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While companies of all sizes struggle to cope with shrinking numbers and the economic effects of the great pause, a new business model is emerging. E-commerce and cashless transactions are changing the way we do business and shop. Is this the beginning of a cultural shift for Malta? Will our resilience help us navigate through these challenging times?
Social distancing has forced us to reengineer our life, and remote working and homeschooling have changed our daily routines. From sports to professional life, education, and leisure activities, we need to learn how to best adapt to the new norm, but how can we maintain our community spirit and keep on caring for the vulnerable individuals in our society?
More time on our hands means further opportunities to enjoy the environment. While we long for greener areas, we also need to cope with the reality of a booming construction industry and the necessity to plan urban spaces. Less traffic, cleaner air and clearer skies: was the pandemic an eye-opener as to the tangible impact of our lifestyle on the planet?
Tuesday 7th July
Several organizations have jumped at the opportunity of taking their business online with the objective to maintain or increase their market share. Will this result in the end of brick and mortar shops? Have social media platforms taken over window shopping and traditional marketing channels?
Zak Borg, Co-founder Anchovy
Dad, husband, sailor and co-founder of ANCHOVY. After completing his Masters of Engineering in Software Engineering for Embedded systems from Fraunhofer IESE, he teamed up with his brother
Benji to set the foundation for ANCHOVY. Zak takes care of the business side of things. He leads the business development and international growth of the agency. His drive and passion within the field have managed to position ANCHOVY as a trustworthy, professional and qualitative digital agency due to collaborative work with big players within both the local and international spheres. Zak has a passion for the sea, and if he’s not at the office he’s driving his passion for long-distance swimming, sailing and windsurfing.
Malcolm Camilleri, Deputy CEO PG Group
Mr. Malcom Camilleri, PG Group’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, is a warranted Certified Public Accountant and qualified as a member of both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Malta Institute of Accountants. He had joined the company in 2004 as a Chief Financial Officer, at a time where the company’s main operations where textile manufacturing and retail. The company eventually diversified its portfolio in October 2006 with the establishing of PAVI Supermarket, which remains to this day the largest supermarket on the island.
During this period, he was entrusted with the company’s entire financial operation as its Chief Financial Officer and was also an integral part of the company’s strategic expansion with the opening of a second supermarket, PAMA, in November 2015. As Deputy Chief Executive Officer, a position which he has occupied as from November 2016, he oversaw PG Group’s listing on the Malta Stock Exchange in May 2017 while also remaining involved in the Group’s day-to-day operations. Mr. Camilleri was previously employed with an auditing firm, where he acquired extensive experience in audit and tax.
Matthew Castillo, Management Consultant
Experienced Business Advisor with multi-industry experience specialising in Management Consultancy, Business Development and Project Management. With C-Level management experience in Business Development and Strategy Development coupled with extensive Management Consultancy experience to Senior Managers and Board of Directors of various companies in different industries ranging mainly from Healthcare (Hospitals), Automotive, FMCG, Pharmaceutical, Medical, IT and Software Development, iGaming, Tourism and Education.
Abigail Mamo, CEO Malta Chamber of SMEs
Abigail Mamo has occupied the position of CEO of the Malta Chamber of SMEs for the last 5 years. Her experience and expertise revolve around economic topics of competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises, especially SMEs.
She is an experienced lobbyist and represents the interest of businesses on a number of high level fora.
The tourism industry is the bread and butter of many organizations in Malta. Over the past few months, we have seen drastic changes to this industry however now it's time to welcome both commercial and leisure tourists back to the island. Will social distancing measures be still considered to be a deterrent on the catering, leisure, and tourism industries or have we already adjusted to the new norm? Should alternative business models be explored?
Johann Buttigieg, CEO Malta Tourism Authority
Johann Buttigieg held the position of Executive Chairman at the Planning Authority from June 2013 to December 2019. Prior to taking on this position, he had been appointed as the Focal Point between the then Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) and the Office of the Prime Minister. During the 6 and a half years leading the Authority, Johann was instrumental in the reform of the sector that was instituted back in 2016, and in the PA's contribution to the development of the country and its economy. In total, Mr Buttigieg’s career in planning spanned more than 30 years. In December of last year, Mr Buttigieg was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Tourism Authority. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Malta.
Joseph Fenech, CEO Corporate & Finance Corinthia Group
Joseph Fenech enjoys an acknowledged reputation in the hotel business, having been intimately involved in the Corinthia Group’s expansion and financial development over the past 31 years. Mr Fenech is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom and a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants. Mr Fenech joined the Corinthia Group in 1980 after having spent a number of years as senior auditor with a local auditing firm. His first appointment was as Group Accountant responsible for all financial and accounting matters of the Corinthia Group operations. Mr Fenech is also the Joint CEO of International Hotel Investments p.l.c., a Maltese listed company forming part of the Corinthia Group.
