CHOGM aims to foster ‘global value through culture’

Maltese artists of various disciplines will be performing in various locations across the globe thanks to a CHOGM initiative

Zfin Malta will be performing in India as part of a CHOGM initiative. Photo by Emma Tranter
Zfin Malta will be performing in India as part of a CHOGM initiative. Photo by Emma Tranter

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) External Culture Programme was launched this afternoon at an event organised in conjunction with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the CHOGM Taskforce, and Arts Council Malta.

CHOGM takes place in Malta in November with 53 world leaders attending. During the press conference announcing CHOGM’s cultural arm, speakers emphasised how the arts play an important part in facilitating dialogue between the various Commonwealth countries.

Among the artists lined up for the Culture Programme are Malta’s national dance company, Zfin Malta, who will perform to audiences in India and Malaysia. Maltese folk tales will travel to South Africa, where Ruben Zahra will provide musical accompaniment to Hrejjef Maltin. Cosmos Wind Ensemble will play in Australia while jazz musicians will travel to Canada. Darrin Zammit Lupi’s Islelanders photography exhibition will travel to Australia while the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble will perform in London.

Emphasising that the initiative will aim to foster “global value through culture”, Minister for Foreign Affairs George Vella said that “The Commonwealth is a multinational reality, comprising of 53 countries from all over the world. Maybe this explains why this organisation emphasises multiculturalism as an excellent tool which enhances wealth, and safeguards peace amongst nations,” Vella said, adding that Malta is a perfect example of how fostering networks with other countries has helped us - “otherwise a small island cut off from the rest of the world” – to combat insularity.

Vella also added that the decision to host CHOGM for a second time (Malta first hosted the Meeting in 2005) came after a meeting he attended in Sri Lanka with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

“During the discussions that took place at the meeting, the Prime Minister and I came to a decision to host the CHOGM once again because, in all honesty, we saw the structure being compromised over the years. So in an attempt to restore it to its former glory, we offered for it to be held in Malta once again - a country in which no vested interests and agendas can get in the way of the true purpose of this Meeting.”

Albert Marshall, Chairman of Arts Council Malta, said that, “Designed by Arts Council Malta, the CHOGM taskforce and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the programme emerged from a collaborative process that should be celebrated in its own right. Not only were lasting relationships created which will survive even after the event - but this creative dialogue between entities, artists and audiences should also serve as a model for the future.”

CHOGM Taskforce Artistic Director Ray Calleja said that, “the Commonwealth platform has provided entities and artists with the opportunity to collaborate within the CHOGM Malta 2015 framework and produce a Maltese culture-oriented initiative to export purposes. Our historical and social context, gives the external culture programme an advantage when conceptualised from a global value perspective.”

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