Fellow Maltese and Gozitans living abroad, greetings,
I welcome with great pleasure this annual occasion to send you my best wishes for this Christmas season, as well as to give some thought to its significance and value.
I firmly believe that despite the geographical distance that separates you from Malta and Gozo, you still feel very close to the traditions that make us unique as a People, and this undoubtedly applies to the celebration of Christmas.
Many of you in lands far from ours, might have set up a Nativity scene or a baby Jesus in the warmth of your home, as our ancestors used to do over the years, and are preparing for the traditional Christmas meal with your loved ones.
I also believe that at this time of the year, Maltese associations, clubs, and band clubs abroad meet – despite long distances – for typical Christmas parties that bring together large numbers of their members.
This love of tradition and sense of belonging is extraordinary.
I follow with pleasure such events and initiatives through the letters and publications that you send to me about how other associations and organisations spread all over the world continued to convey this type of connection to older members as well as youths and children.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank these many organisations for their very important work with you Maltese living abroad.
Everyone can benefit from this work, which can provide a sense of fellowship to the elderly who left Malta years ago, to those who may still be children and want to learn Maltese, to those who do not wish to lose the cultural heritage of their ancestors, to others who enjoy a traditional religious feast, and perhaps also to those who want to learn to cook typical Maltese food.
Nowadays there are many means and structures, both real and virtual, that can safeguard the Maltese identity, even in other countries far away.
To mention just one example, this year I had the satisfaction of meeting the members of the Council for Maltese Living Abroad at Sant’Anton Palace to hear directly from them about what is being done to continue to safeguard the interests of the Maltese community around the world. I was very pleased to learn how seriously subjects and themes such as the Maltese language, the procedures for obtaining citizenship, the promotion of art and culture, and many others are being addressed.
I reiterate my appreciation for the role and function served by this Council.
I would also like to commend the initiative for the First Virtual Forum, taken by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, addressed to the youths of the Maltese diaspora.
It was a pleasure to deliver my message because I believe that they have a big role to play for the present and future of the Community of Maltese Living Abroad, as well as for the realities and challenges that affect Malta and Gozo themselves.
Key among these is ‘Unity’ – a concept very close to my heart and which I am sure you are now used to me mentioning it in my speeches and appeals.
It is not just youths who have a role to play in this regard, but all of you, wherever you are. As part of the Maltese family spread around the world, you can be a voice for inclusion, solidarity, growth, and economic wealth for every section of our society, for the balance between renewal and the natural environment around us, for innovation and unlimited training, for lessons in tolerance of any religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
We can all learn from the constructive experiences you are going through in your adoptive countries.
I encourage you not to refrain from sharing your thoughts and ideas, as many of you already do, both by keeping in touch with my Office and also through the delightful letters of encouragement, enthusiasm, and sometimes even a small dose of nostalgia you send directly to me.
I conclude this message by wishing you and your loved ones, both those close to you as well as those in Malta and Gozo, on my behalf and on behalf of my wife Miriam, a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of happiness and peace.
All the best.