Franco Grech, CEO Shortlets Malta
Franco Grech is the co-founder and CEO at Short Lets Malta and Luxury Villas Malta. Graduating in Engineering and also holding a teaching warrant, developing innovative businesses was always his true passion. His vision that led to the creation of these companies is to provide a holistic service to the clients by delivering high-quality accommodation combined with excellent service. His passion is to create innovative practices that support the efficient and simultaneously cost-effective running of such a demanding industry, while not compromising the standards. He believes in the importance of attention to detail when it comes to the designing of the holiday accommodation properties. His goals include making sure that the employees feel part of a team where they are encouraged to come forward with their ideas to take the company forward. He is responsible for the day to day running of the companies, making sure that both the team and the clients feel welcome and safe. His is also passionate about the marketing and branding of the company and about creating new marketing ideas on attracting new guests and keeping existing ones.
Dr Charles Mangion, Chairman Air Malta
Dr Charles Mangion, a notary by profession and a seasoned politician was appointed Chairman of Air Malta p.l.c. in July 2017 having formerly served as Chairman of Enemalta p.l.c. Trusted and elected as a Member of the Maltese Parliament for three decades, Dr Mangion held various appointments, including Minister of Justice and Local Government. He also served as a Shadow Minister of Finance and Economy, Deputy Leader, and Party Leader in Opposition. Dr Mangion has over 35 years of experience in development policies, focusing on the public sector, macroeconomic policy, specialising in contract negotiation and property law. Over the years, he was responsible for conducting dialogue with the private sector, as well as with local and European financial institutions.
Wednesday 8th July
From teleworking to curtailing our social life, COVID-19 has significantly impacted our lifestyle. Is it the dawn of a new era, or will the “new norm” be just a transitionary period until a vaccine will be commercialised?
John Bartolo, Corporate and SME Manager Vodafone
Mr John Bartolo's studies include an MBA, Diploma in Management, and several other courses including courses on Health & Safety, Interior Design, Tourism Studies, and First Aid. His career has predominantly revolved around Business Development and Sales related roles. He has worked in various industries in this area including Construction, Aviation and more recently Telecommunications.
Elaine Dutton, Head of HR and Employment Advisory Services CSB Group
Elaine joined CSB Group as the Head of Human Resources in April of 2018. As part of the group’s top management team she supports the board of directors in developing and implementing the Group’s HR strategy while lending her expertise externally to consult clients on leadership, talent management and complex HR projects. Elaine has been active in the HR profession since 2011. Her career experience spans across the public and private sectors and in diverse industries, including; i-Gaming, Telecommunication, Manufacturing, Hospitality and the Health and Social Services. She has worked alongside a number of top executives and organisational decision makers, providing insight and supporting a wide array of situations including, setting up of performance management frameworks, succession planning, new organisational set-ups, company downsizing and company closure. Elaine is a warranted psychologist and achieved her PhD in 2017 from the University of Brunel (London). Having a strong grasp on both qualitative and quantitative methods, she carried out a mixed-methods research on how Maltese mothers manage their health whilst juggling multiple responsibilities, including paid work, house work and caring obligations. In parallel to her career in HR, Elaine was a regular lecturer at the University of Malta till 2017, supervising post-graduate students and lecturing at the Institute of Health Sciences.
Joseph Farrugia, Director General Malta Employers' Association
Mr Joseph Farrugia has occupied the post of Director General of the Malta Employers’ Association since 2001. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Department of Marketing at the University of Malta. Mr Farrugia has extensive experience in marketing consultancy and human resources management. Between 2010 and 2013 he served as President of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, which is the major vocational education institution in Malta.
Mr. Farrugia sits on the board of directors of the Employment and Training Corporation, the Employment Relations Board and represents the MEA on the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development. He also represents employers on panels of the Industrial Tribunal. He has represented Maltese employers on a number of international fora, amongst them the Board of Directors of the European Foundation for the Improvement in Living and Working Conditions, the European Social Fund, CEEP and the International Organisation of Employers. Mr Farrugia is known in cultural circles as an artist. He has organised numerous exhibitions of his paintings in various venues in Malta and abroad.
Jean Claude Muscat, Director Saint James Hospital
In 1990 Mr Muscat joined The Saint James Natural Childbirth Centre – which was founded in 1986 by his father, Dr Josie Muscat. In 2002 Jean Claude spearheaded negotiations on behalf of the Saint James Hospital Group when the family business took over Malta’s largest private hospital. As CEO, Jean Claude was responsible for the financial turnaround of the hospital, which had been loss-making since its inception, and ensured it registered a profit within 12 months. It has recorded consistent growth ever since.
Jean Claude also headed the first tangible expansion of the Saint James family business, setting up three specialised eye clinics in Malta and two abroad. He also directed the setting up of a new concept clinic in Malta called Transforma Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, which specialises in walk-in, walk-out cosmetic services. In June 2008, Jean Claude was appointed Director and CEO of Overseas Healthcare Ltd, set up in 2003 to manage Saint James’s overseas operations, and turned a loss-making operation in Libya – where Saint James owns a clinic – into a profit-making venture within 12 months.
A second clinic was opened in Libya in 2012 and a third clinic servicing expatriates within Palm City, Libya, was opened in 2013. In 2014, Jean Claude headed negotiations for the OHL North African Division to partner with a team of foreign investors setting up a new company under the brand Libyan Maltese Healthcare Group. Projects include building and operating multi-disciplinary private healthcare facilities. OHL has also opened a specialised eye clinic in Budapest, Hungary, and in 2015 a second ophthalmic surgery clinic was opened in Pecs, Hungary, which is approximately 200km away from Budapest.
