Current Affairs
Agreement signed between the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the University of Malta

The close collaboration between Small Islands and States to raise their voice on an international level and protect their national interests is the reason behind the setting up of the Islands and Small States Institute within the University of Malta. Through the agreement between the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the University more opportunities for students will be opened and cooperation will increase between small states in their joint efforts to protect their interests.

30 years ago Professors Lino Briguglio and Godfrey Baldacchino took the initiative for the establishment and running of the Institute of Islands and Small States within the University.

The new director Stefano Moncada said that the Institute offers courses for students, public officers and researchers from various countries, some of whom also started representing Malta as ambassadors. The courses train students not only in academic aspects but also about the human life that people in islands and small states live, however they analyse the difficulties and needs they face.

“What we teach varies from economics, environmental, geographical issues relating to small states . They go deep into discipline because islands and small states have specific peculiarity , and these sometimes are not understood by largest states in terms of politics , environmental . To give you an example is the issue of scale , somethings that apply to larger countries might not apply may not apply to Malta or to other small islands.”

Dr Mondaca stated that the Institute works to understand the difficulties of these islands and states, such as Malta, to send a message to the European Union and other international institutions that they should also understand the problems to be considered while drafting policies and decisions are taken.

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo and University Rector Alfred Vella signed the collaboration agreement. Minister Bartolo said that the Institute has an important role so that small states do not bow to big countries’ demands against their interests.

“Such an Institute assists small countries to take the initiative and the fact that we are signing for more study and research, for scholarships, to implement the work of small states to work together for their interests, for the benefit of their peoples. This is what the agreement aims for”.

The agreement provides for the strengthening of cooperation between islands and smal states, to fight organised crime including in the wake of financial realties and to promote the institute on an international level.