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

India is considered a key strategic partner for the EU, with both parties cooperating on regional and global issues such as security concerns, trade and economic ties, sectoral dialogues on sustainable development, modernisation, human rights, research and innovation, and people-to-people contacts. Culture is no exception.

With regards to Malta and India, bilateral relations have continued to develop positively over the last two years, despite the constraints of the pandemic. India’s Foreign and Culture Minister Meenakshi Lekhi’s positive visit to Malta is testament to this excellent relationship that the two countries foster.

Cultural relations between India and Malta go back a number of years, whereby a Cultural Co-operation Agreement between both countries was signed in 1992. It is very important that both governments have the same mindset and ensure that the cultural sector keeps flourishing as Malta looks forward to intensifying the cultural cooperation and collaboration between both countries.

Malta welcomes the progress made in enhancing relations between the EU and India during the last EU-India Summit in 2021 and the subsequent dialogues and agreements that took place in 2022. As global challenges confront the international community, the EU and India can continue to deliver together through dialogue and action.

During a meeting which Minister Lekhi and I had this week, Minister Lekhi remarked that she was impressed with the way the culture sector has picked up so quickly and expeditiously after the pandemic.

We are very keen on working together for more robust cultural initiatives. Let’s put the artists together, let’s bring the people of the two countries closer together.

Malta and India established diplomatic relations on 10 March 1965. To date, 13 Agreements/MoUs have been signed. This relationship has amplified over the years, characterised by various High-Level meetings prior to the start of the pandemic, such as the Government’s representation to India in 2019 for the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

Over the past decade, India has managed to integrate itself into the global economy and, accompanied by economic growth, has emerged as a global player.

112 Active Registered Companies have an Indian Shareholder or Beneficial Owner in Malta. These companies operate within the Administrative, Entertainment and Recreation, Construction, Education, Financial, Health, ICT, Manufacturing, Consultancy, Real Estate, Wholesale and Retail Trade sectors.

Malta welcomes the amplification of the relations between the two countries. Despite the difference in size, our countries are undergoing robust transformations, and both have vibrant economies and a vision for the future.

800 manuscripts were donated to the National Archives.

Circa 800 notebooks (manuscripts), dating from 1786 to the end of the 19th century, covering the works of the 16 architects, was donated to the National Archives by family Zammit. Perit André Zammit discovered this collection in a loft at an old family house in Lija around 1990.

Andre Zammit was born in 1930 in Gozo and died on 14 May 2020.

A donation like this is of great importance; through this grant, we will continue to keep history as an integral part of our country's life, and we will continue to give it the importance it deserves.

I would like to sincerely thank Mrs Victoria Zammit, widow of the Architect André Zammit, for her kind donation of the Collection, as well as the workers of the National Archives for their excellent work and dedication to the living history of Malta.

These records practically cover the whole careers of architects Michele Cachia (1760 -1839), Francesco (1755 – 1820) and Giovanni Sammut (1784 – 1841), and Giuseppe (1812 – 1859) and Francesco Zammit (1844 – 1917) as well as works by Saverio (1740 – 1799), Pietro (1774 – 1803), Salvatore (1777 – 1830), Giuseppe (1741 – 1841) and Gaetano Xerri (1783 – 1853), Pasquale (1738 – 1817) and Vincenzo Sammut (1782 – 1850), Paolo (1792 - ?) and Alfred Zammit (1892 – 1970).

The Collection includes sketches and notes of houses or fields for calculation and valuation, or partition requested by owners, heirs or the Courts, Agrimensore course notes and school copybooks.

This Collection also reflects the broader political context, e.g. the twilight of the Order of St John’s stay i Malta and the insurrection against the French in 1798, where Michele Cachia played a key role and established the British administration.

With donations like those of the Zammit family, the state would be able to offer materials that shed light on a specific type of architecture and the work of various Maltese architects.

Also, it was inaugurated the last of a series of three exhibitions from the European Digital Treasures. The exhibition’s theme, technology, fits well with the donation of manuscripts by the Zammit family.

This exhibition is being held as part of the European Digital Treasures project; a project co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. The project includes a consortium of five national archives (Malta, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Norway), ICARUS (International Centre for Archival Research, Austria) and the Munster University of Technology (Ireland).

The idea of this exhibition- to reveal what no one knows about, to find or try new things, to create new objects and to challenge what is already known, this idea has always been fundamental in the history of Europe and human history. This thought remains one of the most consistent and permanent in European history and culture, with the unification of European countries in a joint enterprise over the centuries. The history of the development of science and technological progress is an excellent example of world cooperation and a key chapter in the history of Europe.

This exhibition testifies that the continuous determination for new findings as well as the great wealth and multi-disciplinary nature of this European passion. Above all, this exhibition shows that discoveries and inventions are at the heart of European cultural heritage. The archives in Europe are full of documents and material that clearly show the desire to explore that these documents have several stories to tell.


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