Republic Day 2018 | Honours and Awards

During the Investiture Ceremony, twelve members were appointed to The National Order of Merit, two of whom received the award on an honorary basis and another one was awarded posthumously; ten other individuals were awarded the Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika, one of which was awarded on an honorary basis


• Tonio Borg

Tonio Borg was a Member of the Maltese Parliament for twenty years (between 1992 and 2012). Borg was Leader of the House of Representatives (2004-2012), Minister for Home Affairs (1995-1996 and 1998-2008), Minister for Justice (2003-2008) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (2008-2012). Between 2003 and 2012, Borg was also Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party, and in 2012 he was appointed European Commissioner for Health, a role which he filled up to 2014.

Between 1990 and 1995, Tonio Borg was also a member of the Council of Europe’s Committee on the Prevention of Torture. Borg practiced as a lawyer between 1980 and 1995 and between 1996 and 1998, specialising in the field of human rights.

He currently lectures on Public Law at the University of Malta.



• John Dalli

Born in 1946, John Dalli is mostly known for his political activism. After his father’s demise, John Dalli followed in his footsteps and pursued a political career, and also took up his father’s work as a contractor. Amongst the various building projects, Dalli took over the finishing of the GWU building in Valletta as well as the Rinella water tank, which even nowadays is still an important asset for the film industry in Malta.

Dalli began his political career in the Labour Youth Committee, where he represented youth in the Labour Party Executive. He contested the General Elections for the first time in 1971, where he was elected as the youngest Member of Parliament. He was re-elected in the subsequent elections held in 1976, 1981, and 1992.
During his tenure in Parliament, Dalli was involved in talks held with the English Government in Rome and London regarding the military base and was also present during the signing of this agreement. At the end of the seventies, he was the Head of Delegation during a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference held in Jamaica. He was also a member of Maltese delegations abroad.

John Dalli was the first entrepreneur who introduced tower cranes and concrete pumps in Malta, and also one of the first who started using the Concrete Batching Plant.


Adrian Vassallo

Adrian Vassallo was born and raised in Msida. He was educated at Mater Boni Consigli School in Paola, St Aloysius College, the Junior College, and subsequently at the University of Malta, from where he graduated as a doctor in 1979. Vassallo worked in Maltese hospitals, and went on to give his services in the primary healthcare sector.

In 1992, Vassallo contested the General Elections for the first time under the Malta Labour Party. He was elected from the 9th District in 1996, and was re-elected in every subsequent General Election up to the year 2008. Vassallo retired from politics in the year 2013. Since 1991 he has worked as a family doctor and also as Medical Director for various sports organisations in the localities of the 9th district. During his tenure as Member of Parliament, his work focused mainly on social affairs and issues concerning the family.


Honorary Officers

• Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele di Villabianca

Emmanuele di Villabianca, Baron of Culcasi and born in Palermo, Italy, is a university professor, Supreme Court Lawyer, economist, banker, expert in financial, tax and insurance issues, and author of various publications.

Over the course of his professional career he worked at the Link University of Malta as Professor of Tax Law and Comparative Tax Law (1998 – 2001) and Professor of Public Finance (2002 – 2004). He was also active in Healthcare, occupying the position of Vice-Chairman of the Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation Malta, in the Biomedical Sciences Building within the University of Malta.

This foundation, which was named after him, was set up in 2017 in close collaboration with the President’s Trust and the University of Malta. The Baron is financing cancer research through this foundation, and strives relentlessly to make Malta a sustainable cancer research hub in the Mediterranean Region.


• Michio Endo

Michio Endo was born in 1936 in Japan. Thanks to his constant work, Malta was put on the map for incoming Japanese tourists and English Language students. Endo was appointed representative of the Malta Tourism Authority for Malta in Japan in 1997.

He worked tirelessly in order to promote the Maltese Islands amongst the Japanese population. This was done mainly through tour packages, advertisements on Japanese newspapers, and the creation of the first Malta guide book in the Japanese language.

