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Henry Frendo’s donation of historical documents

Owen Bonnici – (Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and the Local Government.)

The ceremony during which Professor Henry Frendo donated a significant number of historical documents and other records related to his research into the history of Malta to the National Archives will go down as one of the most beautiful events that I had

Professor Henry Frendo

I have huge respect for Professor Frendo and I immensely appreciate the fact that he decided, in a huge act of generosity, to part with his notes, interviews, research papers, photos and audio recordings related to the history of Malta during the last 200 hundred years, and give them to the National Archives.

I am sure that these documents were the most precious thing in his possession, second only to his family and loved ones.

I would like to thank Professor Henry Frendo again for donating this work which will contribute to a better understanding of our cultural patrimony and history, and also, the staff at the National Archives, led by Dr Charles Farrugia, for the great work and dedication they have towards the living history of Malta.

This donation will enrich the National Archives and will address some areas where our holdings are currently silent.

Prof. Frendo is a professor of Modern History at the University of Malta. His main areas of research include imperialism, nationalism, decolonization, postcolonialism, journalism, migration and ethnicity in Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean as well as the Middle East and North Africa.

Previously, he had worked with the UNHCR, stationed in Switzerland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Papua New Guinea.

In 1970 Frendo completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Malta. As a university student, Frendo was involved in several youth and student groups. Between 1968 and 1969 Frendo chaired ‘Djar għallMaltin’ (Houses for the Maltese), a student-led campaign for low-cost housing and land planning in the wake of Independence (1964). He was editor (1971-72) of Il-Ħajja, a daily Maltese newspaper. During this period, he researched and published about Manwel Dimech (1860-1921), a controversial Maltese social reformer, then largely forgotten.

He graduated with a Masters in History from the University of Malta in 1973, with a thesis on the language-culture clash in 19th – 20th century Malta. That same year Frendo became resident at University College at the University of Oxford, receiving his Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History in 1976. In his doctoral thesis, he wrote on the formation of political parties in Malta under British rule, later published in his 1979 book Party Politics in a Fortress Colony. He returned to Malta and was appointed lecturer in history.

In 1978 Frendo accepted a position with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at their Headquarters in Geneva. The following year Frendo was promoted to Programme Officer in the Middle East and North Africa section. During his tenure, Frendo was assigned to liaise in mass voluntary repatriation operations in Zimbabwe. He was assigned as the UNHCR’s Deputy Representative to Egypt (1982-83) and as assigned as Head of Mission in Papua New Guinea (1984-85).

From 1985 to 1988 Frendo was a Senior Lecturer in European political development, Commonwealth history and ethnic studies at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia.

Returning to Malta in 1988, he was appointed Associate Professor of Modern History. In 1989 Frendo accepted a Fellowship with the University of Salzburg. In 1992 he became a full-ranked Professor in Modern History at the University of Malta. In this same year, Frendo also appeared as a Guest Professor with the University of Augsburg in Germany. From 1994 to 2001 Frendo served as Mayor of Attard and as the President of the College of Mayors. In 1996 Frendo was elected a Life Member of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge.

In the summer of 2000 Frendo received a Fulbright Scholarship to lecture at Loyal University in New Orleans (USA). In 2001 he was appointed Chairman of the Refugee Appeals Board in Malta. In 2002 Frendo became a visiting professor at Indiana State University (USA).

Since 2005 he has been involved with the Centre of European Policy Studies 5-year Challenge programme on ‘Freedom and Security’. In 2006 Frendo was appointed Guest Professor at the University of Enna (Italy) where he lectured in contemporary History and Politics of the Mediterranean.

Victoria Lines

This week I visited the Victoria Lines in Għargħur, where ongoing restoration works are currently being carried out by the Restoration Directorate. The workers are really doing an impeccable job.

The project, which started in 2018, includes the restoration of two distinct stretches of the Victoria Lines. Following the completion of restoration works on a 60m stretch of the Victoria Lines corresponding to the length of Ġnien l-Għarusa tal-Mosta (Tarġa Gap), as from July 2019 the Restoration Directorate has taken in hand the restoration of the Victoria Lines falling within the confines of the village of Għargħur.

The total length of the Għargħur Victoria Lines being restored is just below 1km. Over 800 metres of infantry lines and the remains of a pill box have already been restored to date.

The work is being done in its entirety by the Restoration Directorate’s own human resources and skilled site officers. Therefore, the total cost of the project to date, covering material used in the works, adds up to a mere €80,000 representing an extraordinary value for money. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.

This government is committed to safeguarding and restoring our architectural heritage with the intent of passing it on for the enjoyment of our future generations. We are preserving the Maltese cultural heritage for generations to come whilst adding value to our heritage and strengthening the competitiveness of the Maltese islands within the tourism sector.

These restorations allow us to continue preserving our national history, a heritage that determines our identity as a people. Our mission is to make our heritage more accessible and strengthen our local communities; restorations are an aspect of our cultural plan. We will continue our in our dedication towards increasing the value of the Maltese islands by preserving historical heritage.

Malta Eurovision Song Contest

The Malta Eurovision Song Contest was such an amazing event this year. I would like to thank all those involved in the organisation, particularly the hard-working chairperson of PBS, Dr Mark Sammut.

This festival truly gives singers, composers and authors space to expose their talents with original songs. This year, an opportunity was given to more singers to perform their songs in public with the introduction of the Quarter Finals.

Whatever we think of Eurovision, the truth is that the absolute majority of the Maltese and Gozitans follow it and desperately want to see the Maltese song do well.

I want to congratulate the Buskers for their win, and I am sure they will make Malta proud.

A heartfelt congratulations goes also to both Ryan Hili and Matt BlXck for their second and third placing respectively.

Indeed, a truly fantastic talent!


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