Jean Claude also set up his own independent medical importation and distribution company – Medical Supplies Ltd, which established itself as a leading supplier in the local healthcare market. It has now been absorbed by the Saint James Hospital Group. Mr Muscat – who is married and with children also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Henley (UK).
This pandemic has brought new challenges for families across Malta. School closures, social distancing, working remotely – a lot of firsts for anyone, but especially working parents. How has parenting and childhood been influenced by these changes?
Marco Bonnici, President Malta Union of Teachers
A Teacher by profession qualified in Education, Youth Studies, and Educational Administration and Management. Marco was first elected in the MUT Council in 2008 after serving as a union delegate. He was elected as Senior Vice President in 2011 and re-elected in 2014. In 2017 he was elected as MUT President whilst in 2018 he was elected as For.U.M. President. He has just been re-elected as MUT President in June 2020. As a full time official he represents MUT and For.U.M. in a number of fora both nationally and at European levels. Besides providing ongoing assistance to members, he is responsible for MUT’s negotiations which led to the signing and implementation of seven agreements during the past term. His commitment to assist members led to a growth in terms of membership, recognitions, representations of new grades, and for the first time in MUT’s history, the collective representation of an educational entity. An openness to rethink the remit of MUT and its services resulted in the provision of a new Psychotherapeutic service to members whilst the professional arm and status of MUT has been strengthened with the launch of MUT’s Fondazzjoni Saghtar.
Dr Glorianne Borg Axisa, President of MAPSSS (Maltese Association of Parents of State School Students).
Dr. Glorianne Borg Axisa is an educator and a parent. She graduated with a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Malta, and holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and a Masters Degree in Geography (Melit). She completed her doctoral studies at the Institute of Education, University of London, in Intercultural Education and Geography Education. Glorianne is Senior Lecturer and Subject Coordinator at the University of Malta Junior College. She lectures Geography Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. She has published a number of papers in international fora. Her research interests include Landscape Ecology, Geography Education, Global Education, Intercultural Education and parental involvement in education. Glorianne Borg Axisa is a co-founder member and currently president of MAPSSS (Maltese Association of Parents of State School Students).
Stephania Dimech Sant, CEO Richmond Foundation
Stephania Dimech Sant is a social worker by profession, and holds a Masters in European Studies. She has extensive experience in the social and public sectors with over 20 years of engagement primarily in policy development roles. She has occupied roles within the Ministry for Social Policy and the Office of the Prime Minister, served on many commissions such as the National Family Commission, and represented Government on various Boards including FSWS Board of Directors. For ten years Ms Dimech Sant was a part time lecturer at the Faculty of Social Wellbeing within the University of Malta. Since a young age, she has been actively involved in several voluntary organisations within her local community. For the past four years she has occupied the post of Chief Executive Officer at Richmond Foundation, a leading NGO working in the field of community mental health service provision.
Pauline Miceli, Commissioner for Children
Pauline Miceli is an educator by profession and has worked both as teacher and administrator at secondary and post-secondary levels for many years. She occupied the post of Head of Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School before her retirement. She holds a degree in Youth and Community Studies and has worked in the voluntary sector for youth and children in care.
She was involved in educational broadcasting for children and adults as producer and presenter of radio and television programmes for a number of years. Ms Miceli published a number of books for children and a study based on Women’s life stories. In the past she contributed regularly to a local newspaper.
Ms Miceli was elected to serve in the Naxxar Local Council for 12 years before resigning to take office as the Commissioner for Children in January 2016. Her duties in the Council included educational services in the community and the local library.
Thursday 9th July
The decrease in road and sea traffic meant clearer skies and a general reduction in pollution. Fear for our health favoured the environment we live in. Can we avoid a relapse following the return to a new normality? Can a healthy balance be maintained between people and the ecosystem once measures are lifted?
Vincent Attard, President Nature Trust Malta
Vincent Attard became active in the environment in the then known as The Natural History Society of Malta way back in 1972. In 1979 he was appointed General Secretary of the NGO. He worked at the Central Bank of Malta from 1979 to 2006 with his last position being an IT executive. He remained active as a volunteer in nature conservation, and in 1986 started studying marine turtle behavior where he visited various mediterranean countries to monitor Turtle nesting sites. In 1999 He was appointed Hon President of Nature Trust - FEE Malta. In 2006 he left the Bank to take up a full time position as Executive President of the same organisation. This led to the organisation changing to a professional NGO, becoming a privileged Partner of WWF International. He is lso the Financial Director of the NGO Mediterranean Network - The Mediterranean Information office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development made up of over 150 NGos in the Med region . In 2012 he was awarded the Member of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Malta for his never ending work towards the natural environment in the Maltese islands. To date he still is active taking on board EU funded projects for nature Conservation, Education for Sustainable Development and Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
Prof. Charmaine Gauci, Director General/Superintendent of Public Health
Professor Gauci is an associate professor at the University of Malta and teaches in the field of public health with special interest in Public Health, Epidemiology, Communicable Diseases, Health Promotion and Policy development. Professor Gauci has a strong commitment to public health.