He also succeeded in generating several million euro worth of TV, radio, and print media exposure for the Maltese islands, as well as exclusive co-branding agreements with internationally renowned brands like Hello Kitty. Between 1984 and 1994 Michio Endo was also General Sales Agent of Air Malta.



Joan Abela

Joan Abela is a Senior Lecturer in Legal History and Methodology at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta. She currently also holds the post of Consultant Historian in the Rehabilitation of the Notarial Archives ERDF Project.

For more than 14 years, Abela was actively engaged as a volunteer, and spearheaded the rehabilitation process at the Notarial Archives by establishing the Notarial Archives Foundation. Over the years, she managed to create more awareness of Malta’s invaluable paper heritage, and worked tirelessly to attract funding from the private sector in order to kick-start the professional conservation of historical manuscripts, especially through a scheme called ‘Adopt a Notary’.

Joan’s vision for the Notarial Archives is to preserve them and make them accessible, as well as to set up an international centre of excellence in conservation and scientific research. Through her efforts, students have been sponsored by Government to follow specialised courses in book and paper conservation, and she has also managed to set up various innovative multi-disciplinary research projects which saw the collaboration of the Office of the Chief Notary to Government and the University of Malta.

Joan Abela is a member of the National Archives Board, the Bord Maniġerjali Arkivju Storiku Katidral, past member of the Heritage Advisory Committee within the Planning Authority, and past Secretary of the Malta Historical Society.


Michael John Bianchi

Michael J. Bianchi is an established entrepreneur, and has been involved in a range of diversified activities, including the introduction of mobile telephony and of the Internet to Malta.

Bianchi founded mobile telephony companies outside Malta, and in 1989 he was also the founder of one of Malta’s very first service providers in the financial services sector under the Malta International Business Authority and also the founder of one of Malta’s very first online gaming service providers in 2006.

In the 1980s, Michael also brought to Malta the first Aircraft Maintenance and Service Company and consequently led to the start of direct flights to Malta by Lufthansa and was also responsible for the introduction of low-cost airlines to Malta. He has been responsible for a multitude of investments and FDI in Malta and internationally, creating thousands of jobs.

Michael Bianchi is one of the founders of the President’s Trust, the Vodafone Foundation, and the Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation. He is currently the Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Austria, and has been instrumental in enhancing the good relationship that exists between Malta and Austria.


Paul Falzon Sant Manduca

Born in 1951 of Maltese descent, Paul Falzon Sant Manduca is a successful entrepreneur who has headed multiple companies throughout his career. He was educated at Harrow School and Hertford College Oxford, and from 1973 to 1988 was a well-known fund manager, managing a number of high-performing funds.

At the age of 38, he became the Executive Chairman of the renowned Touche Remnant, an investment trust management company. Falzon Sant Manduca was also appointed chairman of the Investment Trust Association - its youngest Chair ever - and also member of the Takeover Panel, which was later merged with the Henderson Global Investors Group in 1992.

In 1994, he was appointed founding CEO of Threadneedle Asset Management, and at the same time became a director of Threadneedle’s sister insurance companies Eagle Star and Allied Dunbar. In 1999 following the takeover of the businesses by Zurich Insurance, he was appointed Global CEO of Rothschild Asset

In 2010, he became Senior Independent at Prudential Group and was appointed Chairman in 2012. He has also been the Chairman of the City UK Advisory Council since 2016, and was appointed Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust plc (2015) and RateSetter (2017). Paul Falzon Sant Manduca oversees Prudential’s CSR activities, which involve giving some 25 million to charities globally.

Paul Falzon Sant Manduca was an advisor to the Government of Malta prior to EU entry, and promoted the Rothschild Bank of Valletta plc Joint Venture Scheme, when he was a Board member and Global CEO of Rothschild Asset Management.


Mgr. Joseph Farrugia

Mgr. Joseph Farrugia, born in Victoria, Gozo, was educated in state schools, and studied philosophy and theology at the Sacred Heart Seminary. In 1978, Mgr. Farrugia was ordained priest and continued his postgraduate studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Rome, where he obtained a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology and a Doctorate in Theology.

