The President of Malta

Diskors mill-E.T. George Vella, President ta’ Malta, waqt riċeviment mad-Diaspora Maltija fil-Greċja, Ateni, 4 ta’ Lulju 2023, (Diskors bl-Ingliż)

Excellency, Ambassador Cuschieri
Honorary Consuls,
Distinguished guests,
Members of the Maltese Community in Greece,

Għeżież Maltin u Għawdxin fil-Greċja,
Miriam u jiena ninsabu fostkom bi pjaċir illejla, hekk kif qed inniedi din iż-Żjara Statali tiegħi fil-Greċja. Dan huwa l-ewwel appuntament tiegħi hawnhekk, u kif ngħidu bil-Malti – ma setax ikolli bidu aħjar.

Għad għandi memorji sbieħ ta’ laqgħa oħra li kelli magħkom fl-2019, f’waħda mill-ewwel żjarat li kelli wara l-ħatra tiegħi bħala President. Ninnota b’sodisfazzjon, li l-entużjażmu u l-imħabba tagħkom lejn Malta ma naqsu xejn minn dak iż-żmien ‘l hawn.

Qabel ma nkompli bl-Ingliż, nixtieq inwasslilkom dan il-messaġġ qasir iżda importanti bil-lingwa Maltija: Intom, il-Matlin u l-Għawdxin tal-Ġreċja tagħmlu parti mill-familja kbira Maltija madwar id-dinja.

Nirringrazzjakom talli lqajtu din l-istedina u nixtieq li wara dawn il-kelmtejn, ikolli l-okkażjoni nitkellem magħkom ilkoll.

I will now turn to English to elaborate my thoughts on the importance that I attach to the Maltese community in Greece.

From the historical aspect, the stories of your forefathers are very exciting.
One can say that over different periods of time, the Maltese settled in practically all parts of Greece, from Piraeus to Heraklion.

Perhaps however, the most well documented exchange between our two countries is that of the Maltese immigration to the Ionian islands, Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Lefkada, Ithaca and so on, during the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.

The Maltese Catholic Church in the central part of Corfu town and its Maltese community there, together with the many Maltese surnames, are evidence that Malta is still alive within these communities which in the past numbered above the thousand mark.

Through historical evidence in hand, it emerges that the Maltese who came to settle here were going through trying times back home, and were seeking a better future.

Very importantly, the Maltese diaspora at the time, fully kept in mind the well-being of their future generations and wisely opted for assimilation rather marginalisation.

This is a strong characteristic of us Maltese, which helped our large diaspora not only in Greece, but everywhere else, to thrive by participating fully within the society that provided them with new opportunities.
Your presence with us this evening is a living proof that you still treasure the Maltese heritage that was passed on to you through your ancestors.
You are the ones that have the key that can keep the Maltese identity alive.
I do hope that you will also instil the same sense of pride and belonging to the Maltese Islands to the younger generations.
Maintain our traditions by meeting socially to commemorate national or religious festivities, and keep up your contacts and networking among yourselves, even if merely through social media.
Although it might be difficult, try to keep the Maltese language alive – perhaps not at work, but in the comfort of your homes – so that this aspect of your unique heritage is preserved for years to come.
I also encourage you to visit Malta regularly, if not to visit relatives, to revive the roots of your Maltese identity that you inhereted from your respective families.
The direct air connection between Malta and Greece surely help in this regard, and we all look forward to hosting you among us whenever you decide to visit our Islands.
Allow me to digress very briefly to salute the memory of Malta’s former Honorary Consul General in Piraeus, Kostas Kalogeropoulos who sadly departed last year.
I am sure you all agree that the late Mr. Kalogeropoulos was one of the closest friends of Malta in Greece. He is fondly remembered for his tireless promotion of bilateral relations for over three decades while looking after the needs of the Maltese community residing in Athens, Piraeus and the Greek Islands, besides promoting constantly the Maltese Maritime Flag.

Dear Kostas, thank you for everything, You are sadly missed.
Dear guests,
To conclude, I invite you to support the work of Malta’s Embassy in Athens by proactively promoting Maltese-Greek relations.

Continue exploring new areas of cooperation and voicing any suggestions or ideas on how to further strengthen the relations between our two countries.

I assure you that your contributions are very highly valued.

Finally, Ambassador Cuschieri, I wish to thank you, Mr Karl Littlejohn and the other staff of the Embassy for hosting us this evening and for looking after the interest of our beloved Maltese community here in Greece.

Il-lejla t-tajba lil kulħadd.

Skip to content