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ELSA Malta hosting the 65th ELSA International Council Meeting

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ELSA Malta, the national branch of the European Law Student Association, the world’s largest independent law student association, shall be hosting the 65th ELSA International Council Meeting. The International Council Meeting is the biggest statutory internal meeting of ELSA, with an attendance of around 400 law students, young lawyers and alumni-members of the association.

Throughout the week, the participants will gather in order to make decisions concerning the internal regulations of ELSA, adopt guidelines for future activities and present new projects. Several plenaries and workshops will be organized to discuss on the mentioned topics.

The International Council Meeting (ICM) of ELSA will be hosted at the Suncrest Seashells Resort in Qawra from the 16th to the 23rd of March 2014. ELSA Malta shall be hosting approximately 400 delegates (law students and lawyers) from 42 European countries participating in a jam-packed schedule which includes 3 plenary sessions, workshops, a conference, a sightseeing tour, a gala reception and a social programme in the evenings. We are also pleased to welcome several distinguished speakers and attendees including the Honourable Parliamentary Secretary for Justice Dr. Owen Bonnici and a host of MEP candidates, amongst others

More details to follow.

Posted in Events, News

MEP Candidates Debate on Campus: Live Updates

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Watch live streaming video from insitemalta at livestream.com

With just over 2 months to go to the next European Parliament elections, Maltese MEP canditates are taking their message to campus today in a bid to convince students to vote for them.

MEP candidates Arnold Cassola (AD), Kevin Plumpton (PN), Stefano Mallia (PN), Cyrus Engerer (PL) and Miriam Dalli (PL) will be on the panel discussing the EU’s most pressing issues.

12:25pm: Address by Ryan Mercieca President of the Debate.

12.27pm: Introduction by Julian Caruana, Insite Media Officer and Moderator of the debate. It is explained that the debate will be made up of questions asked by 5 different student organisations: We Are, Pulse, SDM, GUG and Jef.

12.30pm: First questions by We Are are asked by Paul Caruana Turner and Romina Tolu.

1. ILGA-Europe’s Come Out Pledge ILGA-Europe, a organisation working to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people in Europe is asking candidates to sign a pledge which focuses on 10 key areas future MEPs can work on to promote human rights. Two of the candidates on the panel have signed this pledge (Cyrus and Arnold) (and Therese Comodini Cachia and Roberta Metsola have also signed the pledge).

The pledge (link here: http://www.ilga-europe.org/home/how_we_work/european_institutions/ep2014/candidate/pledge and print copies of it to hand to the 3 who hadn’t signed it) includes pledges to complete EU anti-discrimination law, and promote an inclusive definition of family in EU policies.

Why haven’t you signed the pledge? And would you be willing to sign the pledge to show a firm commitment to the rights of LGBTI individuals?

2. On the role LGBTI people’s human rights should have in EU’s external policy Following Uganda’s strengthening of laws against homosexuals Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the World Bank suspended or diverted aid to Uganda. In your opinion, do you think that the European Parliament can and should take similar actions by pushing for an external policy which prioritises human rights and makes agreements conditional on the respect of these?

12.35pm: Answers done in alphabetical order, and all candidates are given about 2 minutes each to answer. The first to answer is Arnold Cassola who has signed the pledge, and is followed by Miriam Dalli who is also in support of the pledge. She makes special references to Uganda.

12.37pm: Kevin Plumpton also adds that he would be very comfortable in signing the pledge, and agrees with what has been said by the other two candidates. He also mentions that sanctions should be made in Ukraine, and he appealed that Europe should be faster in fighting human rights. He adds that this policy should go through the European Parliament, but there are other committees which should also fight for this. All politicians should fight in favour of these human rights.

12.39pm: Cyrus Engerer adds that the government is working on equalities, and the consulting council is also working n a gender identity bill. There are still other issues that surround this topic that still have to be addressed such as intersex people, and equality in marriage, which should be the first step.

12:43pm: Stefano Mallia is aware of the pledge and is looking forward to signing it as well. He emphasizes that orientations should never be an issue for a person. He also refers to Uganda but says that there are other cases where human rights are still not properly observed.

12:45pm: Questions by JEF Malta are on Federalism:

1. X’tahsbu li jrid isir biex jigi eliminat/mnaqqas in-nazzjonalizmu estrem u ewroxetticizmu?

2. JEF Malta temmen li fejn hemm l-unita hemm aktar sahha. Ghalhekk hija ghal din ir-raguni li ahna nemmnu f’ewropa federali. Tahseb li wasal iz-zmien li jkollna stati uniti tal-ewropa?

12:46pm: Stefano Mallia starts by saying that nationalism is a natural reaction. Member states should not built barriers between them and other countries. Barriers should be overcome. The model of the EU is good, but we should not lose faith in the EU as seems to happen sometimes. We are sometimes not capable in showing why the EU is useful, and this our challenge if we get elected.