In 1983, he joined the academic staff of the Sacred Heart Seminary, and in 1988 he joined the Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta. He introduced a university evening course in Christian theology of Suffering, and was active at the University of the Third Age, both in Malta and Gozo.

In 1992, Mgr. Farrugia was involved in the setting up of the University Gozo Campus, where he gave the very first course in Mediterranean civilizations and religions. He also served as archpriest of St George’s Basilica in Victoria between 1998 and 2007.

Mgr. Farrugia has been deeply involved in the promotion of Gozo’s culture. He is the founder of the renowned Laudate Pueri Choir, and he also collaborated in the launching of the Victoria International Arts Festival. He co-founded the Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria that created the Il-Ħaġar Museum, the first interactive and state of the art museum in Gozo and has set up many monumental inscriptions honouring Gozitan events and eminent personalities.

Mgr. Farrugia is chaplain to the Victoria Scout Group and to the La Stella Philharmonic Society. Following an appeal for priests, he is currently working as vicar in four parishes, and also as replacement priest in another parish of the diocese of Arles and Aix-en-Provence, France. Mgr. Farrugia is also Prelate of Honour to His Holiness.


Albert Marshall

Born in Attard in 1947, Albert Marshall has distinguished himself as a theatre and television director, playwright, poet, and TV presenter in a career spanning over 50 years. His literary and theatrical career started during the 1960s. During this time, Marshall was one of the founding members of the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju.

After a two-year stint working and studying in London, in 1971, Marshall started working in Maltese electronic media until 1980 when he emigrated to Australia. In Melbourne, he spent 15 years working in Australian radio, theatre and television. He is the first Maltese national to direct at the Sydney Opera House, where he directed Mary Spiteri in Concert.

Marshall was also the first Maltese to direct at the Grant Street Theatre for the Victoria College of the Arts. During this period, he founded the Harmonic 65 Culture Club, which he used as a platform for the launching of various cultural projects for the Maltese-Australian community, including the promotion of the teaching of Maltese as ‘a language other than English’.

Marshall occupied the post of Chairman of the panel responsible for the setting and assessing of the Australian national examination in the Maltese Language. In Melbourne, Marshall also pursued his postgraduate studies in Communication at Victoria University.

On his return to Malta in 1996, Marshall was engaged by the University of Malta to lecture in Communication Studies and lead the Distance Learning Programme at the Radju tal-Università. He was appointed CEO of the Public Broadcasting Services Ltd (PBS) in 1997, and three years later he moved to Super One Radio and Television where he started working as consultant and eventually as CEO.

Marshall’s literary works have been extensively published in Australia, Canada and Malta. He is currently working on the publication of his complete poetry works and a collection of his works for the theatre.

Albert Marshall currently occupies the positions of Deputy Chairman of PBS Ltd and Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta.


• Clayton Micallef

Clayton Micallef was part of the Maltese Army 1st Regiment C special duties company. In 2004, due to an unfortunate accident, he suffered a Spinal Cord Injury which left him paralysed from the neck down, impeding him from moving his legs and arms, and requiring him to very complex mobility and care needs.

He required personal assistance 24/7, but this service was inexistent at the time and despite all setbacks, he persevered for the formation of such a care service. In 2010, a pilot project was funded to set off this type of aid, allowing Micallef to live in the comfort of his own home with personal aid. Micallef also helped in the production of fund raising events and TV programmes aimed at raising awareness on disability and social issues.

In 2012, he decided to further his studies and read for a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Since he was unable to attend lectures on campus regularly due to complex mobility issues, he started facing obstacles for the assistance of people with his needs. Consequently, he had several meetings with stakeholders for the creation of special facilities and, in 2013 he managed to obtain funding through the Education Department for the necessary infrastructure and audio recording of lectures.

In 2018, he finished his Degree in Psychology and applied for postgraduate studies with Aberdeen University in Scotland, currently following a Master’s Degree.


