During the week 6 - 13 May, Dr Norbert Bugeja visited Palestine and delivered lectures at the University of Birzeit and the University of Bethlehem. Dr Bugeja was a guest of the Representative Office of the Republic of Malta in Ramallah, Palestine, within the framework of the Cultural Diplomacy Fund of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion in Malta.
In his lectures, which carried the theme of ‘Journeys in Writing: Malta, Palestine and Literatures In-Between’, Dr Bugeja discussed some of the political and aesthetic affinities between the poetry of Malta in the post-Independence period and that of Palestine during the same moment and in later years. The lectures offered a comparative reflection on the writing of Mario Azzopardi, Daniel Massa, VIctor Fenech, Oliver Friggieri and others, exploring common motifs with the output of Mourid Barghouti, Mahmoud Darwish, Leila Alloush, Fadwa Tuqan, Raja Shehadeh and other Palestinian authors and poets.
During his visit, Dr Bugeja also moderated a literary symposium under the auspices of the prominent ‘The Educational Bookshop’ in East Jerusalem, held at the French Cultural Centre in East Jerusalem. Dr Bugeja interviewed distinguished Palestinian-Maltese novelist Walid Nabhan and foremost Maltese novelist Immanuel Mifsud, both guests of by invitation of the Representative Office of the Republic of Malta in Ramallah, Palestine, to an audience from the East Jerusalemite public and diplomats accredited to Palestine.
While in Palestine, Dr Bugeja was also present at the 11th Palestine International Book Fair in Ramallah, hosted by the Ministry of Culture of Palestine under the current headship of the Palestinian Minister of Culture, H.E. Dr Ehab Bseiso. During the last day of his visit, Dr Bugeja also had the opportunity to deliver an informal presentation on Maltese-Palestinian affinities to students of the Arab-American University.
During their stay, Dr Bugeja, Dr Mifsud and Mr Nabhan were accompanied by the Representative of the Republic of Malta in Ramallah, Palestine, Mr Reuben Gauci and his Palestinian assistant, Mr Fareed Eluri.
Dr Norbert Bugeja is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies at the Mediterranean Institute.