SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Omar Salha

BA (Hons), London, MA International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research

Overview

Photo of Omar Salha
Name:
Mr Omar Salha
Email address:
Address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Building:
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
4433
Academic Support Hours:
By appointment
Thesis title:
Islamic Diplomacy and Ethics: Relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Sport
Internal Supervisors

Biography

Omar Salha is a PhD Nohoudh Scholar at SOAS University of London and the Founder & Director of RTP (Ramadan Tent Project).

Omar is an MA graduate in International Studies and Diplomacy and was awarded the PhD Nohoudh Scholarship for the study of 'Integration of Muslims in British Society'. His first academic chapter published by Routledge is titled ‘Diplomacy and The Beautiful Game: Muslim footballers as ambassadors of faith’. He is currently writing an academic paper on Islamic Public Diplomacy and the Otherisation of Muslims in Popular Culture. Omar is a lecturer in International Diplomacy and his research interests include innovations of Soft Power, Re-Orientalism, Decoloniality and the Geo-Politics of the Middle East. He has taught at SOAS University of London, in addition to the Foundation of International Education (FIE). He is a Faculty Member for the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) at the University of California in San Francisco, Berkeley USA.

For the past 15 years, Omar has worked and consulted several community projects, NGOs, Civic Organisations and International Governments on interfaith-dialogue, community cohesion, Public Diplomacy and Sports Diplomacy. He regularly delivers talks, workshops and lectures in leading academic and professional institutions and conferences.

In addition to his academic work, Omar founded RTP in 2013, a social enterprise dedicated to serving the youth and wider community through open spaces of spirituality, dialogue and empowerment. RTP organises the world’s first community-led public iftar campaign called Open Iftar. Inviting people of all faiths and none to the breaking of fast to explore the Islamic faith and to share the community spirit through food, inspirational talks and engaging discussions. To date, Open Iftar has hosted over 50,000 guests across 7 cities and 4 continents. In 2016, Omar Salha was listed as one of the 8 Most Inspiring Arabs Across the World in Ramadan, including RTP as one of the 50 Most Innovative Global Muslim Start-ups.

Elsewhere, Omar was one of the first respondents working with the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit (GMRU) on June 14th 2017 during the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy. GMRU was awarded the Pride of Britain Special Recognition Award and London Evening Standard Progress 1000. Elsewhere, Omar featured and played in the ‘Game 4 Grenfell’ Charity Match at QPR’s stadium at Loftus Road in which he scored a penalty against Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho.

He is also a former member of Football Beyond Borders & featured in a documentary titled ‘Over the Wall’, a film about a London-based football team and their journey to play in Palestine. He is a regular contributor to both international and national print and digital media including Al Jazeera, TRT World, BBC London, BuzzFeed, Channel 4, The Guardian & LBC Radio. Omar speaks fluently in Arabic, Turkish and English. You can follow him on Twitter on @o_salha

PhD Research

In our global community, the need for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange has never been more apparent. A decade after the UN's Global Development Compact, it is time once again to examine and build ties involving the integration and contribution of future leaders in our societies. Football, the world's global game, is capable as a passion, an experience and a language to transcend socio-cultural-religious boundaries and act as a shared medium through which to achieve dialogue, understanding and knowledge of the ‘other’. My proposed thesis, which analyses the relationship of Sports and Muslims, works within this agenda. Through engaging with this unexplored field of study, it is hoped that the wider community will be able to recognize and appreciate the value of contributions made to British, European and global sport and society. This will allow Muslims to reframe British and European sport in a way that takes into account their heritage and faith and celebrate community leadership thus making it at once more enriching and relevant.

Teaching

Convenor: Sport and Diplomacy

Research

Politics of the Lebanon, Turkey and the Levant, Orientalism, MENA, Soft Power, Public Diplomacy, Islam and the West, Islamic Diplomacy, Sport and Development, International Relations.