Charles Miceli

Charles Miceli was born in Żabbar in 1949. At 14 years of age, he left the Lyceum to start his apprenticeship with Union Press. During his twenty-five years working at the printing press, he worked on the reporting and production of the newspapers, and ended his career with an editorial job. Miceli was very fluent in writing, and regularly wrote columns on political and social issues in l-Orizzont and it-Torċa. He also wrote satiric and humorous pieces. He found his inspiration for life and for his work in books he read.

Miceli moved away from his journalistic career, despite the fact that he continued to write on the topics of drugs, prison, and poverty till the very end. Miceli’s aspiration was to live by helping others, and thus he spent two years working with the children at Saint Joseph Home in Gozo.

In February 1991, Miceli started working with Caritas, and helped people in different phases of drug rehabilitation until he retired in 2013. Nevertheless, he still continued to offer his assistance on a voluntary basis. For the last seven years, he founded and led the group Emotions Anonymous and Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar.

Charles Miceli worked hard to open Dar Papa Franġisku, and also led campaigns to raise the minimum wage and to regulate rent rates. Until his last breath and with his family’s support, Miceli strove to work for what he believed in.



Roderick Bovingdon

Roderick Bovingdon was born in 1942 in Attard. He moved with his family to Sydney in 1959, and was the first person ever to obtain a pass in Maltese Language Advanced Level through Oxford by correspondence.

He graduated from the universities of Sydney (Italian & Arabic; Health Counselling), New South Wales (six Nursing degrees & Administration Diploma), New England (Philosophy & English Literature) and Malta (Education 1981-82; Maltese & Arabic 1994-98).
In 1968, he founded the first School of Maltese Language outside of Malta and, together with the NSW Dept. of Education, the Maltese Community Council of NSW, the Maltese Cultural Association of NSW and a group of individuals selected by himself, the Maltese Language School of NSW was founded in 1999.

Bovingdon also co-founded Fairfield Melita Drama Company, the Għaqda Kittieba Maltija (Sydney), and the first Maltese literary journal in Australia, Ix-Xefaq. He was also a qualilfied broadcaster/journalist with the Special Broadcasting Service in Sydney. Amongst the numerous positions he occupied, he was appointed expert to the Council for Maltese Living Abroad; Director with the National Australian Accreditation of Translators & Interpreters and member of the Editorial Board with the Maltese Herald & Voice of Malta in Australia.

Roderick Bovingdon spent his entire adult life at the forefront of the promotion of the Maltese language and culture. He was also instrumental in the initiation of a popular Maltese song festival in Australia (1974).


Arthur Gruppetta

Arthur Gruppetta was born in Valletta in 1944. He started working as a teacher, before taking over the running of Merlin Library and the publishing house Merlin Publishers.

Gruppetta dedicated his life to books, and in 1971 he was the first publisher ever to publish a children’s book in Maltese (Fra Mudest, by Charles Casha). Throughout a career spanning over 40 years, he was instrumental in launching the literary careers of authors who are nowadays the respected elders of Maltese literature, including Trevor Zahra, Charles Casha, Carmel G. Cauchi, Clare Azzopardi, and many others.

A key legacy of Gruppetta’s work in the publishing field is that he endeavoured to make children’s books in Maltese financially accessible to everyone, thus ensuring that Maltese literature become widespread among generations of children.
In 1966, he introduced Ladybird books into Malta, first in English and later (1973) in editions in Maltese published specifically for the local market, thereby introducing colour to children’s books in Maltese for the first time.

This started off a regular series of international collaboration between him and foreign publishers, resulting in foreign children’s books being translated into Maltese. This led to an enrichment of Maltese literature, with the inclusion of literary works from other countries, and in the process Gruppetta was instrumental in putting Malta on the international publishing map.
In 1979, he published the first-ever workbooks for the teaching of Maltese in primary schools, again starting off a revolution in the way Maltese was taught to children.


