Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca began her working visit in Ontario by meeting with young Maltese-Canadian descendants
President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, began her working visit in Ontario, Canada, accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela, by meeting with young Maltese-Canadian descendants in Mississauga, Ontario.
The President emphasised the importance of making young people feel connected to the Maltese islands by praising the many contributions made by the Maltese diaspora who have helped Canada to prosper and flourish.
Furthermore, President Coleiro Preca focused on the need to harness and encourage the energy and enthusiasm of young people in the Maltese diaspora. In this context, she encouraged the young people to explore dual citizenship and the opportunities this provides within Europe.
The President mentioned Malta's impressive economic growth, low unemployment rate, and need to import workers from overseas as compelling examples of how the diaspora can reconnect with the Maltese Islands.
“Coming to live and work in Malta will be like coming back home”, said President Coleiro Preca.
The young people also shared their lived experiences, including Christine Bartolo, the newly appointed Maltese-Canadian Youth Ambassador. Bartolo said that she was working closely with Maltese-Canadian young people, and that their participation is steadily growing in the community.
All the young people present for the meeting with the President said that there was the need to use digital technology more effectively and in more innovative ways so as to create new connections between young people in the Maltese islands and in the diaspora.
For this reason, the President encouraged spaces for youth-to-youth connections which should take place in a more structured way between the Canadian-Maltese youth community and the youth community in Malta. In this way, young people could discuss shared issues, concerns, and experiences.
Speaking about the uniqueness of Maltese identity, the President said that “the Maltese language gives us a sense of strength and connection.” The President described the preservation of the Maltese language in Canada as an example of a celebration of diversity.
The President also praised Canada for having one of the first policies towards embracing the importance of diversity and multiculturalism. Such policies, said the President, reduce social tensions and foster a strong sense of solidarity in society.
Echoing the President’s remarks, a young Canadian-Maltese person concluded the meeting by saying that, “The government of Canada is supportive of diversity, and that helps us to value our Maltese culture.”