Historian Henry Frendo has donated a significant number of historical documents and other records related to his research into the history of Malta to the National Archives. 

The records include notes, interviews, research papers, photos and audio recordings mainly related to the history of Malta during the last 200 hundred years.

Frendo, a professor of Modern History at the University of Malta, was thanked for the donation by National Archivist Charles Farrugia at a ceremony held on Wednesday.

“This donation will enrich the National Archives and will address some areas where our holdings are currently silent.  The next step will be the cataloguing of this collection so that it will be available to our researchers,” Farrugia said.

The ceremony, held at the archives’ premises in Rabat, was presided by Culture Minister Owen Bonnici.

Frendo first graduated from the University of Malta in 1970. As a student, he was involved in several youth and student groups and also served as editor of Il-Ħajja, a daily Maltese newspaper. During this period he researched and published about Manwel Dimech, a controversial Maltese social reformer, then largely forgotten.

He graduated with a Master's in History from the University of Malta in 1973, with a thesis on the language-culture clash in 19th – 20th century Malta. That same year he became a resident at University College at the University of Oxford, receiving his Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History in 1976. His doctoral thesis focused on the formation of political parties in Malta under British rule and was later published in his 1979 book Party Politics in a Fortress Colony.

National Archivist Charles Farrugia thanked Frendo for the donation. Photo: Jonathan BorgNational Archivist Charles Farrugia thanked Frendo for the donation. Photo: Jonathan Borg

He returned to Malta and was appointed lecturer in history, but he left Malta in 1978, taking up a position at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

He would go on to serve in various UNHCR posts in Zimbabwe, Egypt and Papua New Guinea before moving to Australia to lecture at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Returning to Malta in 1988, he was appointed Associate Professor of Modern History. In 1989 Frendo accepted a Fellowship with the University of Salzburg. In 1992 he became a full-ranked Professor in Modern History at the University of Malta. In this same year, Frendo also appeared as a guest professor with the University of Augsburg in Germany.

Frendo also served as mayor of Attard between 1994 and 2001.

In 1996 he was elected a Life Member of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge.

In the summer of 2000 Frendo received a Fulbright Scholarship to lecture at Loyal University in New Orleans (USA). In 2001 he was appointed Chairman of the Refugee Appeals Board in Malta. In 2002 he became a visiting professor at Indiana State University (USA).

Since 2005 he has been involved with the Centre of European Policy Studies five-year Challenge programme on ‘Freedom and Security’. In 2006 Frendo was appointed guest professor at the University of Enna (Italy) where he lectured in contemporary History and Politics of the Mediterranean.

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