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Ministers and a dancing robot at the ICT projects exhibition

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The ICT exhibition showcasing the projects of final year ICT students was held yesterday evening at the new premises of the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology. The 65 projects touched on several fields of ICT including software development, robotics, game development, and social networking.

In an opening speech, the Hon. Chris Cardona, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business praised the Faculty of ICT for its new structure which demonstrates Malta’s capability of standing in line with other developed countries. It is important to him that the Government invests in youth to encourage innovation and creativity and to ensure that employers have a large pool of talent from which to choose from. An example of such governmental support is the Malta Digital Games Fund, aimed at helping companies develop digital games. Indeed, Cardona pointed out that Malta is becoming an important location for the development of gaming which will in turn help boost the country’s economy.

The Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment, spoke of the important role played by the University of Malta in both education and research, the latter of which is a great challenge due to Malta’s relatively scarce resources. Therefore it is important for the Government to channel these resources well, primarily through the University.

Awards were also handed out with last year’s KSU Social Policy Commissioner Tamara Caligari winning the Chamber of Engineers Award for the best ICT students’ project of 2013 and Janice Attard winning the MITA (Malta Information Technology Agency) Award.

This third-generation robot is being used by the Department of ICT for research purposes. Watch it dance to Michel Telo’s version of ‘Au Si Eu Te Pego’ in this video!

Posted in Tech

Opportunity to take part in an EU simulation

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BETA (Bringing Europeans Together Association) España, with the help of the Provincial Council of Granada, is organizing its third edition of the ‘Model European Union’ to be held in Granada this coming October and they are currently recruiting participants from universities around the world, including the University of Malta.

The ‘Model European Union’ shows European students how decisions and legislations are made and carried out in the EU headquarters through a simulation-based event. While most European politics simulations are only based on one of the main institutions of the EU, the ‘Model European Union’ simulation project will primarily focus on interactions between the three main institutions, namely the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The organisers will play the role of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. Students have the chance to apply as a minister of the council, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) or a journalist. The latter will be assigned to the role of editor, photographer, videographer, graphic designer, or social network professional. Over a period of five days, participants will discuss and amend proposals or, in the case of journalists, report on the goings-on.

Although the conference will be held in Spain, its official language will be English.

Applications are open until the 20th of July. For more information, visit www.meu-granada.org.es or send an email to info@meu-granada.org.es or to spain.beta@gmail.com

Posted in Events

Newly launched course sees its first set of graduates

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The first group of students who decided to read for a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Technology, back when the course was introduced three years ago at the University of Malta (UoM), celebrated the completion of their degree last night on Campus.

Professor Lilian Azzopardi is the Head of the Department of Pharmacy at UoM. Speaking to Insiteronline, she expressed her satisfaction with this first batch of graduates who she believes have reached the targets expected of them. She explained that there is a rising need within the pharmaceutical industry for people specifically trained in pharmaceutical technology. The interest among youth in Malta in pursuing this particular line of work has also witnessed an exponential growth, as indicated by the fact that 12 out of the current 25 students enrolled within the course have just finished their first year.

One of these graduates, Kurt Borg, is currently the chairperson for the Association for Student Pharmaceutical Technologists (ASPT). He spoke to Insiteronline of the need for increased specialization within the pharmaceutical industry. He feels that a lot of people often tend to associate ‘pharmacy’ solely with its clinical aspect.  However, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes with regards research into the manufacturing of high-quality drugs and medications that, once scientifically proven to be both safe and effective, are then sent to clinics as potential prescriptions to patients. This is the pharmaceutical aspect that this newly-launched course focuses on and Borg encourages scientifically-minded people to consider applying for it. He described the course and the several career pathways it opens up as both mentally engaging and ‘personally satisfying’ in the realization that one’s own research can culminate in the improved well-being of patients.

Posted in News

Maltese youth initiative recognized

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Andrew Micallef is the National Ambassador for the League of Young Voters (LYV) Malta. In a statement made to Insite, he revealed that the European Youth Forum has awarded the LYV Malta with the recognition of having run the most effective LYV campaign in mobilizing youths in the run-up to this year’s European Parliament elections, almost a year to the day that the LYV scheme was launched in Brussels.

With branches in 24 of the 28 European member states, LYV is a widespread initiative aimed at raising awareness amongst European youths on the inner workings of the European Union, as well as providing them with an accessible platform on which they can raise their EU-related concerns. Micallef thanked the European Youth Forum for such an acknowledgement of LYV Malta’s work and congratulated all the people and organizations involved, in particular Kunsill Nazzjonali taz-Zghazagh (KNZ), Agenzija Zghazagh, and Malta’s European Parliament Office. He described this pioneering campaign as a successful one that saw a significant number of Maltese youths take an active interest in something that was of direct benefit to them.

Micallef also expressed his concern at the amount of seats that have been voted to members of far-right parties. He explained this trend as the result of a number of failures in European centrist policies such as the imposition of austerity measures on weak economies, as well as on voter apathy. France, for example, only saw a voter turn-out of around 35%, the majority of which then ended up voting for members of the National Front. He also had a few words to say about the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) which he views as a ‘racist party’ that has managed to win over the Conservative grassroots and which will now fight to get the United Kingdom out of the EU. Despite the fair share of problems that the EU has faced in recent years, Micallef emphasized that it has always managed to maintain peace. He warned that a departure from the EU, coupled with Scotland’s potentially impending independence, could prove severely damaging to the UK’s economy.

