Ants and Biological Invasions
Professor Erik Arndt from the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences recently delivered two very interesting public lectures that were well attended by students and staff from the Department of Biology, as well as students from other departments and the general public.
In the first lecture, ‘Patterns of biological invasions’, Prof. Arndt explained the sequence of events in biological invasions, starting from the initial introduction, to establishment and range expansion, to an ecological equilibrium with the native ecosystem. This is often accompanied by the extinction of native species, especially on islands. A wide range of examples, from the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments were discussed, including some of Prof. Arndt’s own work on the European mainland.
In the second lecture ‘Interaction between ants and vegetation’, Prof. Arndt first gave a brief introduction on the structure and systematics of ants. He described their role as ecosystem engineers or keystone species in meadow, tropical rain forest, temperate deciduous forest and Mediterranean-type ecosystems. He then went on to highlight the importance of ants as distributors of seeds in the Mediterranean-climate regions of South Africa and Australia.
Prof. Arndt also described his own work on the subject carried out in Greece, where his research showed that up to 80% of the plant species in the area studied may benefit from ants in one way or another.
04 June 2013
Banking & Finance and Insurance Awards
Annual Presentation of University Banking & Finance and Insurance Awards to Students
The University of Malta's Department of Banking & Finance (which includes also Insurance as an area of study) has recently organised this year’s presentation of awards to students who graduated in 2012 (2011/2012 academic year) in Bachelor of Banking & Finance (Hons) or Bachelor of Insurance (Hons). The Head of the Department and Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Accountancy and Management (FEMA), Prof. Joseph Falzon made an introductory speech where he highlighted the tradition of awarding prizes to those students who had performed best in the previous academic year. He also mentioned some of the latest developments taking place within the Department during the past year, most notably the introduction of the Masters programme in Finance. He also thanked all the sponsors for their generous contributions and for making not only this activity possible but also for sponsoring faculty positions within both course programmes enabling the Department to bring top foreign academics to teach the Department’s students.
Mr Romeo Cutajar, Chief Officer Financial Markets & Investments, spoke on behalf of Bank of Valletta who has been a long–term partner and major sponsor for the Department’s award ceremony and foreign faculty positions. Mr Cutajar spoke about the importance of having a stream of graduates with the specialized skills needed for the ever-growing financial services industry. He also mentioned the importance of having students who could practice and experience real-live financial markets by taking part in the BOV portfolio game. This latter was improved this year with the students having the possibility to visit the Financial markets & Investments division of BOV and see how typical day-to-day work is conducted.
The various sponsors who commented on the quality of the graduates coming out of the two programmes and on their satisfaction to be associated with this event awarded the prizes to the students. The students were awarded prizes in three different categories as follows:
- awards for students who got a first class (distinction) classification in the Honours degree. Three Banking & Finance students were awarded this prize (Ms Ella Camilleri, Mr Clyde Fenech, and Ms Christabel Saliba)
- awards for students who got an A mark in their final year dissertation. Nine Banking & Finance students were awarded this prize (Ms Ruth Azzopardi, Ms Ella Camilleri, Ms Maria Diandra Fenech, Mr George Gribbon, Ms Bettina Mifsud, Mr Desmond Pace, Ms Christabel Saliba, Ms Phylisienne Vella, and Mr Fabian Zammit). Four Insurance students were awarded this prize (Mr Josef Camilleri, Mr Ryan Farrugia, Ms Louisa Galea, and Mr Danny Magro)
- awards for students in the three best teams of the BOV portfolio game. The winning team was made up of Ms Maria Demicoli, Ms Joanna Fenech, Ms Rachel Ferrante, and Ms Phylisienne Vella. The team that finished second was made up of Mr Wayne Apap, Ms Josianne Farrugia, and Ms Elysia Spagnol. The team that finished third was made up of Ms Francesca Bartolo, Ms Christabel Saliba, Mr Jean Paul Tabone, and Mr Christopher Vella.
