Dr Joseph A. Cannataci, head of the Law and Information Technology Research Unit at the University of Malta, was recently appointed Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French Republic.

French Ambassador Patrick Chrismant presented the insignia to Dr Cannataci during a reception held at the ambassador's official residence in Zebbug.

The Ordre de Palmes Acadmiques is one of the oldest existing French honours, originally instituted by Napoleon in 1808 and utilised since to honour academics who have made an outstanding contribution to their field.

The ambassador cited Dr. Cannataci's pioneering role in the development of technology law and especially privacy law as one of the main reasons for his being made the recipient of such an honour. In his speech, Mr Chrismant traced Dr Cannataci's career over the past 20 years since his appointment as project director at the Norwegian Research Centre for Computers and Law in 1986 to his founding the Law and Information Technology Research Unit at the University of Malta in 1988.

He cited Dr Cannataci's chairmanship of several European groups, including the Council of Europe's Medialex Committee and the Committee of Experts on Data Protection. Mr Chrismant lauded the aptitude for inter-disciplinarity and multi-disciplinarity displayed by Dr Cannataci on many occasions and notably in first marrying law and technology and later playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Malta Centre for Restoration in 1999.

The French Ambassador noted that Dr Cannataci's scholarship is reflected in his numerous publications both in the field of technology law and also in conservation of cultural heritage.

In thanking Mr Chrismant, Dr Cannataci quoted French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery who spoke of the greatness of one's work lying in the ability to unite people. Dr Cannataci said that he would not have been able to achieve so much had he not discovered the importance of building teams who together could achieve so much more than a solitary individual. The honour he was receiving therefore belonged to his colleagues over the past 20 years as much as to him and he took the occasion to thank them, especially those who were present.

While congratulating Mr Chrismant for his mastery of several languages, including Maltese, Dr Cannataci added that he was surprised but naturally pleased to be singled out to be the recipient of such a prestigious honour. It was especially gratifying to be the recipient of an honour bestowed by France, a country which he had first come to know intimately for work reasons but which later seduced him with its history, culture, landscapes, cuisine, wine and people.

Among the distinguished guests present were President Emeritus Dr Ugo Misud Bonnici and his wife Gemma, Mrs Vincienne Galea, wife of Education Minister Louis Galea, and several colleagues from the University of Malta and the Malta Centre for Restoration.

ACI Malta celebrates 10th anniversary

ACI Malta, the Financial Markets Association, recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a concert of chamber music at Palazzo Parisio, Naxxar.

The concert, which featured Nadia R. DeBono, violin, Davinia Galea, piano, Simon Abdilla Joslin, violoncello, and Mario Frendo, viola, was attended by representatives of all the banking and financial institutions which support ACI, past members of the ACI committee and guests. The concert, which included works by Piazzolla, Mozart, Schumann and Shostakovich, was followed by a reception.

ACI Malta was established on June 14, 1995, on the initiative of the Central Bank of Malta and was accepted as a member of ACI International in January 1998, The association's main objective is to be regarded within the business community, media and financial services industry as the leading association representing the interests of the international financial markets, and to actively promote the educational and professional interests of the markets and the industry.

ACI Malta now has more than 130 members and associates and apart from various training programmes, also encourages those working in foreign exchange and money markets to study for the internationally recognised ACI certificate and the ACI diploma.

ACI Malta chairman Saviour Briffa said: "ACI is a worldwide organisation with some 15,000 members based in 64 countries and over the past decade the local association has accomplished a great deal, especially in providing information and educational opportunities to its members. It was therefore fitting that a special event be organised to celebrate our achievements and to thank all those who have played a significant role in the association's development."

ACI Malta is sponsored by the leading banking and financial institutions in Malta, whose annual contribution actively supports and helps promote professional standards in foreign exchange and money market dealings. Its sponsors are APS Bank Ltd, Association of Licensed Financial Institutions, Bank of Valletta plc, BAWAG Malta Bank Ltd, Central Bank of Malta, First International Merchant Bank plc, HSBC Bank Malta plc, Lombard Bank Malta plc, and Volksbank Malta Ltd.