12:46pm: Mr Engerer adds that first of all we need a better EU. The fact that Euro sceptics are growing in number, shows that people are actually losing faith in Europe. We have to understand that we cannot have a one size fits all Europe, because all countries have different needs.

12:50pm: Arnold Cassola says that national politics is sometimes egoistic. Complaints are made to Brussels, thus encouraging Euro scepticism, but once something good happens they take the credit. This must top. The implementations of policies should be taken more seriously, and we need a better unity in the EU.

1pm: Questions are taking from the audience and these are about illegal immigration, the Gozo-Malta link and diversity within the EU.

1.10pm: Plumpton starts by saying that discusses illegal immigration and says that a lot of people do not know what we are really talking about. We have to be familiar with what Frontex really is. Plumpton is once again asked for his solutions, and mentions diplomacy. The EU should solve this problem, but this should be tackled properly locally as well.

1:14pm: Engerer brings up the issue of different treatment towards Malts within the EU, because we are the smallest country. With regards to immigration he also emphasizes that there should be an EU effort that those who have no rights to be refugees should be repatriated.

He also mentions that GOzo should be recognised as a region within the EU. He believes that Gozo needs this to be able to receive more EU funds, and that Partit Laburisti believes in this as well.

On diversity, he also adds that we should preserve the cultures of every country.

1:18pm: Cassola strongly emphasizes that a change needs to be done on the Dublin rules. He also refers to Gozo and says that things should be done now, such as the catamaran between Gozo and Valleta. He is also against the permanent link and he said we should look at things within their context.

1:22pm: Miriam Dalli brings up the fast ferry service and also brings up two other things: statistics on Gozo to identify problems, and an office for Gozo in Brussels. On Immigration, she emphasizes that we have to focus more on burden sharing.

1:25pm: Actions must be taken on illegal immigration, says Stefano Mallia. He says that more things have to be done within the EU and mentions a number of solutions, such as actually going to the source countries to understand the real situation. Things can change if you actually come in contact with these people. So we have to be careful before generalising and taking decisions.

He also refers to Gozo again, and says that we do not have a good working plan or programme.

1:30pm: Plumpton says that although Eco-Gozo was perhaps not the solution, we have to work on a policy for Gozo. We need a proper vision but not just some patching.

1:30pm: A question by SDM:

Riċentament il-Gvern ħabbar dettalji dwar l-iskema ‘Garanzija għaż-Żgħażagħ. Nixtiequ nistaqsu għall-pożizzjoni tal-kandidati dwar din l-iskema… fis-sens taħsbu li jista’ jkun hemm min jara din l-iskema bħala opportunita’ biex jieqfu mill-iskola obbligatorja u ma jkomplux, għax jafu li hemm garanzija li se ssibilhom xogħol?

1:33pm: Question by Pulse:

What are you planning to do in order to encourage a higher rate of youth entrepreneurship?

1:34pm: Stefano Mallia answers first and says that if the economy is growing, we have to be innovative to create new sectors that will have new opportunities for our youths.

1:36pm: Guaranties for youth should be youth, training or education, says Miriam Dalli. We are not encouraging youth to leave school, but a lot are leaving school without knowing the proper basics. So we need initiatives to solve these problems. This should be the first step. We need things to happen, to just to be written down on papers. She also adds that we need change our mentality that taking a risk to get out of your comfort zone and start a business is not bad.

1:39pm: Plumpton says that all these youths looking for jobs means that the problem is not yet solved. He calls out to the politicians to come up with a proper job plan. There are laws which are in Malta that should be acted upon.

1:42pm: The weather was a particular factor during the debate with the MEP candidates being brought hot chocolate to protect them from the cold air, despite the fact the elected MEPS are going to the North of Europe and the Bahamas.

Cassola once again strongly emphasises on a number of issues that must be tackled within education and youth employment.

1.46pm: Engerer gives the last comments, and refers to a number of opportunities that were available in the past few years, but says that still, more has to be done. The guarantee of youths is important and the government will working towards something better. He also adds that the budget for entrepreneurs will double this year, and that the aims and goals of the youths should not be suppressed due to financial issues.

1:50pm: Conclusions by the moderator, Julian Caruana.

Thank you for following our live updates on insiteronline.com

Posted in Events

Our visit to the PBS studios

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On Wednesday 19th February, a number of us, as members of Insite, were given a thorough tour around the Public Broadcasting Service building in Gwardamangia, now known as the modern creativity hub of Maltese media. After seeing first hand the amazing high-quality technological developments that have taken place in a building, which only a couple of years ago was an eye sore inside and out, one particular question continues to resonate inside my head:

Why do we still consider local television to be mediocre, even in the midst of this state-of-the-art refurbishment?

