Your Excellency, dear guests, dear friends…
I wish to extend to all of you a heartfelt welcome; thank you for joining us tonight. At the outset, I wish to offer my warmest congratulations to the artists:
Composer – KARL FIORINI,
Violinist – EULALIE CHARLAND,
and Pianist – CHARLENE FARRUGIA.
I am certain that their performance – consisting of works by Belgian and Maltese composers – will be a delightful one.
Tonight’s concert is one of many exemplary events, held in several countries around the globe, that have been funded through the Cultural Diplomacy Fund of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of Malta.
Through the Cultural Diplomacy Fund, we have over the past few years provided Malta’s diplomatic missions with additional resources to help them organise, and participate in, cultural events that reflect the Maltese cultural idiom while promoting the intercultural dimension.
Based on the successes that have been achieved so far in this area as a result of the endeavours of our diplomatic missions and our team in Valletta, cultural diplomacy will become an even stronger component of our day-to-day work in the months and years ahead.
As the end of 2018 quickly approaches, so does Valletta’s one-year stint as European Capital of Culture. This European initiative has added vigour to Malta’s will to continue striving to serve as a crossroad where Europe – and the world – meet: not only in the political, economic, and commercial domains but also in the cultural sphere.
We are determined to persist in our efforts in favour of a stronger sense of belonging among European citizens to a common cultural area, while giving due prominence to the richness and diversity of cultures in individual Member States.
We are in Brussels: the very heart of the European project. Our common motto is ‘United in Diversity’. Let us realise that there is much more that unites us than divides us.
Still, our differences should not tear us apart; rather, they should serve as catalysts that drive us to get to know each other better, in so doing gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of what each one of us stands for.
Would any one of us here tonight be looking forward to the concert that is about to begin, if all the works to be performed consisted of a single, repeated, musical note? That would be boring and tedious, putting it mildly. It is the magical intertwining of different musical notes that forges the charming compositions to be performed.
The 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow defined music as “the universal language of mankind”. Tonight’s concert is a practical example of how music can help create bridges of communication between countries, but also – very importantly – between peoples.
Moreover, it is yet another illustration of the excellent ties that have been cemented – and that continue to be developed – between our two countries at every level since the beginning of bilateral diplomatic relations way back in June 1965.
In conclusion, permit me to thank and congratulate our Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Ray Azzopardi, and Counsellor Tania Carabott, for spearheading and coordinating tonight’s initiative.
Regrettably, together with my delegation, I must now go to the airport to catch our flight back to Malta. I hope that you enjoy the concert, as we celebrate our two cultures – their rich pasts, their exciting present, and, most of all, the promise of further, increased cultural collaboration in the years to come.