“Malta does not end in Gozo or Comino. Malta is wherever the Maltese are,” said one Australian of Maltese descent. How true. Valletta 2018 is a chance for us to share our year with you and help you to contribute it from wherever you are.
Thousands of citizens of direct Maltese descent live in Australia, with scores of thousands based in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and other countries. With Malta’s accession to the EU, a significant number of Maltese citizens now live in European institution centres such as Brussels and Luxembourg.
If you recognise yourself in the groups above, then we’d like you to feel part of the islands’ prospective ECoC year 2018. We’re keen to make V.18 come to you; be as accessible as possible whether you join us in Malta or from your home abroad.
V.18 is about opportunities to do more
Many of you may be contributing already to Maltese cultural activities, whether officially or as a volunteer in a cultural organisation or informally within your family keeping your Maltese roots and traditions alive. V.18 aims to spur you to get involved in new ways to explore your Maltese identity.
The Council for Maltese Living Abroad was set up in late 2011 as an advisory body representing Maltese communities abroad. It seeks to bridge the divide that exists between the Maltese in Malta and the Maltese living abroad, seeing Malta not just a country but as a nation with a vast diaspora scattered around the world.
A first way to get involved now is to use the official bodies, such as the Council, and the Maltese Embassy or Consulate in your adoptive or home country. These provide an ideal platform for the promotion of Maltese culture abroad and reciprocally, of international cultural productions in Malta.
These bodies can help you connect with Maltese cultural entities already active in your area of interest or geographic region. Get in touch also with the coordinator of our V.18 advisory group on the Maltese Diaspora.
You might also like to see our proposed Themes for V.18 to think how they can help you to create or participate in V.18 projects within your cultural groups overseas or collaborate with groups in Malta.
To think about
There are a lot of ways to think through your Maltese identity and rekindle it – not just through official citizenship but, for example, by using innovative technologies to bridge divides. Imagine creating a virtual citizenship, producing a ‘passport’ for V.18 virtual world linking all citizens of the Maltese diaspora.
Here are just some prompts to help you think about how you can be involved:
• Can I renew my active citizenship through Maltese culture – using the Maltese language, Malta’s food icons, music or traditions?
• How can V.18 help me access aspects of life today in Malta? What information would I like on Malta, and the V.18 year itself?
• I won’t be in Malta for 2018, so what would I like to help make me part of the ECoC year in my country?
• Can I tell a story in a V.18 project about what it is to be Maltese or of Maltese descent living overseas? (ie. through an exhibition, a virtual link-up and so on)
• Have I seen or heard about an idea in my country that could be a good initiative to adapt for a V.18 project?