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Intercultural Dialogue Europe



Major Challenges 

Since 2002, rapid and relatively large influx of (irregular) immigrants and asylum seekers - difficult to cope with by a small country (with high density of population) and requiring further commitments of burden-sharing by the EU.  As a consequence, increasing rate of xenophobia.

Protection of  Maltese, the national language, is a key factor for Maltese identity, being traditionally absent from many sectors of social life (e.g. sciences, youth entertainment, higher education).

Main Interpretations

To raise reputation of Malta in cultural tourism, attracting people from all over the world, presenting itself as a good host, enabling encounters through culture. Strengthening cultural identity as a prerequisite for ICD. Emphasis on Euro-Med intercultural dialogue.

1. General Authority

No general authority for ICD.

EYID-coordination body:

St James Cavalier, National Centre for Creativity (SJCAV)

2. Culture

Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MTAC)

Cultural Tourism is the issue of major concern, emphasis placed on the promotion of Malta as a venue for culture and as a heritage brand.

Policies: There is no official and concrete action to rehabilitate refugees and illegal immigrants culturally and creatively and no specific cultural policy has been formulated to cover their interests. There have been calls in the media for the formulation of a national report which would evaluate the refugee situation in Malta and indicate strategies for an integrationist programme, emphasising creativity and social cohesion through cultural events, exhibitions or other intercultural schemes.

Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (MCCA)

MCCA falls under the jurisdiction of the MTAC; Focussing essentially on the promotion of Maltese cultural heritage, while also aiming to achieve "new heights in creativity and accomplishment for Culture and the Arts in Malta in a manner that is enjoyable and accessible to all segments of society".

St James Cavalier, National Centre for Creativity  (SJCAV)

Under the auspices of MTAC. The Centre organises around six events per year that attract and bring in minority communities living on the island. SJCAV is used as a platform for the expression of other countries' cultures - e.g. foreign film weeks and regular festivals celebrating different cultures.

Malta Drama Centre

A state institution providing drama training. Mission: to be inclusive, and offer creative opportunities to all - perceiving theatre as a rehearsal of life.


  • Three-month programme launched in 2006, enabling 12 African drum-dancers from an open immigrants' centre to rehearse with Maltese tutors and present shows to the public. Intended as a "political statement" in favour of the refugees' cultural rights; the project received wide attention in the media.
  • Forum Theatre programmes with people on the margins, including female victims of domestic violence and African immigrants.
  • Outreach drama projects with prison inmates undergoing rehabilitation programmes
  • Interactive drama with the elderly in State and private residential homes.

3. Education

Ministry of Education (also in charge of Youth and Sports)

EX: narration-through-art programme started by the Ministry's Policy Unit with adolescent immigrant orphans.

Policies: Creating Inclusive Schools (2002)

Foundation for International Studies at the University of Malta

The mission of the Foundation is to promote Malta as a hub for international studies particularly in the natural and social sciences. Among the objectives are: international academic activities; gathering researchers and scholars from all parts of the world; widening cultural perspectives. In the framework of the "Euro-Mediterranean Programme on Intercultural Dialogue, Human Rights and Future Generations", hosting a conference on "Religious routes and pilgrimages in Europe and the Mediterranean: Jewish, Christian and Islamic Perspectives" (Nov. 2006).

4. Youth

See 5.

5. Sports

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Department

General measures for integration (no specific policy with regard to ethnic minorities or even ICD).

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs

Commissioner for Refugees (since 2001)

Policies: Policy Paper 2005, including sections relating to the ethnic, religious and cultural rights of refugees and illegal immigrants with unclear status.

Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity

For carry out its task of assuring welfare and integration of immigrants, it set up a National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) which also will cover discrimination on the basis of racial and ethnic origins, set up a Social Inclusion Office and has drawn up a national policy on irregular immigrants, refugees and integration. Since 2004, the Ministry also has an NGO Liaison Unit.

Policies: National Action Plan on Inclusion (2006-2008), identifying a number of vulnerable groups.

The Migrant's Home (Dar l-Emigrant)

Extensive Mission run by the Catholic Church, offering free services, counselling and protection to people in need (immigrants, refugees, tourists). Under its patronage are other organisations whose activities are orientated to help immigrants in more specific areas.

Jesuit Refugee Service

JRS Malta serves and lobbies for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and forcibly displaced people in Malta (advocacy, counselling, services etc.).

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MTAC)

In charge for international cultural relations, number of bilateral cultural agreements.

Forum Malta - fl-Ewropa (FME)

The Forum, first set up in 2005, acts as the national reference point on EU-related affairs.