Launching of the second edition of the national conference on the “State of the Nation”
The national conference on the ‘State of the Nation’, at the initiative of strategic communications consultant Lou Bondì and statistician and university lecturer Vincent Marmarà, in collaboration with the Office of the President, will be held for the second year in a row—this year on the 9th of June at the Verdala Palace. Once again, in connection with this conference, a scientific study will be carried out among the people of Malta on how the Maltese national identity is evolving.
At the launch of this year’s edition, the President of Malta, George Vella, said that in order to fully understand the outcome of the survey, one must take into account both the local and the global context in which this survey is being conducted. President Vella referred to, among other things, the general election, Pope Francis’ visit to Malta, the effect of the pandemic, as well as the stability at the international level that is still undermined by the war in Ukraine. He added that it would be very interesting to see if these developments will have any impact on the way citizens think, and if there will be changes from the outcomes of the 2021 survey.
The President noted that many of the subjects to be analysed are linked to his constant call for unity. He explained that his intention is to identify, through the survey, those areas in which we lag as a nation, with the aim of further improving the quality of life – not only from an economic perspective. While encouraging the public to participate in the State of the Nation Conference, the President said that this in itself should serve as an example of how to debate the facts at hand, without using an arrogant tone and undermining the opinion of others.
Vincent Marmarà explained that the information will be gathered from the 27th of April 2022 from a sample of 1,064 people aged 16 and over. He said that the main interest is not to make known the opinions on a particular thing or different events, but to look deeper at what could lead to the formation of the principles and the opinion of the people.
Lou Bondì announced that the discussion at the national conference is expected to touch on some of the most important issues that define where the nation is today—the environment, the rule of law, the roots of divisions, corruption, the physiognomy of the state and others. Among those who have already confirmed their participation are the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
You can access the opening speech of The President George Vella during the ‘L-Istat tan-Nazzjon’ – Second Edition Conference here
You can access the closing speech of The President George Vella during the ‘L-Istat tan-Nazzjon’ – Second Edition Conference here
Announcing the results of the second scientific survey on the ‘State of the Nation’
At the start of the second edition of the ‘State of the Nation’ national conference at the Verdala Palace, statistics expert and University of Malta lecturer, Dr Vincent Marmarà, is presenting the results of the scientific survey on the evolution of the Maltese national identity. The survey was conducted between the 28th of April and mid-May of this year on a sample of 1,064 people aged 16 and over.
Dr Marmarà explained that this study showed the extent of the effect of the pandemic restrictions on people’s lives, as this year the people stated that they are happier than last year. On the other hand, he noted that inflation is also having an impact on the people which is reflected in an increase in the number of people who said that their financial situation today is worse than a year ago. During the presentation of the survey, Dr Marmarà pointed out how important the role of the family is, including in decision-making. It showed that the people believe in God but do not give the same level of importance to religion and that they care deeply about the Maltese nation. However, Dr Marmarà said that the people are associating themselves with Europe more than they were a year ago.
Despite the survey being conducted one month after the general election, Dr Marmarà said that the people feel that politics is less important and took the opinion of the political party less into account before forming their own opinion. Dr Marmarà also pointed out that the people are longing for village feasts, which are considered to be the most important element in the Maltese culture.
The strategic communications consultant, Lou Bondi, said that the results of this year’s survey can be compared with those of last year. “If this initiative is continued in the coming years, the picture will obviously be clearer and clearer. Above all, every year we will get to know better, and with the facts in hand, where this nation is heading”, added Mr Bondi.
Regarding the topics chosen for this year’s conference, Mr Bondi said that they were acutely relevant to the state of the nation: the environment, the media, corruption, the state’s architecture, and the tendency to look at many matters from opposing views. He added that the selected speakers will once again come from different walks of life for a rich and innovative discussion, rather than a sterile one between experts.
At the opening of the one-day national conference, the President of Malta, George Vella, pointed out that this year’s survey does not detract from what we learned last year. “The topics and subjects that will be discussed in the coming hours are intended to build on what we learned about ourselves last year, so that we have an increasingly clear and complete picture”, added the President.
Referring to the topics discussed, President Vella said that they are current and even a little provocative because they directly affect our daily lives both as individual citizens and as a people collectively. The President referred to another presidency project addressing national unity. He stated that he intends to identify, through the survey, those areas which we need to further tackle together to further improve the quality of life, and not only from an economic perspective.
President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, also addressed the conference. The ‘State of the Nation’ National Conference is being held for the second successive year on the initiative of Mr Lou Bondi and Dr Vincent Marmarà, in collaboration with the Office of the President.
The schedule of the Conference can be downloaded here
The presentation can be downloaded here
“An exercise that helped us greatly in finding out more about where we are heading as a nation” – The President of Malta
“Today’s national conference enabled us to take an introspective look at ourselves. This is always the first step one must take to improve oneself.”
President of Malta George Vella said this during his closing speech for the second edition of the State of the Nation national conference.
In his remarks, the President noted first and foremost that family is a key factor in our daily lives, even in decision-making.
He stated that the survey showed that today Maltese people are happy to be free from the pandemic restrictions and are happier than last year. As the election passed, politics seems to be less important, while people are feeling the burden of inflation.
He also noted how strong faith in God is, but not necessarily religion. It also seems that Maltese people are more comfortable with multiculturalism.
During the slightly heated session on the environment, the President said that we heard about the importance of finding balance and compromise, and how the environment could be a unifying factor, not just divisive. There was a clear call to go beyond the buzzwords, to address mistakes and bad decisions in a concrete way, and to revise laws related to this sector.
During the media-related talks, the President stated that he appreciated more how crucial this fourth pillar of democracy is for the rule of law, the importance of factuality of reporting, and that it seems that nowadays an informal trend has emerged where everyone became a journalist.
The President stated that, in his opinion, the most notable point was that journalists should devise agendas themselves, rather than giving the public what they wanted to hear. He then described how true independent journalism is becoming rarer and said that it is clear that a lot remains to be done in this area.
Regarding the field of education, there has been a particular emphasis on critical thinking in our youths. Another interesting point raised was that more Maltese people feel European. The President then reminded that Malta has joined the European Union with a strong Mediterranean formation.
In the context of institutions, the President stated that these are the essence of the distinction between state and government. He also referred to the proposal to appoint the Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority by a two-thirds majority in Parliament and not just by consultation. The President said that if this happens, an anti-deadlock mechanism would be needed, or the process would come to a halt.
On Constitutional reform, the President explained that the next step is to agree on a person who enjoys the trust of the government and the opposition to be able to lead the Constitutional Convention.
The President also stated that he does not like it when Maltese people go to politicians to corrupt them, or to take what is not theirs. He said that it is important that the people also have their say in such a discussion.
He also pointed out the need for active citizenship away from political parties, and the point that emerged from the discussion on whether we started to become less interested in politics.
The President of Malta concluded by thanking all the speakers and experts who participated and expressed their thoughts during this conference. He stated that, above all, this is everyone’s ultimate goal: “to make a tangible contribution to improve everyone’s life.”
Prime Minister Robert Abela and Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech also addressed the State of the Nation conference.