Couple rank high in Polish wheelchair dancing competition

Steven Fenech and Mandy Ghio recently returned from Warsaw, where they participated in the Polish Open Latin American Wheelchair Dancesport Championships, which is recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The couple not only reached the finals but came fifth, after very tough early rounds against top international couples. Pippa Roberts, president of the MWDA, was one of the panel of international adjudicators in Poland. She is also a judge in standard and Latin American competitions.

Malta is being recognised as one of the leading countries in wheelchair dancing, and Steve and Mandy are hoping to gain more experience in the competition field, which is sadly lacking in Malta, by representing the island in as many international competitions as they can.

Mandy and Steve have already been invited to other IPC international championships. Since taking part in foreign competitions involves high costs, the couple is looking for sponsors, who can contact the Malta Wheelchair Dancesport Association (MWDA). Meanwhile, the couple would like to thank all sponsors who support wheelchair dancing and therefore allow them to showcase local talent abroad.

Wheelchair dancing lessons are held free of charge at the Ir-Razzett tal-Hbiberija every Wednesday morning, and at St Theresa Junior Lyceum, Mriehel every Friday evening. The MWDA would like to thank both for their continuous support. For further information and to see photos of all the dancers visit www.maltawda.com

HSBC customer wins trip to Paris

Allan Grech of Naxxar has won a trip for two persons to Paris.

This prize is part of HSBC's ongoing promotion which, among other current initiatives, is offering all new HSBC customers of Naxxar branch the opportunity to take part in lotteries to win a holiday in Paris.

Another trip for two persons to Paris will be drawn from among all new customers of HSBC's Naxxar branch on May 28.

HSBC's head of branch banking, Raymond Briffa, said: "HSBC opened a new branch in this locality to provide better access and more convenient service to banking facilities for the residents of this large town and the localities in the vicinity. Existing HSBC customers who live and work in the Naxxar area have already begun to make full use of the services offered at the branch.

"This development, however, is also a great opportunity for other residents of the Naxxar area to see which of HSBC's vast range of products may suit their personal financial needs. During this initial period, new customers also have the opportunity, like Mr Grech, to win a trip to Paris."

HSBC's Naxxar branch was officially opened on April 11, bringing the total number of HSBC branches and agencies in Malta and Gozo to 38.

Miss Maltese Beauty pageant

This year's Miss Maltese beauty pageant will be at the Ramla Bay Garden on July 23, during a gala dinner, under the organisation of Modelle International, directed by Sue Rossi. Modelle International will be also celebrating its 20th anniversary.

For the first time this year, Modelle International will be awarding the title Mr Maltese Beauty. "We are giving handsome men who work in the modelling industry the opportunity to be on stage with female models," Ms Rossi said.

Part of this year's show will be a spectacular event featuring several past winners and participants.

Charles Saliba will again compère this year's final night. Robert Camilleri of Fotoclassic will be responsible for photography.

In a few months' time, Modelle International will be inaugurating a new studio, well-equipped with facilities for young talented males and females who would like to enter the modelling field.

Applications are now open to female and male models to participate in the Mr and Miss Maltese Beauty.

Teen of the Maltese Islands

Vogue Modelling Agency recently organised the Teen of the Maltese Islands pageant. A total of 20 girls took part, modelling casual and evening wear of their own choice.

Tiziana Mifsud, 20, of Ghaxaq, was chosen to represent Malta at the international finals of Teen Model of the World in Germany next August. Nakita Vassallo was first runner-up, followed by Ameris Decelis.

Other titles were: Cathleen Bugeja as Miss Photogenic; Ameris Decelis who won the Internet Web Award; Teen Public Opinion awarded to Tiziana Mifsud; Stephanie Fenech as the Most Beautiful Face; Muriel Grech for the Most Beautiful Hair; Stephanie Sant as the Most Promising Model; Anastasia Melthchina as Best Catwalk Model; and Nakita Vassallo as Miss Personality.