She believes that various specialists should collaborate to research on public health. Over the years she steered various research projects in public health including the first national food consumption survey, analysis of food products, food safety, infectious diseases and is key investigator for Malta for the Health Behaviour Study in School children and the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. She participates various WHO policy development teams as an expert. She guides various students in their research as various levels including under and post grad.
She graduated as a medical doctor in 1991. Over the years she has developed skills in the wide aspect of the public health specialty. She pursued her studies with masters in public health and consequently followed the European Programme in Epidemiological Training. She has also specialized in fitness and nutrition. She attained her PhD Degree in epidemiology in 2006. Dr Gauci is also a Prince practitioner in project management. She is a fellow of the UK Royal Society for Public Health and a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
Professor Gauci is the Superintendent of Public Health within the Ministry for Health in Malta with wide responsibility of public health to safeguard and enhance the health status of the people. Before this position, she had occupied the position of Director of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate for nine years.
She is active in the field of public health having served as secretary, vice president and served as president with the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine for four years. Professor Gauci acts as a focal point for many bodies within the European Commission including HLG, ECDC and Health Security and for the World Health Organisation and is project leader for a number of EU projects.
Her aim is to protect, support and improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Lianne Mifsud, Executive Secretary Local Councils Association
LCA Executive Secretary since 2018. Has worked together with the LCA President, Mr. Mario Fava on the LCA vision which was launched last October, which addresses; sustainable mobility, green environment, open spaces and smart cities. Assisted in various projects such as the planning of Slow Streets project which was launched on the 17th of June with more than 45 Local Councils on board of this project.
Konrad Pulé, General Manager Malta Public Transport
With 15 years of experience in land transport, Konrad Pulé has worked on various transport projects in Malta. In 2015 he took on his current role of General Manager of Malta Public Transport, which forms part of an international group of transport and mobility organisations. He previously served as chief officer for land transport within the Authority for Transport in Malta, where he was responsible for the regulation of driver training, testing and licensing, vehicle registration, goods transport, and passenger transport. With an academic background in accounting, he also worked in the hospitality sector for a number of years.
Without any other options left, many turned to nature to break the boredom. Will this instill a sense of respect and responsibility towards the environment? Will we finally include green open spaces in our towns?
Michelle Borg, Unit Manager Planning Authority
A geographer and marine resource manager by training, and a psychology graduate, Michelle has over twenty-five years’ experience in policy development for spatial planning and environmental management. She has been responsible for the development of the policy framework on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and related introduction of regulatory procedures for spatial planning at sea in Malta. Between 2008 and 2010 Michelle was responsible for the transposition of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Climate Change dossiers in Malta. Experience in strategic policy development led to the co-ordination role of the national spatial strategy (SPED) between 2011-2013. She holds the position of Manager for the Green and Blue Development Unit at the Planning Authority which seeks to mainstream sustainable development in spatial planning and also co-ordinates work on Maritime Spatial Planning.
Dr Elisabeth Conrad, Division of Environmental Management and Planning, University of Malta
Dr Elisabeth Conrad is a lecturer with the Division of Environmental Management and Planning within the Institute of Earth Systems; she had previously served as a visiting teaching and research member of staff of the International Environment Institute for several years. She is a geographer and environmental management specialist by training, holding a Ph.D. from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at the University of Wales, Abersytwyth, an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from Imperial College, University of London and a B.A. (Hons) degree from the University of Malta. Prior to her work in academia, she was engaged as an environmental management consultant, working primarily in environmental impact assessment and protected area management. In this regard, she was responsible for the coordination of environmental impact assessments, as well as for the compilation of specialist reports, as well as protected area management plans. She has also been involved in various international research initiatives, in subject areas including coastal management, sustainability, ecosystem management, conservation, landscape management and biodiversity conservation, and with particular focus on the Mediterranean Basin.
Dr. Conrad is an Associate Member of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (UK). She is also a reviewer for several journals, including Land Use Planning, Society and Natural Resources, Landscape and Urban Planning, Environment and Planning C, and Environmental Science and Policy.
Perit Sandro Valentino, Valentino Architects
Sandro Valentino is an architect based in Valletta, who has been practicing for 12 years. He spent the first 7 years of his career at Chris Briffa Architects, after which he co-founded Valentino Architects in 2015. The studio works on a variety of design-oriented projects of various scales, striving to manipulate space in order to improve people’s quality of life by instilling a sense of beauty into the ordinary.
Tuesday 14th July
Have banks reacted to the surge in demand for contactless and online banking services? Has the pandemic accelerated the shift to the cashless society era and is this the way forward?
Christian Farrugia, Director 247Pay
Kenneth Farrugia, Chief Business Development Officer Bank of Valletta
Kenneth Farrugia joined the Bank in 1985 and has since occupied various positions within the Bank. Mr Farrugia currently holds the post of Chief Business Development Officer - Investments and sits on the Management Board. Mr Farrugia is amongst others responsible for the improvement of the Bank’s market position, as well as the achievement of financial growth and long-term strategic business goals. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of BOV Asset Management Limited, and is also a director on the board of the Vilhena Funds SICAV p.l.c. Mr Farrugia is a Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management in the UK.