As a final message, the National Ambassador took the opportunity to encourage Maltese youths to let go of any inferiority complexes they might possess as a result of Malta being the smallest EU member state. Despite the success of this campaign, he pointed out that the voter turn-out in Malta decreased by around 4% from the 2009 MEP elections and therefore insisted that the work of LYV cannot stop here.

Posted in News

An Interview with Two New Student Representatives

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Luana Vassallo has been appointed as Student Representative for Senate while Kayleigh Sacco has been elected as Student Representative for the Faculty of Arts. These were the only two student representative positions whose nominees needed to pass an election vote. Insite writer Timothy Diacono interviews them:

 

Luana Vassallo

Q. What experience do you possess that makes you suitable for this position?

A. I used to be the KPS officer at MHSA (Malta Heath Students’ Association) and I have spent the last year as Social Policy Coordinator at KSU where I have strived to represent the rights of University students.

 

Q. What can you offer to University student?

A. I will actively represent them and be present if they have any queries or problems, as I was last year. I am a student myself so I understand what many students want and need and I will work to their benefit.

 

Q. What message would you like to send out to University students?

A. I would tell them to be active on campus and to get involved, rather than to just come to University to attend lectures. The soft skills you acquire from involvement within a student organization can ultimately prove more important than an academic record when it comes to finding a job. If students have a query or a problem, I encourage them to approach KSU or student representatives because we are there for them.

 

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 Kayleigh Sacco

Q. What experience do you possess that makes you suitable for this position?

A. I have spent a year in DESA (Department of English Students Association) as Public Relations Officer where I was tasked with sharing and promoting events and talking to students about our organization, particularly during Freshers’ Week. I have recently been elected as DESA’s Events Coordinator. As I was helping English students I realized that I can branch out to help students from other departments within the Faculty of Arts.

 

Q. What can you offer to University student?

A. I will always be available for students to approach as I have been all year and I will inform them about what is going on in the faculty. I’m well-organized, I have the students’ best interests at heart, and I will always try to see what they need. As a minor example, yesterday I spent time scanning and uploading English-related documents onto the Facebook group for English students before I started studying myself.

 

Q. What message would you like to send out to University students?

A. I intend to promote a holistic approach to the arts and help create better relationships between students of different departments within the Faculty. I would also like to build awareness amongst students of various cultural events. My message would be that not only arts students can relate to the arts. There exists a misconception that students studying science, ICT, etc. aren’t interested in the arts and I plan on challenging that.

Posted in Interviews

18 Awards Handed out at Kokka Night 2014

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The 2014 KSU Kokka Awards Night was held last night in the Old University building in Valletta in what was not only a celebration of the work achieved by student organizations this past year, but also a swansong for the current KSU executive, this being the last event they will organize. After an introduction speech by outgoing KSU President Thomas Bugeja who praised the attendants and all the student organizations at the University of Malta for their hard work and dedication, the CEO of the University of Malta Research, Innovation & Development Trust (RIDT) took to the stand. He congratulated a team of ten students, including outgoing KSU Education Commissioner Malcolm Zammit, for their pioneering initiative in donating their laboratory precautionary money to the RIDT.

Outgoing Culture and Entertainment Officer and new KSU President Gayle-Lynn Callus as well as outgoing Culture and Entertainment Coordinator Luke Azzopardi also gave a few light words before handing out the awards along with their respective replacements in KSU, Steve Sammut Alessi and Becky Camilleri.

The winners of the 2014 KSU Kokka Night are as follows:

The Kokka Akkademika for the student who has displayed most academic excellence was awarded to Caroline Nabbe.

The Kokka Attivita’ for the most successful event planned by an organization was awarded to GHMU for the Lehen il-Malti event.

The Kokka Branding for the organization with the best overall branding was awarded to UESA.

The Kokka Attiva for the student most active in KSU events and activities was awarded to Mina Tolu.

The Kokka Filantropika for the most philanthropic campaign by an organization was awarded to SDM’s Project 7000.

The Kokka Habrieka for the student who dedicated a significant amount of time to help out a student or an organization was awarded to Tara Giacchino.

The Kokka Innovattiva for the student or organization who had come with the most innovative project was awarded to SACES.

The Kokka Internazzjonali  for the international student who was most involved in local activities was awarded to Paul Igoe.

The Kokka Kulturali for the organization who showed the greatest participation in KSU’s artistic and cultural events was awarded to GUG and their Gozo Week event.

The Kokka Onorarja for KSU Alumni was awarded to Annalisa Schembri.

The Kokka Kollaborazzjoni for the most successful event on campus that involved the close collaboration between two or more organizations was awarded to the ‘Multidisciplinary Approach to Healthcare’, a joint collaboration by ADS, Betapsi, MPSA, OSQ, MMSA, and MHSA,

The Kokka Organizazzjoni for the most active student organization was awarded to ELSA.

The Kokka Paprata for the student or organization who went through the most embarrassing event was awarded to GSN.

The Kokka Qalbiena for the student who was particularly involved in charity and voluntary events was awarded to Matthew Bonello.

The Kokka Talent for the student who displayed the most artistic talent was awarded to Celaine Vella.

The Kokka Tas-Sena for the student who showed the most holistic excellence in his/her university life was awarded to Chris Bergedahl.

The Kokka Sportiva for the person who worked hardest to promote sports on campus was awarded to Julian Bonello.

The Kokka Professur for the lecturer who worked hardest to educate his students and who excels at teaching was awarded to Dr. Sandro Lanfranco.

Rather than the traditional owl figurines, the awards this year consisted of plates.

Photos: Albert Camilleri

Posted in News