Fashion shows were by Original Marines, Tammy and La Poupée Boutique. The hair show was by Joseph of Hairoscope, who was also the official hairstylist of the event. Make-up was by Sasha's using Revlon products. The main sponsors were Alexandra Palace Hotel, Paul Target Ltd, www.infashionmalta.com, and Capital Radio.

Miss Malta turns 18

Miss Malta, Lindsey Ann Galea, of Swieqi, celebrated her 18th birthday at a party organised by her parents, Ronnie and Marthese Galea, at their Swieqi residence yesterday week. The party was well-attended by relatives and many of Lindsey's friends.

A special billboard-sized photo of Lindsey's crowning at the Miss Malta Contest organised last November, was prominently displayed in the large main sitting/dining area.

The highlight of the evening came when Lindsey cut her birthday cake to the cheers of her parents, family members and friends.

New president for MICSA

Alfred Falzon, FCCA, CPAA, FIA, CSA, is the new president of the Malta Institute of Certified Secretaries and Administrators. He succeeds George Muscat, FCIS, CPAA, CSA, who has resigned on health grounds.

Mr Falzon, 50, who is a partner with HLB Falzon and Falzon of Floriana, has been a member of the institute since its foundation in 1974.

The aim of the institute is to promote the profession of secretaries and administrators. Holders of the qualification Certified Secretary and Administrator (CSA) occupy mainly positions as directors, managers and chief executives. Membership of the institute is open to holders of degree level qualification related to management, law, administration and accountancy.

Further information about the institute and application forms for membership may be obtained from the secretary, Helen Meli Attard, c/o R.S. Attard & Co - Moore Stephens Malta, at 46, Timber Wharf, Marsa, HMR 12 (tel. 2123-3664; e-mail hmeliatt@keyworld.net).

People

Dr Tanya Sammut-Bonnici was recently awarded the title of Associate Fellow of the Marketing and Strategy Group at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK.

The business school is one of the most highly-regarded centres of research excellence and has consistently achieved a five-star research rating by the UK's Re-search Assessment Exercise. It has an annual turnover of over £25 million, 85 per cent of which is earned income from research and teaching.

The award of the Warwick title is connected to Dr Sammut-Bonnici's research on competition in information communications technology (ICT).

Her research looks at how telecommunications corporations compete in technological environments of low strategic differentiation.

She has published a series of book contributions and academic articles on the preservation of the competitive environment, complex adaptive behaviour, isomorphic strategies, and Darwinian selection in the commercial environment.

She is currently in the lead team of two research project in the UK and the USA respectively.

Dr Sammut-Bonnici has been a regular visiting lecturer on Warwick's M.Sc. in Management and Engineering, and has taught on international MBA and Executive programmes. She is a full-time lecturer at the University of Malta and focuses on the teaching of marketing strategy.

Her academic profile is complemented with sound commercial experience. Past professional posts include marketing manager at Vodafone and Melita Cable, and business development manager at APS Bank.

She has acted as consultant to international companies including Royal & Sun Alliance and Smith Kleine Beecham.

She has also worked as researcher at the European Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, France, on the Commission for Science and Technology and her documents have been tabled for parliamentary discussion.

Andrew Azzopardi has just completed his Doctorate in Inclusive Education and Disability Studies at the University of Sheffield. 

His thesis, Reading Stories of Inclusion: Engaging with Different Perspectives Towards an Agenda for Inclusion, was examined by Dr Toby Brandon from the University of Northumbria and Dr Michelle Moore from the University of Sheffield. Dr Azzopardi's supervisor was Dr Dan Goodley from the University of Sheffield. 

The thesis was considered as "fluid, well-written and reflective". It explored and illustrated different perspectives towards an agenda for inclusion within the specific context of Malta. The reflections of people who experience exclusion remain under-represented even from literature on their lives. 

