On Sunday evening, the President of Malta George Vella and Mrs Vella, accompanied by the Maltese delegation, visited the Maltese community at the Maltese Center in Astoria, New York.
The Maltese Center, which is run by volunteers, was founded in 1979 with the aim of giving the Maltese community of New York a place to meet, speak Maltese, and keep Maltese traditions and customs alive. The centre was inaugurated in 1982 and the Maltese community still meets there. To this day, the centre organises, among others, Maltese nights and Good Friday activities and celebrates feasts such as l-Imnarja (feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul), the feast of Saint Paul, and Victory Day, which are very popular with the Maltese community. It also holds cooking classes of Maltese food, “boċċi” tournaments, and Maltese language lessons. In a few words on the occasion, President Vella encouraged the Maltese community to carry on these traditions that unite the community.
The President said that this place originally served as a place of refuge for those who emigrated to New York and the surrounding area. Today, remarked the President, the role of such centres has changed, and these serve, among others, to spread the identity and culture of us Maltese, also by teaching the Maltese language.
The President and Mrs Vella were accompanied by the Minister for Home Affairs, Security, Reforms and Equality, Byron Camilleri, the Ambassador of Malta to the United States, Godfrey Xuereb, and the Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations, Vanessa Frazier.