PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: “Peace is the greatest need of our time”

On Friday evening, President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca inaugurated an exhibition called ‘Art of Peace’, and presented the 2017 Artraker Biennial Awards.

The President said that as global uncertainties create an atmosphere of increasing concern around the world, “our active commitment to the ideal of peace must continue to guide our path forward”. Labelling the exhibition as a “means to proactively highlight the transformative power of peace”, the President said that through the universal language of art, we are able to build strong connections with people and cultures that, at first glance, may appear very different. “Yet”, the President said, “within our diversity of perspectives, traditions, and customs, we have the opportunity to find common ground, which creates the strong bonds that connect us together.”

“I believe that the basis for all meaningful and sustainable peace must be a spirit of solidarity that expresses itself in respectful ways to nurture connections throughout our societies”

The President said that solidarity is essential for all our relationships, whether they exist between individuals, families, communities or nations. She said that the Artraker Biennial Awards are a chance for everyone to focus on how the spirit of solidarity can become a powerful catalyst for the elimination of violence and the promotion of peace. The President also said that it is encouraging to note that the hundreds of submissions received came from over 75 countries. “This is a clear indication of just how universal the desire for peace truly is,” the President remarked.

President Coleiro Preca said that to her, the exhibition opens a window into the powerful possibility of change in our world, adding that it reminds us that there is a credible alternative to the rhetoric of suspicion and division which, unfortunately, is becoming louder across many of our nations. The President said that the exhibition also reminds us “that we can free ourselves from narratives of destruction and isolation, and replace them with narratives of inclusion and participation.”

The participating artists addressed three main themes, namely: exploring ways of promoting leadership for peace; how to create spaces within society that celebrate resilience; and artworks that challenge contemporary discourses of hatred by promoting a strong message of unity. These themes are a guide along our path to achieve the abovementioned narratives of inclusion and participation.

The President also appealed to all those present to do all they can to energise our younger generations so that they can become courageous activists for peace.

“We must continue to show that all of humanity has a collective responsibility to ensure that the world inherited by our children is one in which the principles of our democratic societies are safeguarded”

The President urged everyone not to lose momentum, and to keep working together, fostering synergies between international organisations, national authorities, members of civil society and creative individuals.

“If we continue to foster synergies, we can discover new and innovative ways of sharing our commitment to peace with an increasing number of people, encouraging them to join us as champions of solidarity and activists of peace”, the President said.

The President concluded by thanking the participating artists for having taken on board the promotion of peace. “Through your art”, the President said, “you are reminding us that each individual can make a difference by dedicating themselves to be a force for peaceful change in our respective nations, in our regions, and across the world.”

Source: Government of Malta