Research that places at the centre of its analyses what excluded people have to say is undoubtedly of great significance in terms of contribution to new knowledge.

The researcher's "multi-role" approach to the enquiry enabled many interesting perspectives to illuminate the research. The thesis demonstrated how narrative research could foster insights that help advance an agenda for inclusion.

Prior to his doctorate, Dr Azzopardi graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Master's in Inclusive Education and Disability Politics following a Bachelor in Education and a Diploma in Social Work from the University of Malta. 

He had published papers in journals of disability studies - Disability and Society and The International Journal of Inclusive Education - and reviewed books for the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

He has also delivered academic papers at the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds and in a number of conferences both locally and abroad.

24th Charter Night of Ladies' Circle

April 9 marked the 24th Charter Anniversary of Ladies' Circle (Malta). As is customary, the club held its annual general meeting in the morning and a gala dinner in the evening. During the gala dinner the incoming president launched her motto and for the first time this was also accompanied by a logo. The club's motto for the year is: "Reach Out. . . I'll be There".

Ladies' Circle (Malta) is made up of three clubs and is an associate member of Ladies' Circle International. The latter club evolved in 1930 when wives of Round Table members in England founded the first Circle. Today Ladies' Circle International is present in 32 countries. The raison d'etre behind Ladies' Circle is that of 'Friendship and Service'.

Ladies' Circle (Malta) has helped various charities throughout the years including: Caritas Drug Awareness, Dyslexia Association, Id-Dar tal-Providenza, San Blas drug rehabilitation centre, Jeanne Antide Home and many others. The club continues to strive to help whenever requests come its way. It collects funds through various activities it organises and through donations received from generous benefactors.

The President and Mrs Fenech Adami's engagements - May 2-8

Tomorrow
10 a.m. The President receives Central Bank governor Michael Bonello at the Palace, Valletta.
11.30 The President receives Dr Fabio Berardi, Secretary of State of Foreign and Political Affairs and Economic Planning of San Marino, on a courtesy call.
7.30 p.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami attend a reception hosted by the commanding officer and officers of HMAS Anzac at Pinto Wharf, Valletta.

Tuesday
10 a.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami attend Mass on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Giovanna Zammit at St Nazareth Hall, Ghaxaq.

Wednesday
10.30 a.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami visit San Miguel Special School in St Andrews.
7.30 p.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami host a recital by tenor Joseph Aquilina, harpist Cecilia Sultana de Maria and pianist Simone Attard at San Anton Palace.

Thursday
9.15 a.m. The President receives the Prime Minster at the Palace, Valletta.
8 p.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami attend a reception hosted by the Russian Ambassador and Mrs Vlasova on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Victory in World War II at their residence in Kappara.

Friday
Noon The President receives a courtesy call by a group of rectors and vice-rectors from European universities of the Santander Group at the Palace, Valletta.

Saturday
6.30 p.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami attend a concelebrated Mass by the Archbishop on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of St Paul's Bay parish at Our Lady of Sorrows parish church.

Sunday
9 a.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami pay an official visit to Rabat.
6 p.m. The President and Mrs Fenech Adami attend solemn Mass on the occasion of the establishment of St Mary's church in Birkirkara as a parish.

For your diary

A missionary bazaar is being held at Kings in Tower Road, Sliema, opposite Sliema Wanderer's Football Club, from 9.30 a.m.

The open weekend at Villa Chelsea, 33, Old Church Street, Birkirkara, closes today at 7 p.m. Items on sale include books, toiletries and perfumes, kitchen-ware, clothes, detergents, food and beverages, plants and compost, and indoor decorations.