For Banking & Finance, the awards were presented by Mr Romeo Cutajar, Chief Officer Financial Markets & Investments, on behalf of Bank of Valletta, Prof. Joseph Falzon on behalf of Fimbank, Mr George Spiteri, Head Human Resources and Development Unit, on behalf of MFSA, Ms Eileen Muscat, Chief Executive Officer, on behalf of Malta Stock Exchange, and Mr Anthony C Schembri, Managing Director, on behalf of Raiffeisen Malta Bank plc.
For Insurance students, the awards were presented by Mr Stephen Gauci, Chief Officer Strategy and Product Development, on behalf of Middlesea Insurance plc and Mr Norman Mifsud, Chief Officer HR & Corporate Services, on behalf of MSV Life plc.
from left to right: Mr Romeo Cutajar, Chief Officer Financial Markets & Investments, Bank of Valletta; Ms Elysia Spagnol; Ms Josianne Farrugia; Mr Wayne Apap; and Prof. Joseph Falzon, Head of the Department of Banking & Finance and Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Accountancy and Management (FEMA)
04 June 2013
Sino-Maltese Relations Strengthened
Sino-Maltese relations are on the steady path to further significant expansion. During their recent visit to China, the Minister of Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo and the Rector of the University of Malta, Juanito Camilleri, had official meetings with several important Chinese institutions, through which exciting projects are being developed.
At Shanghai Maritime University, a discussion was held about collaboration in the field of Shipping and Navigation Studies between the Shanghai Maritime University, University of Malta and MCAST. The Minister and the Rector also met 20 students who have shown interest in coming to Malta to take up the newly launched International Masters Programme on Ocean Governance, being held this September together with the IOI – International Ocean Institute.
The delegation was also hosted at Beijing Foreign Studies University which attracts some of China’s best students, training many of China’s career diplomats and top executives. BFSU asked for the assistance of both the Maltese Government and the University of Malta in setting up a programme dedicated to Maltese language and culture. The Beijing Foreign Studies University teaches all EU languages, with its students normally studying at least three languages. The Beijing Foreign Studies University is also oriented towards international relations and business. It showed particular interest in Mediterranean Studies and European Studies at the University of Malta.
On arriving in Shanghai, the delegation was hosted by the Vice Mayor, Weng Tie Hui and other officials from the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. Given that Shanghai has come tops in the recent PISA benchmark study of the OECD, the discussion focused on the strategy adopted by Shanghai in order to achieve such excellent results and international recognition. Minister Bartolo expressed Malta’s interest in collaborating with Shanghai’s Education Commission in order to exchange best practice.
Moving on to Shanghai University of Traditional Medicine, with whom an agreement was signed just a month ago, the Minister and the Rector discussed the launching of a collaborative International Masters Programme on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Culture. This Masters would also involve the Department of Health in Malta, the Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kordin, and the Mater Dei Clinic which is dedicated to Chinese medicine.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of China’s top, comparable with US Ivy League in calibre. University of Malta is interested in research collaboration in the field of digital communications and media. It will be sending a technical delegation in the coming months to explore this and links with other engineering and ICT disciplines. The University of Malta and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are already collaborating in an Erasmus Mundus programme in the field of Language and Communication Technology and in particular in aspects of Natural Language Processing.
left to right
Rector Prof. Juanito Camilleri, Minister Evarist Bartolo, and Mr Reno Calleja, President of the Malta-China Friendship Society
04 June 2013
Student Interpreters on Familiarisation Visit at European Commission
Students attending the Masters Course in Interpreting Studies spent three intensive days in Brussels as part of their course curriculum studies. The visit was organised by the Head of Department, Prof. Joseph Eynaud in collaboration with Ms Marta Kakol from the European Commission. They were accompanied by Ms Gabrielle Torpiano, an interpreter trainer with the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies.
The group of students had familiarisation visits to the European Commission and European Parliament. At the Commission they attended a meeting on Money Laundering and Animal Welfare where they had practical sessions in dummy booths. They also had the occasion to meet the Head of Unit, Mr Peter Mifsud and former student interpreters who are now on full-time employment with EU Institutions.
This year’s SCIC-Universities conference held in Brussels on new modes of learning in interpreter training was attended by Ms Nadia Saliba, an interpreter trainer with the Department.
