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Opening of Academic Year 2012-2013
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Theme: Dream a Useful Dream... Wake Up!... Strive to Achieve it

Rector's Speech at the Opening Ceremony [PDF]

The doors to University of Malta academic year 2012-2013 were opened today in a ceremony at Sir Temi Zammit Hall. Rector, Professor Juanito Camilleri, and Mr Mario Cachia, President of the Kunsill Studenti Universitarji KSU, welcomed freshers and delivered the traditional speeches. This was followed by the Opening of Freshers’ Week on Atriju Vassalli. The Inauguration Mass followed, celebrated by Fr Michael Bugeja, University Chaplain. The theme for the new academic year is: Dream a Useful Dream... Wake Up!... Strive to Achieve it.

Rector opened his address by emphasizing the significance of having a dream that would turn our vision to action towards achieving a better country and a better world. He invited students to take their commitments seriously as from their very first day of University life. He said it was today’s students who would continue building Malta’s unique identity and good reputation which in turn would lead to a sound economic and social environment for the Maltese.

Professor Camilleri reminded students of the country’s substantial financial investment in them.  He said the University needed even larger and sustained financial and human capital investment because it was its research and innovation that would continue to create employment, also in areas that were still being discovered. He said this came with a huge responsibility to ensure that every euro was well spent, resulting in a direct or an indirect enhancement of the standard of living for all the nation. The Rector appealed to Goverment, the Social Partners, Industry and all the Maltese to invest much more in University, saying he believed that an excellent tertiary education, research and innovation were needed to face global economic crises and to preserve our country’s economy and sustainability.

Addressing international students, Professor Camilleri said that the University could not aspire to achieve its goals without the international dimension these students brought. He referred to the growth the University was experiencing, mentioning the  new construction and development sites around campus. These include the new IT Services Centre, the refurbishement of the Library, the extensions of the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy, the Faculty of Laws and the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences and the facilities to host the Institute of Tourism, Travel and Culture and the Department of Criminology, the Biomedical Sciences building, as well as the near completion of the Faculty of ICT. The enhanced and upgraded facilities, funded through the ERDF and government investment, were proving instrumental for strong research collaboration with industry, the Rector said. He added that since his tenure, the fourteenth faculty, the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, was being launched, following the  recent setting up of the Faculties of ICT, Health Sciences, and Media and Knowlege Sciences. The University also launched the School of Performing Arts, while the Mediterranean Institute has been recast to a research-focused institute. The European Documentation and Research Centre has been restructured as the Institute for European Studies. Moreover, the appointment of a Pro Rector for Gozo has reaffirmed the commitment to extend academic services to Gozo. Professor Camilleri also said that in a bid to extend its community outreach and to stimulate a larger enrolment of students from the inner harbour area, the University was setting up the Cottonera Resource Centre within the Santa Margerita College.

Professor Camilleri said that prospective projects which require a capital investment of circa €240 million over the next decade have been identified. He emphazised that new ways of financing the University needed to be implemented which are reflective of cost-base, activity and outputs and which are conducive to long term planning.

Professor Camilleri concluded his speech by auguring that with the support and goodwill of all stakeholders, the University will continue to strive to realise our dreams in Malta’s best interest. ‘Recession or otherwise,’ he said, ‘the investment plan required now to secure the survival of this University into the future should not daunt us. It is imperative that the rhythm of investment and rate of growth secured in the past six years continues throughout the next six years and beyond. This is our 2020 vision – this is Malta’s future!’

KSU (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji) President, Mario Cachia, said that the University will be providing students with great prospects. ‘You are going to have the opportunity to excel in all that you do, the chance to be active and not passive, the opportunity to mature, and to grow into what you will eventually become,’ he said. ‘This place moulds you, and turns you into a better person than you were, and a person who is able to identify what is good for himself or herself and for the society in which she or he lives,’ he added.

During the Inauguration Mass, University Chaplain Fr Michael Bugeja pointed out that, it is knowledge that informs and forms not only our intellect but also and much more our being.

'As we look ahead we are called to ask ourselves what Christ asked his own disciples: Who do you say that I am? Who is He to us today in a world that is ever changing and so opinionated? Do we go ahead basing life on opinions or do we need to grow in a founded reality to be able to form and pronounce our opinions? We are given the choice to be free and free spoken however knowledge has always been part of this inner freedom we are offered. It is this intimate knowledge of who Christ is that helps us on our faith journey. Christ who came so that we might have life and life to the full. It is when we are ready to give our life over to Him that we can truly be free. Freedom in Christ is ultimately obedience to doing His will. If anyone wants to follow me then he must take up his cross. The cross that ultimately set us free from all slavery,’ Fr Michael said.


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