Inter Campus @ UN: honoured to be here


Surprise as President of the General Assembly Vuc Jeremic also attends

NEW YORK - The sentiment is straightforward: "Thanks for being here, at the United Nations." It is however special, for two reasons. First, because of who uttered those words: Vuc Jeremic, President of the UN General Assembly, and surprise guest at the Inter Campus presentation at the UN. Second, because of the emphasis put on where we are. The headquarters of the United Nations - in all its enormity, in the centre of an equally enormous, cosmopolitan city - is an inspiring place. It's certainly a big moment for Youri Djorkaeff - these days an adopted New Yorker - when he introduces the key figures, speaking of his pride of playing for Inter and referring to Massimo Moratti as, "my president".

Inter Campus is a footballing story, started 15 years ago, which is now considered important enough to warrant this evening. Twenty yards from the entrance to the General Assembly, more than 200 people, ambassadors, diplomats, listen to those giving speeches on the stage. And those who take the floor talk about life and football.

Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini talked about Inter Campus in great detail, but he's also an Inter fan, which at one stage he admitted with a grin. Wilfried Lemke, Ban Ki-moon's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, told of a humble, determined young woman he encountered in Angola, who he later discovered to be Carlotta Moratti. And he found her to be a wonderful woman. Then he smiled as he talked about the matches between Inter and his team, Werder Bremen. Deputy Executive Director (Programmes) of UNICEF, Geeta Rao Gupta gave a passionate speech but smiled when she spoke of how, many years ago in India, she was the only schoolgirl to play football.

Afef Jnifen talked about her homeland, Tunisia, of the Arab Spring, and of her pride at announcing that Inter Campus Tunisia is underway. She too, almost under her breath, said to Geeta: "I also played football." And with that this special evening took on a feel of friendship and the applause was spontaneous.

Carlotta Moratti, Inter Campus president since 2010, received the respect of all present. They thanked her and, as she stood alongside her father, they might well have thought it's mainly down to dad. You could say that. Inter Campus is another chapter in the history of this family, which on this special evening came together with the United Nations, bringing passion. A real team with each of them supporting one another.

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