President announces the setting up of the Fundazzjoni għall-Għaqda Nazzjonali
President of Malta George Vella announced that the Presidency will create the ‘Fundazzjoni għall- Għaqda Nazzjonali’ (Foundation for National Unity) with the aim of addressing in a tangible way— also by listening to the people themselves—what still needs to be done to reduce divisions among us. The areas identified in this regard range from the environment to journalism, education, political partisanship, and others.
The Head of State was speaking at the end of a one-day national meeting held at the Verdala Palace and online, during which the results of the first scientific survey of its kind in Malta on how the Maltese national identity is evolving, under the theme of ‘L-Istat tan-Nazzjon’ (State of the Nation), were announced and discussed. The survey was conducted at the initiative of statistician and university lecturer Vincent Marmarà and strategic communications consultant Lou Bondì under the auspices of the President and in collaboration with the Office of the President. During the meeting, 24 speakers from different walks of life divided into six thematic discussions, as well as Prime Minister Robert Abela and Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech, took part.
The President said that, even though the survey shows that we are proud to be Maltese and that we are aware the elements that give us a sense of identity, there are still big divisions among us. He stressed that all of us can do something about the situation: “Starting from myself, as the President of all the people of Malta, I must contribute towards a less divided country. I have already started working on this goal through the Conference on National Unity last February, and I will continue my work to achieve more unity between us. I feel that the material and detailed discussions that we have seen today provide a stronger basis for us to get closer to each other and learn to listen more and respect the diversity between us Maltese people and even with those foreigners who, for one reason or another, are among us. As I said when launching this project for national unity, a one-off conference is not enough, and I feel the need for a dedicated structure for this purpose. Today’s occasion has been one of great encouragement and I will take this opportunity to announce, in this context, that the Presidency will be giving birth to the Fundazzjoni għall-Għaqda Nazzjonali in the coming months.” He said that, against the backdrop of such a foundation, we will be able to gradually speak with respect about the scourge of exaggerated partisanship among us.
On the national meeting on ‘L-Istat tan-Nazzjon’, the President remarked that the figures that emerged give a strong taste of how the people of Malta look at themselves at the level of the citizen, the way they live their life, the challenges they face, and those values—such as the family bond—that guide the behaviour and decisions made. Among several observations he made about the survey’s results, he noted the clear disappointment at the uglification of the environment of our country due to overconstruction and the need to save our environment. He asked whether the time is ripe to give the environment a legal identity.
“Today we have put ourselves under the microscope. Such educational conferences are definitely going to benefit our country, and I will continue to build on what has already been achieved. My hope is that, even through discussions like today’s, we will also start to convey a sense of a united community through the word ‘nation’. I am sure that everything that we have heard today will spark informed discussions in the various areas of our society, and perhaps also give rise to ideas or lead to decisions aimed at increasing the wealth and unity between all of us people of Malta and Gozo,” said the President.
Announcing the results of the first scientific survey on the ‘State of the Nation’
During a one-day national meeting taking place today at the Verdala Palace under the auspices of the President of Malta and in collaboration with the Office of the President, the results of the first scientific survey of its kind on how the Maltese national identity is evolving are being announced and discussed. The idea is for the survey, which was conducted in April and May this year, to start taking place regularly.
This initiative is being taken by statistician and university lecturer Vincent Marmarà and strategic communications consultant Lou Bondì. In comments prior to the start of the meeting Dr Marmarà and Mr Bondì said: “Our idea was to create this national meeting in collaboration with the President of Malta to better understand the Maltese nation: where it was and where it is heading. First, we conducted a scientific survey to better understand the heart, mind, and soul of the people of Malta. We did not want to know the views on a particular thing or event, but we did some digging into what could lead to those views. Beyond the survey, we created a discussion divided into six general topics that will screen these results and discuss further. I am very happy with the participation of 28 of the best minds in Malta coming from different fields. Lastly, we are honoured that the President of Malta, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition will make the closing remarks for this national meeting tonight.”
The President of Malta, George Vella, remarked: “I am convinced that this will be a very interesting and important meeting. Its purpose is to put the Maltese society under the microscope and analyse how we, the people of Malta and Gozo, think at present on many different subjects. We will have highly qualified speakers, each of whom will do an analysis of the part concerning their session. I have no doubt that there will be data and information that, apart from shedding new light on the way we think, it will also offer a lot of material for those who want to analyse it and, if necessary, decide whether this should be followed up by even changing certain thoughts that we have about us as a nation.”
The audience at the Verdala Palace is limited due to the restrictions linked to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but anyone can follow the national meeting live from the page of the President of Malta on Facebook.
The schedule of the Conference can be downloaded here
The presentation can be downloaded here
‘L-Istat tan-Nazzjon’ (State of the Nation) national survey and conference launched in collaboration with the Office of the President
President of Malta George Vella presided over a press conference announcing a scientific survey and national conference, under the theme ‘L-Istat tan- Nazzjon’ (State of the Nation), which will analyse how the Maltese national identity is evolving. This initiative, which will be held regularly, is being taken by strategic communications consultant Lou Bondì and university statistician and lecturer Vincent Marmarà, in collaboration with the Office of the President.
“Rather than ‘who we are’, we will be discussing ‘who we have become’, as we are an evolving and changing society,” said the President, noting that the themes and topics which will be raised with the public in the survey and then discussed on the day of the conference to be held at the Verdala Palace on 4th June 2021 reflect greatly and are very similar to those that emerged from the conference for National Unity organised on 27th February 2021. “I believe that this survey is not only opportune but further strengthens in a scientific and concrete way the discussion related to national unity, which so far has been one that only gathered thoughts and ideas… this conference in June will be an occasion where I will continue consolidating my intention to have an inclusive and respectful discussion, that continues to grow and mature, about what the people of Malta are going through, what is causing division, and what can continue to unite us… My appeal, as always, is to respect opinions, which will not always concur, but it is important that these are all heard.”
While thanking in advance all those who are already involved, or will be involved in this initiative, the President urged the public to cooperate in the gathering of information during the survey. He also said that there is nothing wrong if such discussions are also held at the local level in different parts of our country. “This is all part of my vision for this year, which I would like to dedicate to this goal. I am taking these steps so that the presidency creates awareness of historical moments in the shaping of our country, our achievements and, above all, knowledge and appreciation of where we are today,” said the President. “While we continue to be critical of all that is wrong around us, we must cherish all the positive that we have gained wisely and carefully over time.”
Dr Marmarà explained that the survey will be conducted by telephone with no less than a thousand people from among the entire population of Maltese citizens. The goal is to gain a better understanding of who we are as a nation and what we believe in, what defines us, and what shapes our principles. The sample will be selected to reflect the country’s demographics so that before discussing the ‘state of the nation’, the speakers and experts will have a picture of who the nation is and what defines it. In this way, the people will have their voices heard before the discussion.
Mr Bondì announced that the national conference on 4th June, which will be presided by the President of Malta, will be composed of 29 speakers – split into different panel discussions – and six moderators from all walks of life. Among those who have already confirmed their participation are the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Archbishop. “This conference will take place at the right time,” said Mr Bondì. “Apart from being held, hopefully, at the beginning of the end of the pandemic, fundamental and revolutionary changes are taking place on different levels in our country and around us; changes that are giving birth to realities that we have yet to understand what they mean… All of this is leading to a sense of who we are that is no longer as before.”
The schedule of the Conference can be downloaded here