Josephine Mahoney

Born in Senglea in 1932, Josephine Mahoney is a renowned Maltese actress who, for more than 70 years, took part in various radio, stage, and television productions. She started her career in drama on Redifussion in 1947, and in 1949, she began acting on stage with the Sliema Dramatic Company. Amongst her early performances there are Anastasia, Id-Dar tas-Soru, Meta morna sal-Mellieħa, and Bizzilla u Velenu.

Josephine also wrote an autobiographical book, Oh Żmien Ħelu, where she portrayed in detail the theatrical scene, the elegant and rich costumes and also the different types of acting and the terminology used at that time. Her numerous performance choices reflect the most popular elements in the Maltese cultural scene. In fact, this is visible throughout her acting career on Redifussion, radio, and soap operas on television.

Ganni Pace

Born in Valletta in 1946, Ġanni Pace is a renowned sculptor and artist who has been mastering his artistic talent from a very young age.
With his father as his mentor, he was educated at the Paola Technical Institute and the Government School of Arts, where he studied drawing, modelling, casting, and stone-carving under the tutelage of various professionals in the field.

Pace was commissioned to create several monuments around Malta, and took part in several exhibitions, his major work considered to be the ‘Dance’ which is currently part of a private collection. He dedicated a monument to all grandparents, which was financed by Government and was recently inaugurated at San Anton Gardens. Pace was also commissioned various artworks and wall reliefs at the Barrakka Gardens. From his exhibitions, he has always donated works or part of his earnings to the Community Chest fund and to Dar tal-Providenza.

His art can essentially be defined as folk art. His imaginative skills have helped him convey a message through his creations, as Pace is particularly sensitive to issues surrounding the poor, the emarginated, and other rejected members of society.


Gorg Peresso

Born in Vittoriosa in 1939, Ġorġ Peresso is a well-known author, writer, and broadcaster. He studied at De La Salle College, Cottonera and furthered his studies at the Teresian Colleges in Malta and abroad. Peresso obtained an M.Th degree from the Teresianum Roma, and he also studied Communication at St. Gabriel’s College in England.

Peresso wrote a number of novels in Maltese, some of which were awarded the Premju tal-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb, poems, plays and radio-plays, which were acknowledged with the Premju Awtorità tax-Xandir and the Premju Francis Ebejer, son et lumiere, and also critical studies. Additionally, he published two poetry books in Italian and also a collection of poems in English. Peresso also wrote the libretto of the Opera Swar, from the Belt il-Bniedem trilogy.

As a broadcaster, Peresso wrote, produced, and presented various radio and television programmes. With the national broadcasting station, he was appointed Deputy Head TV Programmes, Head Culture and Drama Section and Executive Head of Radju Malta. Peresso was also pivotal for the running of cultural radio station FM Bronja. He is also a well-known commentator of national and religious events.

To this day, Ġorġ Peresso still writes and produces programmes for Radju Malta, Campus FM, and community radio stations. He is also active philanthropically, especially in relation to cultural events.


David Michael Schembri

David Michael Schembri was born in Qrendi in 1952, and from his youth he enrolled in various voluntary organisations, particularly as a member of Teenagers Din L-Art Helwa, where he started to show great interest in heritage as well as environmental appreciation and protection.

In 1985, he was commissioned by the Maltese Government to help carry out an underwater video survey in the Grand Harbour. He then led a team of Maltese Construction and Military divers in the clearing and salvaging of the WWII Wreck of the bomb-laden SS Talabot, numerous live ordinance, aerial bombs, and torpedoes that had been previously located in front of the newly constructed tourist quays.

On completion of the salvage works, that very same year he was deployed to the Kalafrana Port Project in order to assist in the underwater construction works of the Freeport Terminal Project and the Marsaxlokk Breakwater. Under his direct supervision, the breakwater was completed years ahead of schedule, thus helping to establish the Malta Freeport as a transshipment hub within the centre of the Mediterranean.

In 1993, Schembri discovered and salvaged a British WWII aircraft which, in 1941, had ditched into the sea off the Ħamrija bank in Qrendi. Later that very same year another WWI British wooden biplane was also discovered and salvaged off Għar Lapsi. Following restoration works, both relics are currently exhibited at the Malta Aviation Museum in Ta’ Qali,.