Could it be that the viewing public has not yet given PBS the opportune chance to use its newly attained tools to provide better quality television? Perhaps the current staff lacks the necessary experience to use the latest machinery? Or is it still too early for these improvements to actually give better results?

While all these guesses may be equally  true,  it is also practical to consider the possibility that the Maltese population, by being exposed to worldwide programmes, has mistakingly maintained the mentality that foreign material is always better.

While roaming around the building, particularly the behind-the-scenes areas such as the control rooms, editing suites and the quality control room, and when hearing the words of the staff members themselves, it is quite clear that there aren’t enough employees to deal with the magnitude of the work.

In order to carry the burden of moving PBS forward in technologically, more people need to be present. For instance, something already being done is encouraging young people interested in media, including students still undergoing their education, to use the new hub as an opportunity to work and learn in an inviting environment. This would give them a wide introductory vista to this ever-growing industry, and an absolutely reliable platform towards making a job in media a permanent career option.

Nevertheless, when comparing it to the past few years,  PBS has gone a very long way. The variety of programmes and channels ranging from television to radio, as well as the importance given to online transmissions and on-demand facilities, have contributed to getting Maltese media one step closer to reaching an international standard.

By branching out to events televised abroad, such as Eurovision, football championships and talent shows like the X Factor, PBS is continuously attempting to broaden its audience and provide it with as much of an interesting mixture as possible. While many of us prefer a Sherlock or Breaking Bad marathon, it is undeniable that TVM, Radju Malta and Magic Radio are a source of both information and entertainment for the whole island.

A mention and heartfelt thank you goes out to Rodianne Caligari who was our tour guide at the PBS premises, and also to the Insite executive for organizing this educational visit. Keep your eyes peeled for other similar events held by the Insite team in the near future.

Posted in Events, TV

School-aged drug abusers and desistence: What’s the catch?

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Drug abuse amongst youngsters is definitely not a new social phenomenon. Still, it is shocking to read statistics regarding substance use by school-aged children. Moreover, many associate drugs with criminal activity and desistance from such activity need to be promoted. This was the subject matter of the Work in Progress in the Social Studies (WIPSS) seminars series organised by Professor Paul Clough, Professor Peter Mayo and Doctor Michael Brigulgio.

The main goal of these seminars was to provide any researchers with a forum to obtain feedback for their ideas through discussion and to act as an interface between the University community and civil society in Malta. This seminar did just that, with Dr. Damian Spiteri, a senior lecturer at MCAST, and Leon-David Madden, a facilitator at the CARITAS New Hope programme sharing their views and expertise.

The first part of the seminar consisted of Dr. Spiteri putting the participants in the sociological context of the subject. This served well for attendees such as myself, who were not familiar with sociology and other related theories to be put into perspective and who did wholly understand the matter at hand. It is remarkable how many theorists and researchers have written about the matter with each and every one of them presenting a variety of opinions and theories as to what works in resolving this issue of drug abuse amongst school-aged youngsters. These mainly included the notion the labelling, dialogue between the victims and the people around them as well as the link between desistance and the criminal image associated with drugs.

The second part, which I also found  to be quite innovative involved Dr. Spiteri and Mr. Madden conversing between themselves regarding the subject. Madden pointed out how drugs abuse amongst peers is recent, it has been part of our society for years. In spite of this, the number of school-aged people who are abusing of drugs is continuously on the increase since such substances are more available than ever. Throughout the dialogue, it was pointed out how challenging it is for youngsters to open up and trust the guidance teacher made available in educational institutions. Moreover, the speakers highlighted how many peers are influenced by the media as well as their peer group. The parent’s role is also crucial to the peer’s education. Parents should be well informed to put their children on the right track. Interestingly enough, it was pointed out that society associates drug abuse and criminal activity with people who come from poor backgrounds. This isn’t a rule engraved in stone since even people from the high end of society can fall victim to such abuse and criminal activity.

The discussion that then followed focussed on the participants, mainly students, who gave their feedback related to what had been said. Many pointed out how the criminal image which is associated with drug use might motivate peers to actually try out such substances. Others argued that the media, ironically as a source of education, seems to glorify alcohol and drugs with some programmes blowing the issue out of proportion and looking at the issue as an opportunity for promotion. Inevitably, the hotly debated topic of decriminalising drugs also came up. The latter fit in perfectly with the seminar topic and many seemed to argue in favour of such an incentive, posing well-worded arguments and giving examples of other countries such as the Netherlands where this decriminalisation has taken place. On the other hand, there was scepticism of such decriminalisation amongst school-aged youngsters.

