Sunday, 14th March 2010 – 11:25CET

New Malta Institute to promote Maltese culture, language abroad

The government is considering the setting up of a Maltese Cultural Institute to promote the Maltese language and culture abroad and to help Maltese emigrants in this area, Foreign Minister Tonio Borg announced this morning.

He was speaking at the Convention of the Maltese Living Abroad, which opened at The Exchange Building, in Valletta.

“There is no doubt that Malta must promote everything that is Maltese – the teaching of the Maltese language, folklore, traditions, our way of life, our cultural heritage….Despite our limitations, we need to do what other countries have done and set up a Cultural Institute whose primary purpose will be to promote the Maltese language, culture and traditions abroad,” Dr Borg said to applause.

He said the ministries responsible for culture, tourism, education and foreign affairs would have to work together within this institute so that human and financial resources could be channelled in the most appropriate way.

The new institute would also be able to use Malta’s 25 embassies to achieve its aim.

In his address Dr Borg recalled three laws passed through Parliament which had introduced and gradually extended the right to dual citizenship, which is now available to all those who can prove Maltese ancestry.

This, he said, had strengthened the concept of Greater Malta.

Fears that this legislation could lead to an invasion had proved to be unfounded because for many, the acquisition of Maltese citizenship along with the citizenship of their adopted country, was an emotional one, an affirmation of their Maltese roots and an expression of love for the land of their birth, or that of their ancestors.

Nonetheless, use of dual citizenship had many benefits, not least the benefits accorded to all citizens of the Euopean Union, including freedom of movement, work and residence within the EU.

Dr Borg said that since 1989, a total of 16,000 persons of Maltese descent had opted for dual citizenship.

Dr Borg praised the Maltese communities abroad for keeping alive Malta’s language traditions and culture, and, borrowing a verse from British poet Rupert Brooke said theirs was “a corner of a foreign field which is for ever Malta”.

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