03 June 2013
Gold Medal for University Employee Eleanor Bezzina
Gold Medal for University employee, Eleanor Bezzina, at the Games of the Small States of Europe
Target shooter Eleanor Bezzina, a University employee, made Malta proud by winning the gold medal in the Luxembourg GSSE air pistol competition.
Together with leading competitors from Cyprus, Monaco, Luxembourg and Iceland, she qualified for the final rounds. Eleanor gave an impressive performance and won the competition. This is Malta's second gold medal up to now.
31 May 2013
University Junior College Awards Evening
On Friday 26 April, the Junior College held its Awards Evening to acknowledge not only academic excellence and talent, but also to award all Junior College students who excelled in various areas.
Awardees ranged from students who were awarded a Grade 'A' in their Matsec certificate as well as others who distinguished themselves in extra-curricular activities. Members of staff who have recently retired also received a memento in recognition of their invaluable work at the College.
The Principal, Mr Joseph Sciriha congratulated and highlighted the sterling work being carried out at the academic institution in giving a holistic education to students preparing to enter University. The awards were distributed by Prof. Juanito Camilleri, Rector, and Prof. Mary Ann Lauri, Pro-Rector. The Junior College Orchestra under the direction of Mro Manoel Pirotta gave a concert during the evening.
29 May 2013
Junior College Students Winners at 'Spot German in Malta'
Junior College students Joseph Spiteri and Kimberly Zammit placed third and fourth respectively, in a photo competition entitled 'Spot German in Malta', which attracted over one hundred entries. The competition was organised by the German Department at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the German-Maltese Circle and DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and was supported by the German Embassy in Malta, Merlin Library and BDL book distributors.
The aim of the competition was to highlight the pleasure of language learning and intercultural encounters, as well as to motivate students and others who are interested in the German language. The prize giving ceremony took place at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta on 25 May 2013. Dr Hubert Ziegler, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and DDr Petra Schneebauer, Austrian Ambassador were also present for the ceremony.
29 May 2013
Study Visit to Brussels
A group of 40 students from the University of Malta’s Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy went on a study visit to Brussels, organised by the Department of Public Policy between 23 and 26 April.
The intensive study trip consisted of seminars and information sessions at a number of key European Institutions, including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council and the European External Action Service. At the European Commission, the students had meetings with Commissioner Tonio Borg, as well as with other experts and officials including members of the Malta-EU accession negotiating team.
In addition, the students visited the headquarters of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe where they were briefed about the structures and organisation of ALDE, the third largest political force in the European Parliament.
The group also spent a day at the European Parliament observing proceedings in Committees, attending an information seminar and participating in a Question and Answer session with MEP Joseph Cuschieri. During a visit to Malta House, the students also met with the Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU, Ambassador Marlene Bonnici.
The study trip provided students with an insight in policy making at the European level and gave them exposure to high level officials in different institutions. The group of students, currently in their final year of the Bachelor of Commerce, were accompanied by Robert Micallef, resident academic within the Department of Public Policy, who coordinated the study visit. The visit was sponsored by the European Parliament.
29 May 2013
Malta, China Agree on Mutual Recognition of Degrees, Diplomas
The Minister of Education Evarist Bartolo, has signed a cooperation agreement for Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees and Diplomas with his counterpart Minister Yuan Guiren of the People's Republic of China.
This agreement is an important milestone to facilitate and enhance student mobility between China and Malta and to make Malta an attractive destination for Chinese students seeking tertiary education abroad.
During discussions prior to the signing ceremony, Minister Bartolo highlighted the importance that Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, is placing on enhanced Sino-EU cooperation in the field of higher education, and particularly within the proposed Erasmus for All programme. 'The Commissioner has taken particular interest in the agreement we signed today between Malta and China, and has welcomed the assistance that Malta can provide to further strengthen Sino-EU cooperation in the field of Education', the Minister said.