David Michael Schembri is currently Qrendi Council Mayor, a locality which, under his leadership, has received a “European Destination of Excellence” title from the European Union. He also represented and captained the Malta XV in Rugby Union.


Simon Schembri

Born in 1969 in the United Kingdom, Simon Schembri is a traffic police constable who has shown great dedication to his work. This year, he was involved in a terrible traffic accident while on duty, where he suffered grievous injuries that included the amputation of an arm.

As a result of this harrowing experience, he established The Blue Light Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that provides moral support, psychological help, and financial aid to employees serving in emergency response and disciplined forces who suffer physical injury whilst responding to an emergency situation.

In 2013, he also proved himself when he assisted and escorted to hospital a pregnant woman who was in labour and was caught in heavy traffic. The child was reported to have the cord tangled to his neck, and had only few minutes left to live if Schembri had not intervened in time.


Frank Lawrence Scicluna

Frank Lawrence Scicluna was born in Vittoriosa, and migrated to Australia in 1965. He was employed as a teacher and project officer for 35 years with the South Australian Education Department. He was also the principal of the Maltese Language School of Adelaide for 28 years. Scicluna was the co-founder and first president of the Federation of Maltese Language in Australia. He was the president of the Maltese Community of South Australia, as well as of the Australian Federation of Maltese Community Councils.

He was appointed Justice of the Peace by the Government of South Australia and, in 2008, he was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the Maltese community, languages, and multiculturalism. In 2003, the Maltese Government appointed Scicluna as Honorary Consul for Malta in South Australia, an office which he currently holds. He also held the position of President of the Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools of Australia, an organisation which oversees the management of all community languages schools in Australia.

In 2011, Frank Lawrence Scicluna was appointed by the Prime Minister of Malta as a delegate of the Council of Maltese Living Abroad. He also publishes a weekly electronic journal for the Maltese Diaspora – The Maltese e-Newsletter.


Louis John Vella

Louis John Vella was born and raised in Malta. He completed his education at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. In 1980 Vella relocated to California, USA where he completed his tertiary education at a University in California and started his professional career as a chief officer in a California public safety agency.

As soon as he arrived in California, he immersed himself in the Maltese Community, and soon became one of its more active leaders, making it his mission to make Maltese communities more connected within themselves and with Malta by doing whatever it takes to bring Malta closer and more accessible to California.

Today, in California there are a number of active Maltese organisations that owe their emergence and a good dose of their success to Vella. With his full unwavering support, all of them work hard to promote and sustain Maltese culture, history, heritage, and traditions. Louis also created a successful scholarship programme for university students of Maltese descent, and an annual Maltese award that celebrates volunteer work among those less fortunate.

He also organised multiple visits by Maltese dignitaries to California and annual charitable donations to Malta. He currently serves as Honorary Consul for Malta, and has served two 3-year terms on the Council of Maltese Living Abroad.


Bernd Schiffarth

Bernd Schiffarth was born in the town of Lindlar, Germany, in 1949. After his studies, he worked as a Diploma Engineer in Forestry in Rhineland-Palatinate. In May 1977 he was elected Vice-Mayor of the town of Adenau for four years, and in 1981 the residents of Adenau gave him the vote of confidence as Mayor of Adenau for the following 28 years.

He was also member of the district parliament in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (1984 to 1994).

In 1991, together with the Maltese Ambassadors in Germany, H.E. Dr. Albert Friggieri and Richard Lapira, he founded the “Maltese-German Association/Deutsch-Maltesische Gesellschaft” and was President of that association until 2009.

In all these years Bernd Schiffarth worked on the improvement and consolidation of the human relations between the citizens of Malta and Germany with great engagement. In 1996, his work lead to the first official “Town Twinning – Ġemellaġġ” in Malta between Mellieħa and Adenau, Germany. This was the start of a permanent exchange of students, musicians, artists, and members of separate organisations from Malta and Germany.