PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION On the 200th year anniversary since arrival of first Maltese immigrants in Greece, Minister Abela remarks that the Maltese diaspora in 130 countries has always striven to achieve exce

This year marks the 200th anniversary since the arrival of the first Maltese immigrants in Greece. On this occasion, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela welcomed at the Ministry in Valletta Sevastianos Rossolatos, Archbishop of Athens and a delegation of Maltese origin from the Charity Organisation Caritas Athens. This followed a mass which took place at the Curia by Archbishop of Malta Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna.

Minister Abela commended the success reached by the Maltese diaspora abroad. In his own words, “In the long history of the Maltese diaspora, which is today present in more than 130 countries, the Maltese have always done their best to achieve excellence. Our fellow Maltese worked hard and managed to distinguish themselves in many areas, including business, construction, culture and education, science and technology, medicine, and missionary work”.

Minister Abela recounted how the first known Maltese to settle in Greece on the island of Corfu date back to 1819, when the British Governor of the Ionian Islands, Sir Thomas Maitland, decided to build with the Maltese limestone the palace of St Michael and St George.

Minister Abela mentioned that recently he paid an official visit to Greece. He noted that among the Maltese who made a name for themselves, and for Malta, in Greece are the Former Mayor of Corfu, Sotiris Michalef, and the present Catholic Archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Cephalonia, Mgr Ioannis Spiteris, who are part of the 4th generation of Maltese origin.

Minister Abela remarked that the theme of Maltese living abroad, a term that embraces both Maltese emigrants of the first generation and many more people of Maltese heritage scattered all around the globe, is an area of major importance for this Ministry. He recalled that in October next 2020, the Ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs will be organising the 5th Convention for the Maltese Living Abroad under the theme ‘Keeping Connected’. This event, which takes place every 5 years, brings together Maltese nationals and descendants to discuss current challenges and future policies. The outcome will then shape the government’s future policies for the Maltese diaspora.

Ambassador of Malta for Greece Joseph Cuschieri was also present for the event.

Source: Office of the Prime Minister