President George Vella highlights the mutual respect and appreciation shared between Malta and the United Kingdom
“Following the period of colonization, as the United Kingdom and Malta took different political paths as their citizens chose to do democratically, within the context of both the European Union and the Commonwealth, our mutual respect and appreciation have remained as solid and as steadfast as ever,” President of Malta George Vella said at the opening of the ‘Malta – United Kingdom Cultural Symposium: Evoking Memories, Shaping Futures.’
President Vella noted that it is universally recognised that Malta and the United Kingdom share an affinity that has left its indelible mark on the development of Maltese society, on our language, our culture, family ties and several other aspects that have perhaps up to now not been explored and properly studied.
In his keynote speech during the third symposium in the Presidency Culture Symposia Series,the President recalled the warm words that King Charles used when speaking about Malta and the affection that his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, held for Malta throughout the decades as she fondly referred to Malta as her ‘Isle of Happy Memories’.
The Malta – United Kingdom Cultural Symposium, organised by the Office of the President, in close collaboration with the British High Commission, delved into the political, cultural, and institutional relationship between the two countries. It focused on the British Musical Legacy in Maltese Identity, British Fashion and Maltese Costume, and British Cuisine. Discussions also looked into the future of the relationship and how the themes of youth and the environment should be taken forward by the Commonwealth.
President Vella welcomed the focus that this Symposium is also placing on the commitment to keeping the Commonwealth as an international political forum relevant to today’s global challenges, not least climate change. The President noted the Presidency Culture Symposia Series aim to shed light on the multi-faceted cultural relations that our country shares with so many other countries. “The United Kingdom is one of the strongest contenders. We honestly believe there is the potential in these historical ties that could help us form better futures”, the President added.
The Symposium was opened with an introductory address by Cathy Ward, British High Commissioner to Malta, who shed light on what makes the UK-Malta relationship special and unique. “Visible links of historical connections are everywhere. You can see our shared history in museums throughout Malta. We share values and are prepared to speak up for them, including as partners at the UN Security Council,” the British High Commissioner remarked.
Other speakers during the introductory session included Emmanuel Mallia, Malta High Commissioner to the United Kingdom; Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; and Ian Borg, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade.