JCI conference about to commence

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Junior Chamber International (JCI) Malta will be hosting this year’s conference, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the organisation’s inception on the island. The conference kicks off on the 11th June with an opening ceremony at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. The conference will come to a close at the Granaries on Saturday 14th June.

Over the span of four days, JCI will be hosting official courses, invited trainer courses, workshops, and talks by keynote speakers. A business networking event will allow JCI members to create contacts for future opportunities, as well as involve themselves in activities regarding communication, active citizenship, achievement, and leadership qualities. During the event, a ‘Members’ Lounge and Tradeshow’ is also being organised, allowing organisations to showcase their work.

The conference will also include a sport programme, part of which will consist of the ‘Row 4 Nets’ challenge aimed at promoting the JCI charity that donates towards the provision of malaria-preventing nets. All this will be hosted at the chosen JCI village in St. Julian’s. Most of the events will be taking place at the Corinthia and Radisson hotels in St. Julians.


Insite spoke to Mariella MacLeod, the COC Honorary Chairperson for this year’s event.


Q: What is JCI in Malta and what is its aim?

A: JCI in Malta is celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year. Members are between the ages of eighteen and forty. This organisation promotes self-development as well as community work, based on internationalism. The aim of this organisation is to create a positive change. JCI was first started in the United States, and will be celebrating its centenary next year. Some past alumni include J.F Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Albert II, the prince of Monaco.

JCI brings together young people in a setting outside their comfort zone at work. It allows people to gain confidence.

The idea of voluntary work is promoted; in learning by doing we also show people how important it is to volunteer, as by volunteering one also learns new skills. We want to create lasting positive change and improve the community we live in.

Over the past twenty years, we have shaped the experience of many members here in Malta. Our aim has been to create young leaders, entrepreneurs. It’s not just for business people though. When I joined JCI I was a secretary, but over the years it gave me the confidence to be able to stand up to speak in front of people, to have the confidence to introduce myself to people… so through the experience, getting involved with things outside your comfort zone, you learn how to try something else.


Q: Why did you choose to get involved?

A:  I did not choose to get involved; I was introduced to the organisation by a very good friend. I chose to remain involved because I found it very enriching. I met very good friends through it, and it opened the world to me. I was encouraged to travel to conferences where I had the opportunity to attend training sessions, similar to those being hosted throughout this week. As a young member, I had the opportunity to do things which maybe I wouldn’t have been able to do just by working in my office. I also loved the idea of volunteering, of helping others but learning at the same time.


Q: Could you provide a summary of what this conference will consist of?

A:  This conference happens every year. JCI is a very large organisation and, in May and June every year, each area; that’s Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Africa, all have their own area conference. In Malta it has long been our dream to someday host a conference here, and we won the bid this year. We have been working on this for the past three and a half years, and we’re all volunteers. We have volunteers who just come in for a couple of hours to lend a hand. What is going to happen in this conference? The chief delegates of all the European countries in JCI will travel here and have their official meetings; they’ll have a general assembly.  At the same time, all the other delegates will come here to network, to attend all the workshops we put together, and to enjoy the opening ceremony as well as the Gala dinner and awards night that will close this year’s conference. During the awards night, outstanding projects which have taken place over the past year across Europe will be awarded a prize. So there’s a lot to celebrate, there’s a lot to learn, and lots of networks and friendships to create. At the same time, JCI Malta members will gain the experience of being involved in organising a conference for almost 1300 people. The skills they will learn will last them a lifetime.


Q: Are any parts of the programme open to the public? If so, how can they apply?

A: It’s a no and a yes. They’re not open to the public unless they register for the conference between the 10th and 11th. If someone wants to register they’re subject to a fee, but the price covers all sessions, so it will be money well spent. There’s a special fee for people who are already members and a separate fee for non-members. To become a member, one would have to call and register. If they’d like to join between the 10th and the 11th, the opening ceremony will be held tomorrow evening, so they’ll be able to receive their conference pack and attend. The beauty of having it in Malta, for the Maltese, is that they don’t have to fly anywhere, and that they don’t have to pay accommodation.


Q: Which part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

A: I am looking forward to all of it, because I just want to make sure that the delegates have a good time.

Posted in Events, Interviews

Mina Tolu announced as IGLYO’s new Communications Officer

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Mina Tolu, the President of We Are, has been co-Opted as IGLYO’s new Communications Officer. Insite writer Melissa McElhatton interviews her to discover what this role consists of:

1.       What is IGLYO?

IGLYO is the International LGBTQ Youth & Student Organisation. It is an umbrella organisation which has over 80 member organisations in the pan-European region; and both We Are & MGRM are members from Malta. IGLYO’s approach promotes cooperation and joint strategies, and often advocates on behalf of Members to international bodies, institutions and other organisations.

2.        As Communications Officer, what will your role entail?

I’m basically responsible for the external communications of the organisation. It’s a lot of online work, like taking care of the website, and social media sites, as well as drafting media releases on pressing issues and statements on behalf of the organisation. I’ve been co-opted to the role, due to the resignation of their co-chair, and will be holding the post till December 2014.

3.        What happens after December ?

There is an election for new board members at the General Assembly in Dublin in November.

4.       Are you thinking of applying as a candidate, especially since you would have already had experience ?

Possibly. I am just happy to be part of such an amazing organisation for now, and I knew it was something I could commit to, till December for sure.

5.       What are you looking forward to most?

I have a few ideas that I want to implement which I think will really work well, thanks to IGLYO’s large number of member organisations across Europe. They are obviously related to communications, but I can’t say much more for now. I’m especially looking forward to finishing my exams next week, so I can concentrate on receiving a proper handover from the previous Communications Officer.

I do think the biggest challenge is going to be getting used to the way everyone works together within IGLYO, as the majority of our meetings are done online. I’m very used to my own organisation; having founded We Are, I have grown accustomed to what we do, and how we do it. Obviously these things change, and I will probably have to acclimatise myself to some intercultural differences too, as we’re from all corners of Europe.

6.       Do you have any final statements?

It’s a bit overwhelming right now. IGLYO is an amazing organisation, one which I’ve always looked up to. They have given so much to We Are, and helped us grow in so many ways, thanks to their training sessions, and connecting us to other organisations. I hope I manage to give back in my own way, and help other organisations, which perhaps are starting up in their own countries, and make a big change.


Insite would like to congratulate Mina for being co-opted as Communications Officer for IGLYO. Good luck in all your endeavours and may this be a wonderful and fulfilling experience.

More information on IGLYO is available at

Posted in Interviews, 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.




 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

KSU Election 2014: Pulse Candidates Profiles

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Following Insite’s debate, KSU Candidates in the Hotseat, we conducted short interviews with all of Pulse’s candidates.

Join us on quad for our next debate: The KSU election debate, where presidential candidates Gayle Lynn Callus (SDM) and Clive Gerada (PULSE) go head to head in what should be a heated debate.

Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Is terrified of spiders and so gives them names. Such as ‘George’ and ‘Michael’


“We must work on students’ inclusivity”


Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Still has a poster of Ira Losco in his room


Student organisations should be made part of the decision process”


Role: Social Policy

Fun fact: Cycles every day to University because she’s lazy


“We need a more proactive KPS”


Role: Financial Officer

Fun fact: When she was a child she went to take a picture at a zoo in front of the monkey’s cage, however as she rested against the railing she ended up in the cage with the monkeys.


“Transparency is key and we must work on it”


Role: Secretary General

Fun fact: Is extremely ticklish.


“KSU should be in the centre of student’s life, together with them.”


Role: Vice President

Fun fact: I got held in an airport in Chile for carrying an apple which had already travelled through Vienna, London and New York.


“KSU should foster student participation and not remain hidden”


Role: Public Relations Officer

Fun fact: Has on average 15 cups of coffee every day


“We need a yearlong relationship with people outside the University of Malta as well as inside”


Role: International Coordinator

Fun fact: Everybody thinks his nickname is ‘Paki’ because he’s from Pakistan


“International students must be integrated as one with us”


Role: International Officer

Fun fact: Is the voice in the classic duo Kemmuna Airways’ song ‘Superman’


“We want a more united University”


Role: Education

Fun Fact: Has a one-eyed hamster named Peppinu.