Such activities serve as a ground for informing oneself on subject matters outside the ambits of one’s particular course. As a law student, I am mostly interested in the legal perspective but this seminar has given me a completely diverse outlook on drug abuse and desistance. It is a pity that many people don’t attend or appreciate such initiatives since in reality, they are extremely informative.

Posted in Events

ESN’s Mdina by Night Treasure-Hunt

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If you’re looking for something fun to do throughout an otherwise uneventful week of lectures, researching, and even more lectures, you should check out ESN’s (Erasmus Student Network) Mdina by-Night Treasure Hunt. Having been a success last year, it promises to provide that burst of adventure all of us students crave at some point or other.

The Silent City will witness much running around and exclamations of dawning realisation today night at 21:00 as the treasure-hunt begins. Aimed at Erasmus students, but open to all students who would like to participate, teams composed of 5-6 people will be given their initial clues and an answer sheet, and then left to launch themselves into a quest that will take them all around the inside of the great bastions of the old city. ESN have also stated that there will be a photo competition at hand during the treasure hunt. Teams will also have to keep their eyes open for slips of paper with the organisation’s logo on them scattered all around Mdina. But fear not, no exceptional skills are needed except maybe a basic grasp over Malta’s history and, that all important quality, the capability of working smoothly within a team.

The main aim of the event is to help Erasmus students get to know Malta better, not only for entertainment reasons (after all, Mdina is stunning by night and inspires many to visit its winding narrow streets just for a stroll), but also for cultural reasons. What better way to immerse yourself in Malta’s history than to set off on a quest of your own within one of the oldest fortresses Malta has to offer? Maltese students should also take it as an opportunity to experience their heritage in a way they never perhaps have, as well as a simple fun night out. Of course, if this isn’t motive enough, there is always that elusive grand prize waiting for the winners.

For any further details, contact ESN at info@esnmalta.org, or visit the facebook event page.

Posted in Events, Travel

“Young Enterprise”. Aiming to develop young minds.

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The Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Malta Foundation, or as it is best known Young Enterprise, is commemorating its 25 years of delivering programmes to promote entrepreneurship from a young age. Its goal is to have something in place locally to push adolescents into pursuing a career in business, whether it involves one working in a company, or one opening up their own business.

As an international non-governmental and non-profitable organisation, Young Enterprise is the ideal opportunity for any teenager interested in becoming an entrepreneur, and taking the necessary formal training to gain success in the field. Nevertheless, as the programme’s coordinator for Maltese sixth forms and University Lara Dougall believes, one does not have to business-oriented to participate. In fact, Young Enterprise is open to all first year sixth formers and University students of any age, irrespective of their course, experience or interests. “Basic knowledge about business is vital for anyone, especially since almost every career path involves important business aspects such as teamwork and communication”. Furthermore, she states that, although participants should be committed to the programme when they enter Young Enterprise, in the long run the experience of it will become an extremely essential tool for one’s future prospects in the world of employment.

 

Apart from carrying out market research and collaborating with others to formulate a business plan, applicants will also expand on their financial literacy, develop their skills in public speaking, creativity, presentation and problem solving, as well as learning how to make firm decisions and managing problems as efficiently as possible. “Young Enterprise is suitable for practically anyone because it provides key life skills that are not at all limited solely to one’s business ventures”.

 

Dougall additionally mentions how the programme gives participants their first taste of possible failure in this field, but simultaneously provides a safety net which guarantees no loss of money or effort for the prototype they have created and promoted. Moreover, she disagrees with the notion that Young Enterprise is the reality of business at a smaller scale. “Our project seeks to empower young people by organizing visits to some of Malta’s most renowned companies, who at the same time act as our sponsors.” This is how, she says, students can attain tangible experience and induce their interest in business; because these companies have many a time put forward internships and job opportunities to participants. Having one’s experience in Young Enterprise noted down in their CV will always serve as an asset.

 

Past participant Janet Barthet initially thought it was all fun and games, but admits she learnt much more than she expected: “My Young Enterprise journey made me grow as a team player. I learnt to appreciate the importance of each and every member of the team and every part of the organizational structure.” Francesca Borg participated when she was a sixth form fresher, and states that through Young Enterprise she improved in public speaking and being able to handle criticism: “At times it might be irritating and frustrating because your company becomes something that you built, and you and your team would know it inside out. But at the end of the day, there’s always room for improvement.”

 

Later this year, the organization hopes to launch a new programme entitled ALUMNI, which will be offering extended networks to past participants of Young Enterprise in order for them to continue moving upwards in the business sector they wish to work in. Members of ALUMNI will have the opportunity to voluntarily help in the organization of Young Enterprise, and engage in activities including discussions and seminars.

 

To apply or learn more about Young Enterprise visit www.youngenterprise.org.mt

Posted in Events, News