Godwin Schembri, Co-founder & CTO Know Me Now
Godwin Schembri has held C-Level roles in technology companies driving software development, IT Strategy, decentralised and Cloud architectures, payments and compliance. Some of his technical achievements include deployment of high-volume payment solutions for some of the largest payment providers globally. In recent years Godwin shared his expertise as an independent consultant and co-founded KnowMeNow, a reusable KYC identity solution developed natively on the blockchain. Godwin holds a B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Computing and an MBA in eBusiness.
Industries of all sizes have been somehow impacted by the pandemic. How has the entrepreneurial landscape changed as a consequence to the strict measures that where put into force by Government and health authorities and what is the way forward?
Brian Camilleri, Head of Research Malta Enterprise
An Economist by profession, Brian started his career as a market research analyst with MISCO International Ltd, where he was responsible for a number of quantitative and qualitative research projects for local and international clients. In 2011 he joined Malta Enterprise, the country’s agency tasked with economic and social development were he currently serves as the Corporation’s Senior Economist. At Malta Enterprise Brian’s work has been wide-ranging, with a particular focus on national statistics, including the evolution of the labour market and the role of expats. Brian is also actively engaged in the foreign direct investment efforts carried out by Malta Enterprise. Part of his duties entail the micro targeting of companies that might be interested to invest in Malta; especially in the digital innovation stream. Brian also contributes towards the organisation’s overall policy formulation while also analysing international macro-economic trends with a view of assessing their effect on the Maltese economy.
Dr Gordon Cordina, Economist
Dr Gordon Cordina is a leading economist in the Maltese Islands, with a professional experience spanning 25 years covering banking, policy-making, academia and private sector consultancy. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and the University of Malta. His main area of academic interest is the growth and macroeconomic dynamics facing economies that are prone to heightened risks. Gordon has several years of Board and Risk Committee experience in major financial institutions in Malta. He served as Manager of the Research Department of the Central Bank of Malta, Director General of the National Statistics Office of Malta, Head of the Economics Department of the University of Malta and Economic Advisor to the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development. Through the private consultancy firm he co-founded in 2006, he is involved in a number of local and international research projects and consultancy assignments with institutions including the EU Commission, Government ministries and authorities, NGOs and private sector entities. Gordon is a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Malta.
Tony Zahra, Chairman Alpine Holdings
In 1967, Tony Zahra set up the Alpine Holdings Group. From then onwards followed other initiatives leading to the growth and expansion of the Alpine Group which includes, Alpine Sterlng Travel and Europcar (Malta) and investments in other Hospitality related activities. Mr Zahra is the chairman of Bastion Holdings Ltd which owns Fexserv Financial Services Ltd , Fexserv Fund administration, Bastion Wealth, and one4all Gift vouchers and has interests and investments in other financial services organisations. One of the long held investments is Comtec Service Ltd. During the past 45 years, he held various Government appointments including directorships at The Malta Development Corporation (now Malta Enterprise), Malta International Airport plc and Air Malta plc and chairman of Malta Industrial Parks Ltd. Mr Zahra held office in a number of constituted bodies including as Senior Vice President of the Federation of Industries, Council Member of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, and more recently the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, where he held the position of President between 2011 and 2013 and again in 2015 To date. In September 2015 he was appointed as the representative of Malta's Employer organizations to sit on the EU mandated European Economic and Social Council (EESC).
Wednesday 15 July
The education system is facing the challenge of ensuring the quality and practicability of online lecturing. How have the Maltese adapted to this new reality?
Prof Andrew Azzopardi, Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing and Head of the Department of Youth and Community Studies
Andrew Azzopardi is an Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing and Head of the Department of Youth and Community Studies. His lecturing and research focus on inclusive education, sociology, critical pedagogy, disability politics, youth and community studies. He has contributed extensively in a number of other lauded journals, and has published various texts on disability politics, young people, and inclusive education. He is a Member of the Editorial Panel of the highly acclaimed International Journal of Inclusive Education, and co-editor of Inclusive communities: A Critical Reader (2012). Azzopardi has also edited Youth: Responding to Lives – An International Reader (2013), co-edited Perspectives on wellbeing – a reader (2019) and also edited societas.expert.
Prof Alfred J. Vella, Rector University of Malta
Alfred J. Vella is the Rector of the University of Malta as from July 2016. He graduated BSc in physics and chemistry in 1971 and MSc in chemistry in 1975, both degrees from the University of Malta and PhD in organic geochemistry in 1984 from Colorado School of Mines (USA). He has lectured at the University of Malta since 1987 and is currently professor of chemistry and teaches mainly in the area of environmental chemistry. He has also taught general and organic chemistry and chemistry of natural products. Having taught chemistry since 1968 and at all levels, Professor Vella participated actively in syllabus design and development in Advanced and Intermediate Matriculation Chemistry. Professor Vella served for many years as Head of Department of Chemistry and between 1997 and 2007 was also Dean of the Faculty of Science. He served as Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs between July 2006 and June 2016 and in this capacity headed several Senate Sub-Committees including the PhD Committee and the Programme Validation Committee, the latter body being responsible for ensuring internal quality assurance processes at the University in accordance with the Bologna Process and associated standards and guidelines.
