for 2018?
The arrival of my little girl, from a family standpoint; and of course the new rugby season, from a personal point of view; I have many new goals to reach with Inter Campus, from my professional point of view.
Finally, if you would devote your entire life to fixing ONE societal issue, what that be and why?
Justice, because there is no peace without justice.
Omar El Sayed, Project Manager, Inter Campus, FC INTER MILAN, was speaking to Martin Johnston – Founder & co-pilot of Crafted Society™.