President Emeritus Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, Chairman of the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Education in Journalism (FTFEĠ), appealed to all professionals to be directed towards the wellbeing of others, and not of the professionals themselves.
He was speaking recently at the Faculty for Social Wellbeing’s Dean’s Awards, held at the Old University Campus in Valletta. In the case of the profession of carers for the wellbeing of others, this is realised in the best possible way.
“Nobody would enter this profession with the aim of enriching himself, so it is important to shed light on this purity of intentions in order to remind other professions of this, which should be the distinguishing feature of all professions.
“The Faculty for Social Wellbeing may be the youngest of University faculties. May it never become burdened with the temptation to seek personal gain above the interest of the people it serves,” Dr Mifsud Bonnici said.
The Dean, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi. recognised that the challenge of academia is not only in pursuing scholarship of excellence and supporting, teaching and mentoring students, but also of being closely engaged with the community – a fundamental role that the Faculty takes very seriously – because academia is all about responding to the community’s needs.
Marchita Mangiafico, a student reading a Masters in Disability Studies, received the Social Commitment Award after being nominated by fellow students. Her story is more than outstanding. She is the mother of Sebi, who is physically disabled. Though Marchita has had to face many challenges in her life, she remained positive and enthusiastic, and supported other parents faced similar challenges.
She has been engaged in parent activism for a number of years and is currently the President of the National Parents’ Society for Persons with Disability, works as the Secretary for the Access Disability Support Committee at the University, apart from pursuing her studies. Marchita has shown exceptional commitment to the disability sector in Malta.
Mgr Victor Grech, the former Director at Caritas Malta and a renowned broadcaster, received the Dr Jacqueline Azzopardi Social Engagement Award. Mgr Grech served as Vice-Rector at the Seminary and, later, as Rector. At the time he was also the Director of Vocations and he later occupied the post of Visiting Lecturer at the University of Malta and at the Teachers’ Training College.
In 1977 he was appointed Archbishop’s delegate and shortly after Director of Caritas, where he introduced professional social services and encouraged the involvement of volunteers. Mgr Grech’s top priority was to fight poverty. He was a catalyst in dealing with drug addiction and set up a number of projects for the prevention and rehabilitation of drug addiction. He established the first therapeutic community for those who abuse of drugs and opened a home for the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Both Post-Grad and Under Grad students were awarded a place on the Dean’s List. The Awards are organised by the Dean’s Awards Committee and the Awards Selection Committee of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, chaired by the Dean, Prof. Azzopardi.
Also present were the Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs, Prof. Joe Cacciottlo, and Ms Veronica Grech, Registrar. The event included performances by the EnKor Choir, singer Odelsie and Carol (students reading a BA in Social Work and Social Policy) and a number of features, including a new promotional video.
The event also remembered Jerome Frendo and Sarah Lee Borg (the former a current student and the latter an alumni of the Faculty) who passed away during this academic year. Over 250 people attended this event: academics, administrators, collaborators, sponsors, stakeholders and friends of the Faculty. The compere for this event was Valeriya Bonkova, an MA student reading Gerontology and Geriatrics.