The Concept of Greater Malta
How did all this come about? From what I could gather it was Dr Victor Borg, a Melbourne-based lawyer, who dreamt, a couple of years ago, of a Convention of Leaders of Associations of Maltese Abroad and of Maltese Origin. This dream was taken up for pro-active translation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Emigrants Commission.
The convention was a huge success. Its organisation was well nigh perfect. A lot of thought, planning and Organisation provoked a multitude of headaches. But the result has been a truly happy one. Government welcomed the idea by a grant of Lm 24,000. The convention sponsors were MEC, UNDP, Bank of Valletta and Air Malta.
The enthusiasm for the organising committee was provided by George Busuttil and Mgr Philip Calleja. Mr Busuttil was the former High Commissioner for Malta in Australia. Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was the chairman of the organising committee. The vice-chairman, Mgr Calleja, provided not only his calm, determined, go-ahead zeal, but also Dar I-Emigrant as the venue for the meeting of the convention held from Monday January 24th to Tuesday February lst.
The high patronage of President Guido de Marco and of Archbishop Joseph Mercieca inspired the organisers with the will to succeed. The secretary was Victor Pace of the Foreign Ministry and the PRO was Charles Buttigieg, the Curia's PRO.
The opening ceremony was held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
The very first recommendation approved unanimously as a resolution by convention participants was to the effect that the government and people of Malta embrace the concept of, a Greater Malta. This is to include all Maltese residents abroad. This concept has been acclaimed by both Government and Opposition.
To further strengthen the pro-activity of this concept the International Federation of Maltese Abroad was established. Its aims are: ensuring unity among Maltese living in various countries; following up the recommendations of the Convention to ensure they come to fruition; acting as an advocate and lobbyist on behalf of Maltese abroad; and ensuring effective and regular communication among Maltese living abroad.
Each delegation by country nominated one representative for the committee of the Federation. The assembled delegates appointed as office bearers Dr Stephen Gatt for Australia, Milo Vassallo for Canada, Dr Carmen Dalli for New Zealand, Bernard Scerri for the UK, Frank Asphar for the US and Ivan Magri-Overend for the Maltese of Egypt and the Francophone;
The Federation will be open to individuals, associations, community councils, government and parastatal organisations and other bodies or groups of Maltese overseas.
The Federation will, be an apolitical, non-profit Organisation based on equal opportunity principles. This is a well-thought and most important decision which, promises success in its endeavours.
The Federation of Maltese Abroad will liaise with the Emigrants Commission and government agencies with responsibilities for Maltese abroad.
The convention supported the initiative of the Emigrants Commission to establish a Migration Museum, and it recommends that the Maltese government resources it appropriately.
The delegates also recommended that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, establish a Secretariat with its portfolio to represent the interests of Maltese abroad.
It is fit and proper that a Greater Malta be accepted enthusiastically by all Maltese and Gozitans. The highest authorities in the land have declared that all Maltese living abroad should continue to consider Malta and Gozo as their national home.