The first University of the Third Age (U3A), or as we call it in our native tongue, L'Universita' tat-Tielet Eta' (U3E), was launched in Valletta on 23 January 1993. The Maltese U3A was founded under the auspices of the University of Malta. Although this means that the Maltese U3A is more in accordance with the French U3A model than the British one, it is noteworthy that the range of socio-cultural activities organised by the U3A's Association is central to the institution's ethos as reflected in the institution's mission statement:
The Maltese U3A trusts that as long as one lives, one feels a natural yearning to know more, to explore and to understand. The University of the Third Age is making this possible for everyone. The U3A encourages creativity and will propose several projects for this purpose. The U3A also supports the organisation of special interest groups for pursuing hobbies or other interests.
The objectives of the Maltese U3A are different from those of educational institutions intended to prepare a young person for life and work or provide adult workers with a new set of skills that are required by the occupational market. The key endeavour of the U3A in Malta is knowledge and learning for its own sake - as an end in itself rather than as a means to improving one's academic credentials. There are no admission requirements and the U3A is open to everyone above the age of sixty, irrespective of any educational or academic qualifications.
The Maltese U3A operates from seven centres, six in Malta and one in Gozo.