During the past 30 years, Professor Vella's commitments as an academic frequently extended beyond university walls, having regularly acted as court forensic expert in judicial inquiries on chemical accidents, fire and explosion. He has consulted on environmental and other scientific matters to the Government of Malta and local firms and industrial concerns. Prof Vella was a member of the Board of the Planning Authority (1992-98), the Malta Council of Science and Technology (1997-98; 2009-16), Malta Centre for Restoration (2003-5), Heritage Malta (2005-8). He is currently a member of the Environmental Resources Authority and directs the Malta National Authority for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Professor Vella's research interests are mainly in the area of environmental chemistry and he publishes in this area. He is also a reviewer for a number of international journals including Atmospheric Environment, Environmental Pollution and Chemosphere.
The justice system is faced with the challenge of upgrading its electronic infrastructure and keeping operational during times of crisis. Would the introduction of remote court hearings expedite the delivery of justice?
Dr Louis de Gabriele, Partner Camilleri Preziosi Advocates
Louis de Gabriele currently heads the Corporate and Finance practice group at Camilleri Preziosi, which includes the corporate, banking, tax, and insurance units of the firm. His area of expertise is principally banking, corporate finance, and M&A where he has been actively involved since the beginning of his career. He has led the Camilleri Preziosi team on a number of major projects and transactions, both for local and international corporations, and has been, and still is, actively involved in a number of capital markets projects. Louis de Gabriele holds a LL.D from University of Malta and a LL.M in Corporate & Commercial Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Dr Vincent De Gaetano, Chief Justice Emeritus
Chief Justice Emeritus Vincent Anthony De Gaetano was educated at St Aloysius’ College, at the Royal University of Malta and at the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). He joined the Attorney General’s Office in 1979 and served as Deputy Attorney General from 1989 to 1994.He served on a number Council of Europe expert committees and was President of the Steering Committee on Legal Cooperation (CDCJ) and Chairman of the Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption (GMC). In 1994 he was made a judge of the Superior Courts and in 2002 was appointed Chief Justice. In 2010 he was elected to the European Court of Human Rights as the judge in respect of Malta, and served as vice-president of Section IV and later as president of Section III of that Court. He was a lecturer and later senior lecturer in Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure at the University of Malta from 1991 to 2017, and has lectured and published extensively in Malta and abroad on legal and human rights topics.
Dr Vanessa Grech, Court Services Agency
Dr Grech has joined the public service in 1998 and has since been working within the Courts of Justice in many of its departments in different roles. Her main focus being law and litigation, in 2009 Dr Grech pursued a degree in Law and a diploma of legal procurator and thereafter she was appointed as Legal Procurator within the Courts of Justice Department. Few years later, she decided to further her studies and graduated from the University of Malta with a Doctorate of Laws in 2017 and was shortly thereafter admitted to the bar.
Currently, she occupies the post of Assistant Director (Legal) and form part of the legal team within the Court Services Agency. I represent, provide assistance in any court litigation civil, criminal or otherwise, and advice the CEO, the Director/Registrar of both Criminal and Civil Courts & Tribunals, and the Director Support Services in their functions.
Dr Ian J. Stafrace, Partner Saliba Stafrace Legal
Dr. Ian J. Stafrace is a Maltese Lawyer who has been admitted to the Bar in 1998.Ian was educated at De La Salle College and the Liceo and Graduated from the University of Malta.
Since graduating Ian:
• has worked for Exco Services Limited handling assignments relating to corporate matters, mergers and divisions and company restructuring;
• was a partner at Abela Stafrace and Associates, a law firm specialising in Civil and Administrative Law matters. Was actively involved in advising local and foreign public and private clients on matters involving property, planning and environmental law and handled the drafting of transposition legislation and other laws;
• served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the Maltese Agency regulating environment protection and development planning;
• since May 2013, he returned to his profession and set up the firm Salibastafrace Legal. He regularly advises public and private entities on property, civil and commercial matters.
Thursday 16th July
How is hazardous waste managed during a pandemic and how did Malta score in terms of the adoption of single-use plastics during the emergency?
Richard Bilocca, CEO Wasteserv
Richard Bilocca holds an M.Sc and a BA Hons. He has worked at the Icelandic Institute of Sustainable Development leading various projects on sustainable energy development, energy infrastructure, and fisheries. Bilocca also worked at AIS Environmental Ltd. focusing on the coordination of large scale consulting works whilst also being responsible for numerous reports and the drafting of main tender proposals. Projects included power plants, wind farms, sewage treatment plants, storm water systems, and other large scale infrastructure. He then worked for seven years at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union and chaired a Council Working Party for a year under the Slovak and Maltese Presidencies. His Chairmanship is described as one of the most prolific and efficient. Moreover, POLITICO, in its Presidency scoring exercise rated the work of his team at 10/10 and stated that the results witness the dedication at closing some of the toughest jobs. Bilocca then joined the Energy and Water Agency as Chief Corporate Officer and fulfilled a horizontal role responsible for Corporate Image, HR, assisting the CEO in negotiations with third parties, disputes, EU affairs, and other tasks related to the functioning of the Agency.