The Rector of the University of Malta, Professor Juanito Camilleri, who is accompanying the Minister during the visit to China, expressed his satisfaction as he believes this agreement will be instrumental to increase the number of Chinese students in Malta, but also to encourage Maltese students to spend study-abroad periods in China. 'The number of world-class universities in China is impressive and the growing number of excellent degree programmes offered in English by Chinese universities provides Maltese students with a wonderful opportunity to study in China. Once Erasmus for All is introduced, the opportunity for student exchange with China will be further enhanced', the Rector said.
The Minister was also accompanied by Mr Reno Calleja, the President of the Malta-China Friendship Society and the Ambassador of Malta to China, Dr Joseph Cassar. During the various meetings scheduled for this first official delegation to China of the current Government, the possibility of enhanced cooperation between Malta and China in various other fields of mutual interest are being discussed.
28 May 2013
Raising Awareness of Maltese-German Connections
Award Ceremony for Competition to Raise Awareness of Maltese-German Connections
On Saturday 25 May, the Department of German at the University of Malta opened an exhibition of selected contributions to the competition 'Spot German in Malta' in the foyer of the Sir Temi Zammit Hall at the University of Malta, Msida Campus.
The competition was launched last January in collaboration with the German-Maltese Circle and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and was supported by the German Embassy in Malta, ProMinent, the Goethe-Institute, BDL and Merlin Library.
The idea of spotting German in Malta appealed to many young students of German and other members of the public: 'Through this competition I realised that upon looking closely we have a variety of German things and aspects in Malta', one of the participants commented. The competition was designed to highlight exactly such pleasures of intercultural encounters and language learning. From January to April more than 100 photo contributions were sent in and the Facebook-Group 'German in Malta', where the pictures were posted, grew to over 2000 members.
At the opening of the exhibition by Prof. Mario Vassallo, Head of the Department of German, the winners were awarded prizes by H.E. Dr Hubert Ziegler, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, by H.E. DDr Petra Schneebauer, Austrian Ambassador to Malta, by Ing. Arthur Ciantar, President of the German-Maltese Circle, and by Dr Ralf Heimrath of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The attractive prizes included an iPad mini, an iPod as well as picture books and German DVDs.
'It is a great pleasure to see this variety of discoveries by the many participants,' Professor Vassallo emphasized. Some participants arranged creative collages, including their own drawings, displayed together with German art products. Others spotted German road signs and house names, showing that there are, for instance, several roads in Malta named after German scholars who researched Maltese history and culture. One of the participants even managed a photo with his dog acting as model reading a German magazine.
Inspired by this lively participation, the members of the Department of German designed a brochure presenting a selection of the photographs and detailing institutions for German in Malta. Members of different entities, such as the German-Maltese Circle, the Junior College and Secondary Schools, contributed short texts giving information on possibilities of learning and studying German in Malta, applying for scholarships for language courses and studying abroad. The publication of this brochure was made possible through the support of the EU Commission Representation in Malta, Playmobil and Hotset.
The broad interest in and support for this initiative makes it clear that there is a large variety of Maltese-German connections, and that there is a growing interest in the German language, as one of the most widely spoken languages in the EU.
The exhibition can be viewed until Friday, 31 May at the foyer of Sir Temi Zammit Hall at the University of Malta, Msida Campus. Afterwards it will move to the German-Maltese Circle in Valletta.
Awarding of first prize to Luke Scicluna by H.E. Dr Hubert Ziegler, German Ambassador to Malta. On the left Arthur Ciantar, president of the German-Maltese Circle.
Group picture with the winners of the prizes 1-4, H.E.s DDr Petra Schneebauer, Austrian Ambassador to Malta, and Dr Hubert Ziegler, German Ambassador to Malta, as well as Alfred Scalpello, Lecturer at Junior College and the University of Malta, Prof. Mario Vassallo, Head of Department of German, Dr Ralf Heimrath, DAAD-Lecturer at the University of Malta, Arthur Ciantar, President of the German-Maltese Circle, Dr Albert Friggieri, Senior Lecturer at the Department of German and representative of ProMinent, who sponsored the first prize, and members of the Department of German, which organised the competition 'Spot German in Malta'.
The photos were taken by Robert Sultana.
27 May 2013
19 June 2013