A Mother's Day bazaar in aid of the Malta Hospice Movement is being held at the Hospice premises, 39, Good Shepherd Avenue, Balzan, from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Malta Historical Society is organising a lecture entitled "The Medical History of Malta", by Professor Roger Ellul Micallef, at the Castellania (Ministry of Health), in Merchants Street, on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

A tree and plant fair is being organised on the occasion of Mother's Day at the Juventutis Domus Zejtun, 63, St Gregory Street, Zejtun, from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A card party in aid of the Little Sisters of the Poor will be held at the Skyroom Preluna Hotel on Wednesday at 10 a.m. For bookings phone Blanche Martin early on 2133-0387.

Ward u Zghar is organising a discussion at the Centru Hidma Socjali, St Venera, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. A lunch on Mother's Day is being organised at Mtarfa. For bookings phone 9947-2868.

Scoops Fair 2005 is being held in Old Theatre Street, Valletta, on Friday from 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. During the fair students who participated in this year's Scoops Project will be selling their products.

Lions Club Mdina is organising a concert featuring harpist Cecilia Sultana De Maria and tenor Joseph Aquilina who will be accompanied by pianist Simone Attard, at Sala Isouard, Manoel Theatre, on Friday. Tickets are available from Manoel Theatre. All proceeds are in aid of the Red Cross. For more details contact Lion M. Abela on 2137-0230 or Lion B. Calleja on 2137-4979.

Caritas Co-operators are holding a day at the New Dolmen Hotel, Qawra, on May 11. There will be coffee at 10.30 a.m., a talk by professional beauty consultant Olga Kerr at 11, Mass at noon and lunch at 1 p.m.

For more information and bookings contact Marilouise Mifsud on 2133-0471, Josephine Farrugia on 2132-0016, Mary Darmanin Demajo on 2131-3486 or Phyllis Ciappara on 2134-2910.

The Rehabilitation Centre for the Physically Handicapped is organising a coffee morning/tombola at Attard parish hall on May 12 at 9.30 a.m. Tickets, at Lm1.50 each, can be obtained form the Corradino Centre on 2169-3863 or 2143-6421.

The Malta Floral Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a dinner at Villa Arrigo on May 13, at 8 for 8.30 p.m. Members, their family and friends are most welcome. Bookings can be made by phoning Lena Franks on 2143-7006 or Carmen Pace on 2148-7212 by May 9.

The Malta branch of the International Al Johnson Society is holding a buffet to mark the anniversary of the singer's birth. It will be held in a Sliema hotel on May 15 at 12.15 p.m. For more information phone 2189-6936.

A walk for a child who can't

The annual marathon walk in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza in Siggiewi will be held this next Sunday. The route has been shortened to attract more partici-pants. The marathon starts from St Catherine's church, Zurrieq, at 3.30 p.m.

In the afternoon, a bazaar is also being held at Id-Dar tal-Providenza from 3 to 6 p.m. Snacks and refreshments will be available from the home's canteen.

At 5 p.m., a variety show featuring singers, dancers and well known radio and TV personalities will be held at the main hall.

Cinema event by Equal Partners Foundation

Equal Partners Foundation is organising a cinema event for secondary school children. Malta's leading cinema's will be showing the film Inside I'm Dancing for two whole weeks, starting from tomorrow till May 13.

Based on the story by Christian O'Reilly, the film gives us a close-up of the lives of two youngsters, residents at Carrigmore Home for the Disabled, who courageously choose to take the difficult road towards independent living.

This initiative's objectives are to organise a fund-raising activity, where students will be given the chance to contribute to the foundation's mission to sustain the support programmes of children with disability, and to provide secondary school children with an enjoyable outing to the cinema.

The event will be followed up with a lesson plan for teachers interested in dealing with the themes of diversity, inclusion and self-determination using examples from the film.

Apart from organising a fund-raising activity, this event is also an educational opportunity for the children where the foundation aims to promote its philosophy of celebrating diversity and inclusion in the community.

Equal Partners Foundation depends entirely on the fees of the services paid by its members and on fund-raising. The foundation is currently helping over 150 member families who receive support in schools, homes or wherever it is needed.

This activity is being organised in collaboration with KRS Film Distributors Ltd and local cinemas. For further information call 2125-0400.

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