In late 2017 Richard Bilocca was employed as CEO at the Water Services Corporation and he held the post for two and a half years. He led a workforce of 1,200 individuals which serve close to 300,000 account holders ranging from households, businesses, industries, hotels, and others. The Corporation is responsible to the production and supply of potable water, collection and treatment of wastewater, production of highly polished reclaimed water, and related services. Under his helm the Corporation went through intensive restructuring and just concluded the 2019 financial year with a surplus triple the average value of the previous 6 years. Key to this achievement was a very aggressive strategy focusing on efficiency and management streamlining. He was also instrumental in Malta’s largest ever EU Cohesion funded project at over EUR 135m which is intended to revitalise Malta’s water and sewage infrastructure. Richard Bilocca is now employed at Wasteserv Malta Ltd. as CEO. Wasteserv is responsible for waste management in the Maltese Islands.
Mary Gaerty, Joint Managing Director Green Skip Services
Mary is an entrepreneur, the Chairperson and a Joint Managing Director of Green Skip Services Ltd, a company she co founded in 1992. Pioneering Waste management in Malta , she has worked incessantly with the industrial and government authorities in order to initiate and promote best practices in waste management. Having followed various courses both locally but mainly abroad in this sector, she was acknowledged as an expert in this field by being accepted as a full Member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Waste Management of the UK. She is a qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor and a frequent speaker at seminars. She is a member of the Sustainable Development and Energy Committee within The Malta Chamber, a member of the Enterprise Consultative Council, The Chairperson of the Recyclers Association Malta and a vice Chair of the MCESD Civil Committee.
Empty offices meant lower energy consumption and a reduction of costs for companies. How can we seize the opportunity and champion sustainability?
Ing Marco Cremona
Considered as being one of Malta’s leading hydrologists and water treatment engineers. Member of the (Gieh Ir-Repubblika) National Order of Merit since Republic Day, 13 December 2014. Nominated and shortlisted for the Stockholm Water Prize 2012, the Nobel Prize equivalent in the water sector. Marco invented and built the world’s first sewage-to-potable water plant for hotels (HOTER) and designed and lives in what is probably Europe's only completely water and electricity self-sufficient home. In 2009, his house in Mosta, Malta won the France 5 Report Terre award as the ‘Best Environmental Project in Europe”. His innovative sustainable urban drainage (SuD) project GEO-INF was a finalist in the Energy Globe Awards 2015. The Energy Globe is the most prestigious environmental award in the world.
Ivan Falzon, CEO Water Services Corporation
Mr. Ivan Falzon has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Water Services Corporation on March 27th, 2020. Mr. Falzon was, until recently, the CEO of Mater Dei Hospital preceded by a career in aviation. He had occupied the role at Mater Dei Hospital since 2014 and was instrumental in a number of transformational projects undertaken during this period. Mr. Falzon strongly believes that water and data are the commodities of the next generation and as a country should double up our focus on making the right investments to fit this reality.
Manuel Sapiano, CEO The Energy & Water Agency
Manuel Sapiano is the Chief Executive Officer of the Energy and Water Agency (EWA) within Malta’s Ministry for Energy and Water Management. In this role, he coordinates a team of experts with responsibilities for the formulation, evaluation, monitoring and implementation of national policies concerning the use of energy and water in a sustainable manner and the formulation of plans to meet National and EU energy and water resources management targets.
He also coordinates EWA’s identification of and participation in research and development initiatives in the energy and water sectors, mainly focusing on issues such as the water and energy demand management and use efficiency, renewable energies, groundwater resources management and policy assessment and formulation.
Mr Sapiano is a hydrogeologist, with specific specialisation in island and coastal hydrology. He has previously led the Agency’s Water Policy Unit, where in particular he had the responsibility of coordinating the implementation process of EU related water legislation in the Maltese islands He has been involved in the implementation process of the EU Water Framework Directive since 2002, where within the Common Implementation Strategy of this Directive, he fulfils the role of Water Director for Malta.
Tuesday 21st July
The islands’ construction industry has registered an unprecedented growth in the last decade and seems to have come out of the crisis unscathed. What are the reasons for its resiliency and did the property market experience any new trends?
Alan Grima, CEO Dhalia Real Estate Services
Can Malta position itself as a European safe-haven for tourism and business alike, and are we capitalizing on the funds made available by the EU?
Marcel Cassar, CEO APS Bank
Started with a Big 4 firm in 1987, followed by 5 years at MIBA/MFSC (today’s MFSA), trained at the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve Board. He then held successively senior management positions, as General Manager of Lombard Bank Malta plc (1996-2004) and First Executive Vice President and Group CFO of FIMBank plc (2004-2015). Marcel served for many years on the board of the Malta Bankers’ Association, including as Chairman (2018-2020), leading to a seat on the Board of the Brussels-based European Banking Federation (EBF). Marcel is a CPA, a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants and holds an MBA in Bank Financial Management from the University of Wales and Manchester Business School (1995). He lectures in the M.A. (Financial Services) programme at the University of Malta, supervises and examines theses, and writes and speaks at conferences in Malta and overseas, particularly on topics related to banking policy,
strategy and ESG.
