Owen Bonnici – (Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and the Local Government.)
This week, it was my absolute pleasure to present with the President of Malta, George Vella, the President’s Award for Creativity to 4 organisations who apply art to the community.
This President’s Award programme has been ongoing since 2011 and has been taking place with the collaboration of Arts Council Malta since 2014. For the year 2021, the Gabriel Caruana Foundation has been rewarded for its Whereabout Are You From project, while the beneficiaries for the year 2022 are Inizjamed for their project Niġru Ġrajja, Outlook Coop for We Are All Story Tellers, and Fondazzjoni Sebħ for See My Voice.
The President’s Award for Creativity is part of a series of initiatives which have as their goal the strengthening of community development, as well as their well-being, through cultural participation and creative expression, and it is part of the vast portfolio which maximises the potential of the cultural and creative sector towards the increase of inclusivity.
We fully believe that access to culture is a fundamental right of every human and that, through initiatives of this sort, we continue to promote the knowledge and embracing of diverse narratives while continuing to increase opportunities so that our artists and creatives continue to thrive. In the past seven years, there was an investment of €640,000 in community projects, thanks to the President’s Award for Creativity.
The President’s Award for Creativity is divided into two branches, one for the Building and Developing of Capacity and the other relating to Projects/Programmes,which focus on the aims of the President’s Award for Creativity.
Since Arts Council Malta started collaborating on this initiative with the Office of the President, there have been 56 beneficiaries. Thanks to the President’s Award for Creativity, we are also addressing one of the objectives of the strategic aim of Strategy2025, which calls for art and culture to reach more people in every aspect of their lives so that there is a more diverse and innovative cultural and creative ecology which is appreciated by the community which embraces it.
This initiative continues to emphasise the promotion of cultural rights and the granting of more opportunities so that individuals involve themselves in creative expression, which Arts Council Malta continuously promotes in its work. The President’s Award for Creativity also aligns with the National Cultural Policy’s vision— embracing culture for everyone’s well-being.
These principles are reflected in projects that benefit from the President’s Award for Creativity. The project Whereabout Are You From involves the engagement of an official from the Gabriel Caruana Foundation to develop initiatives with an understanding of respective individuals and the development of communal involvement.
Inizjamed’s Niġru Ġrajja brings together different sectors of the Ħamrun community, including adults, youths, and migrants, with a special focus on particular categories that emanate humanity and make us human.
Spero participants within Outlook Coop will have a secure space made for them thanks to the project We Are All Storytellers, as this will involve visually impaired participants in workshops guided by professional artists, which reaches its peak in production for local TV—among others—to generate more awareness. See My Voice consists of a series of workshops to help empower female survivors of domestic violence, as well as children and youths within Fondazzjoni Sebħ, where they will explore creativity via several different creative forms, including art and dance as a form of alternative expression and skill.
This week we also announced the opening of the applications for Heritage Skills. These include those skills, abilities, and competencies necessary for completing a specific work in Cultural Heritage.
Heritage skills are of great importance and value because through these recognised skills, we will continue to keep the trades as an integral part of our country's history, and we will continue to give them the necessary importance they deserve.
Applications for Heritage Skills will be accepted for the following areas:(i) Skills related to work in stone and its derivatives; (ii) Skills related to woodworking;(iii) Skills related to textile work;(iv) Skills related to paperwork;(V) Skills associated with working in metal.
Among the mandatory requirements needed to apply for Heritage Skill, one must provide a portfolio of one's works (which includes a detailed report and photographs) and present professional qualifications. There is a schedule of a minimum number of years of experience that one must have practiced this skill to become recognized as having a Heritage Skill.
People who hold a Heritage Skill still have to work under the guidance of a warranted restorer but it is undoubtedly an important step forward for more professionalisation in the sector.
Those interested in applying should go to the Restaurateur's Warrant Board website: https://schmalta.mt/bord-tal-warrant-tar-restauraturi/ and fill in the application.
Hanukkah, an annual holiday of light observed by the Jewish community, has been celebrated in Malta alongside the Jewish community and President George Vella.
One of the most significant holidays in the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah, is also known as the Festival of Lights.
People of different religious beliefs and respect for different creeds express our shared commitment to promote a world guided by the universal principles of compassion and fraternity and political and economic systems grounded in these principles. Celebrations like Hanukkah reaffirm our shared beliefs in the importance of facilitating inter-religious dialogue and promoting tolerance and peace.
Education is the most critical factor in ensuring that some things are not repeated in the form of injustices and violations of human rights in the present and the future. When I say the word education, I mean an approach that is both comprehensive and interdisciplinary, and it should also include a significant dose of civic, humanitarian, and environmental concern.
This feast is a classic example of how one can make a difference, big or small. The freedom of religious views and religions demands more attention. Malta is deeply dedicated to combating all forms of discrimination and injustice and will continue to prioritise the development of an inclusive society.
Religious festivities are important in bringing people together on an individual, societal, and international level, and this is the message that Hanukkah constantly conveys.
It is a communal obligation to guarantee that individuals across the globe are not subjected to violence, discrimination, or intimidation because of their religious beliefs. Malta should continue to promote the notion of thought inclusiveness.
Last Sunday was surely unforgettable for many reasons; it was the final of the Qatar World cup with superstar rivalries, penalties, iconic goals and goalkeeping masterclasses, culminating in Lionel Messi’s crowning as the world champion and the goat (greatest of all time) after Argentina beat France on penalties.
This match was best described as Kylian Mbappé vs Lionel Messi.
Over two hours, the two outstanding players played the beautiful game in vibrant, brilliant technicolour.
Argentina won the World Cup for the third time in Qatar. Argentina had last won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986 and has lost three times in the final, but Messi has finally broken the curse in the Arab peninsula.
Argentina's second goal was as excellent as Carlos Alberto's stunning strike in Brazil's 4-1 victory over Italy in the 1970 World Cup final.
It will be remembered for various reasons, including Messi's historic moment, Mbappé's hat trick despite the defeat, and the game's seesaw aspect, which oscillated from end to end and never failed to pull on the emotions of stunned viewers.
Thank you for the amazing football!