“We have to build upon what has already been done.”

Posted in Interviews, News

KSU Elections 2014: SDM Candidate Profiles

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Following Insite’s debate, KSU Candidates in the Hotseat, short interviews were conducted with all of SDM’s candidates.

Join us on quad for our next debate: The KSU election debate, where presidential candidates Gayle Lynn Callus (SDM) and Clive Gerada (PULSE) go head to head in what should be a heated debate.

SDM Candidates

Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Has a triple-jointed finger


“I will constantly try and appeal to the students”


Role: Culture and Entertainment

Fun fact: Has a doppelganger who was also in his same course (MD).


“We must motivate the individual student to become more involved”


Role: Social Policy

Fun fact: …Let me think about it…


“We must work in favour of intellectual argument”


Role: Financial Officer

Fun fact: Can speak like Donald Duck


“We must put the money we earn in line with what we spend”


Role: Secretary General

Fun fact: Has been playing violin for 12 years


“We must look to the future and think ahead”


Role: Vice-President

Fun fact: Has an obese Labrador


“We should take the role of Vice-President to the level it deserves”


Role: Public Relations Officer

Fun fact: Accidentally fed his family mercury.


“Student apathy should be worked upon”


Role: International

Fun fact: Went to Switzerland with her scout’s group for three weeks doing activities such as fishing, camping and so on.


“We need to hold more meetings with organisations’ international officers”


Role: International

Fun fact: His nickname is ‘Il-Lion’


“We must work hand in hand with other student organisations”


Role: Education

Fun fact: Was a lifeguard


“KE must be more representative and empower student representation”

Posted in Interviews, News

The Criminology Students’ Association: An Optimistic Revival

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The Criminology Students’ Association, formerly known as Għ.S.K (Għaqda Studenti tal- Kriminologija) have had a turbulent couple of years going through no less than 2 revivals – the latest being in 2012. Andrea Gonzi sits down with President Ilona Degura and Public Relations Officer Antonio Zerafa about the difficulty of starting up a defunct organisation from scratch.

With a student body that is often times deemed to be apathetic it comes as no surprise that there are student organisations that seem to quickly flourish but also flounder just as quickly into obscurity. It’s the fact that many organisations seem to revive out of nowhere that is an intriguing aspect of our student political scene.

Unfazed by the fact that this interview was going to revolve around their organisations’ constant revivals both representatives seemed upbeat and optimistic about the future of their fledgling organisation. Incumbent President Ilona Degura, points out that the reason why the organisation had recently become dormant was the fact that it was primarily composed of 3rd year students who were in their final year therefore making it much harder to pass on the torch to new members. When queried on why she revived the organisation she explained that it was a mentality of, ‘Look you too can make something out of being a University student and give something back to your own course’.

When queried on whether the organisation’s dormancy was due to passive students PRO Antonio Zerafa opined that labeling criminology students as being ‘passive’ or ‘active’ wouldn’t be fair on them because it was the organisation itself that was in a state of dormancy. He explains, ‘We’re not close enough to the students yet to judge’ however he felt that 1st year students have shown great enthusiam to take part.

Ms. Degura highlighted that the main aim of this year’s executive was to get students closer to the organisation to eventually form a bond with it, ‘We want to see what they want and need from us’.

In line with the general perception of an apathetic student body both representatives highlighted that the hardest aspect of reviving an organisation is filling out the ranks with dedicated members. Ms Deguara also pointed out it was a challenge to increase the organisation’s appeal to both the students and organisations alike. When queried on whether funding has been an issue Ms.Deguara highlights that they still need to raise the bar in this area however she felt that for any type of organisation funds are intrinsically linked with its members and as their organisation’s popularity increases so will the amount of funds generated.

When queried on what their organisation can offer to the student body and students in general Mr. Zerafa replied that ‘Criminology is one of those courses that can offer really interesting debates both on and outside of the campus’. He explained that it’s also important to dispel the perception of the general public and 1st year students that criminology will only lead to employment as a police inspector.

Ultimately, Ms Deguara concludes, that although it is the organisation’s aim to promote criminology to the general public, at the moment the first thing that the organisation must do is draw people in by finding out what is really expected from them.

Posted in Interviews