Wednesday 22nd July
Prolonged home isolation has had a diverse and even adverse impact on different facets of the Maltese society, bringing the community to the fore. Is the welfare and care system adapt to support the most vulnerable members of society cope with such circumstances? Do we have roadmaps in place to help unfortunate citizens adapt to the immediate, medium and long-term difficulties caused by this pandemic?
Dr Anna Borg, Director of the Centre for Labour Studies
Dr Anna Borg is the Director of the Centre for Labour Studies (CLS) at the University of Malta. She lectures and coordinates the Honours Degree Course in Work and Human Resources, and the Diploma in Social Sciences (Gender, Work and Society) offered by the CLS. She conducts research for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Euorofound-Dublin), and for several years she also acted as a researcher for the European Social Policy Network (ESPN). In her past work Dr Borg was responsible for managing the EU Educational and Vocational Programme, Leonardo Da Vinci in Malta and was a Project Leader for various Trans-European Social Fund (ESF) projects across the EU.
Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Former President of Malta, President of Eurochild, Chair of The Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Chair of The Malta Trust Foundation
H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was the ninth and youngest President of Malta (2014-2019). President Coleiro Preca served in politics for 40 year being the very first and still the only elected General Secretary of the then, Malta Labour Party. She also served at the Council of Europe as Member of the General Assembly. In Parliament she served for 16 years and as Minister for the Family & Social Solidarity, she initiated numerous social reforms. Coleiro Preca founded and chairs The Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, The Malta Trust Foundation, and The Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation Malta.
Internationally, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is: (i) President of Eurochild; (ii) UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for Equality; (iii) UNIDO Champion for the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa; (iv) Member of the Council of World Women Leaders; (v) UNWTO Special Ambassador for Sustainable Tourism; (vi) Patron and Ambassador for the Girl2Leader Campaign; (vii) Member of the Women Political Leaders Global Forum Advisory Board; and (viii) former Member of the Patron’s Council of ‘Missing Children Europe’. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is invited as keynote speaker at international fora, focussing on poverty and inequalities, and children’s rights. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca graduated as: (i) a Bachelor in Legal and Humanities, and (ii) as Notary Public, at the University of Malta. She is also: (i) Honorary Professor of the University of Warwick; (ii) Honorary Doctorate of Laws from University of Leicester (UK); and (iii) Honorary Doctorate of Literature from the University of Malta.
Inspector Sylvana Gafa', Victim Support Unit Malta Police Force
Patrick Psaila, Director PsyPotential
Patrick is a registered psychologist and training consultant with over 22 years of experience working with organisations as a training consultant, coach and psychologist. Patrick works with various large and medium sized organisations involved in manufacturing, education, health, tourism, banking, and other services. His area of specialisation is in personal and professional development for managers and leaders in organisations, with a particular interest in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership.
He has designed and delivered customised training and development programmes for over 300 organisations. In 1998 he established WorkAssist as a professional service that offers workplace counselling, personal and professional development programmes, coaching, mentoring and HR consultancy. In 2015 he founded PsyPotential Ltd. specialising in work psychology and human factors in organisations. Patrick holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Adult and Group Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He is a Licensed Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, a certified MSCEIT and EQ-i 2.0 practitioner. He has also delivered lectures at the University of Malta, The Institute of Health Care, the Foundation for Human Resources Development and the Malta Institute of Management. He has delivered keynote addresses and run workshops on Emotional Intelligence and Resonant Leadership in various Conferences held in Malta, UK and Switzerland. Patrick is passionate about empowering and enabling people to reach their full potential and become the best version of themselves.
With more time on their hands, many took the opportunity to start physical exercise at home, but how has the pandemic affected professional and amateur athletes' training opportunities?
Leanne Bartolo, Personal Trainer
Leanne Bartolo is the current World Fitness Federation European Bikini champion. A psychology graduate and primary school teacher by profession, Bartolo is also a fully qualified fitness instructor and a certified TRX instructor. Bartolo’s victory automatically elevated her to compete in the "pros" section on the same night, where she placed second. It was another accolade after placing third at the World Bikini Competition award in November 2017.
Thursday 23rd July
Sustainability must be included in the planning of urban areas and homes alike. How can we make policymakers, industry representatives and NGOs work together towards a sustainable planning model?
Perit Michelle Piccinino, Executive Director Environment & Resources Authority
Ing. Sandro Lauri, CSO Energy and Water Agency
Ing Sandro Lauri graduated in Electrical Engineering from the University of Malta in 1993 and for 20 years worked in the IT industry. In 2013 he obtained a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy, specializing in modelling energy consumption by road transport. In 2014 he joined the Energy and Water Agency (formerly SECWU), whereby he was assigned tasks related to Renewable Energy Policy development and implementation. He led the update of Malta’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan and the revamp of incentive schemes for photovoltaic installations, and contributed towards both the Solar Farm Policy and the National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030. Today he heads the recently established Strategy Unit within the Energy and Water Agency.
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