The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Simon Schembri, Tonio Borg and Albert Marshall among those to receive Republic Day honours

Thursday, 13 December 2018, 12:11 Last update: about 10 months ago

Police Officer Simon Schembri, former EU Commissioner Tonrio Borg and Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta Albert Marshall are among those honoured in this year's Republic Day Awards Ceremony.

Twelve members were appointed to The National Order of Merit, two of whom received the award on an honorary basis and another one was awarded posthumously. Ten other individuals were awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.  One of the latter was awarded the medal on an honorary basis.

 On Republic Day each year, the President, on behalf of the Government and people of Malta, pays public tribute to a number of Maltese citizens who distinguish themselves in different fields of endeavour, by appointing them to The National Order of Merit or to the Xirka Ġieħ ir-Repubblika, or by awarding them the Midalja għall-Qlubija or the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

 Nationals of other countries may be conferred with honorary membership of the Order or of the Xirka or awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika on an honorary basis.

This year's Investiture Ceremony again took place at The Palace, Valletta, on Thursday 13 December 2018, immediately following the customary Ceremonial Parade held at the Palace Square.

Tonio Borg

Former PN MP Tonio Borg was made a companion of the National Order of Merit.

He was a member of the Maltese Parliament for twenty years (between 1992 and 2012).He also served as a minister and  in 2012 he was appointed European Commissioner for Health, a role which he filled up to 2014.

John Dalli

Former PL MP John Dalli was made an Officer of the National Order of Merit.

Born in 1946, Dalli followed in his footsteps and pursued a political career, and also took up his father's work as a contractor. He contested the General Elections for the first time in 1971, where he was elected as the youngest Member of Parliament.  He was re-elected in the subsequent elections held in 1976, 1981, and 1992.

Adrian Vassallo

Former PL MP Adrian Vassallo was made an Officer of the National Order of Merit.

Adrian Vassallo was born and raised in Msida. In 1992, Vassallo contested the General Elections for the first time under the Malta Labour Party. He was elected from the 9th District in 1996, and was re-elected in every subsequent General Election up to the year 2008.

Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele di Villabianca

Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele di Villabianca was made an Honorary Officer of the National Order of Merit. Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele di Villabianca, Baron of Culcasi, is a university professor, Supreme Court Lawyer, economist, banker, expert in financial, tax and insurance issues, and author of various publications.

Michio Endo

Michio Endo was made an Honorary Officer of the National Order of Merit. Endo was appointed representative of the Malta Tourism Authority for Malta in Japan in 1997. He worked tirelessly in order to promote the Maltese Islands amongst the Japanese population.

Joan Abela

Joan Abela was made a Member of the National Order of Merit

Joan Abela is a Senior Lecturer in Legal History and Methodology at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta. She currently also holds the post of Consultant Historian in the Rehabilitation of the Notarial Archives ERDF Project.  

Michael John Bianchi  

Michael John Bianchi was made a Member of the National Order of Merit

He is an established entrepreneur, and has been involved in a range of diversified activities, including the introduction of mobile telephony and of the Internet to Malta.  Bianchi founded mobile telephony companies outside Malta, and in 1989 he was also the founder of one of Malta's very first service providers in the financial services sector under the Malta International Business Authority and also the founder of one of Malta's very first online gaming service providers in 2006.

Paul Falzon Sant Manduca

Paul Falzon Sant Manduca was made a Member of the National Order of Merit.

Paul Falzon Sant Manduca is a successful entrepreneur who has headed multiple companies throughout his career.  Paul Falzon Sant Manduca was an advisor to the Government of Malta prior to EU entry, and promoted the Rothschild Bank of Valletta plc Joint Venture Scheme, when he was a Board member and Global CEO of Rothschild Asset Management.

Mgr. Joseph Farrugia

Mgr. Joseph Farrugia was made a Member of the National Order of Merit.

Mgr. Joseph Farrugia was ordained priest and continued his postgraduate studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Rome, where he obtained a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology and a Doctorate in Theology. In 1992, Mgr. Farrugia was involved in the setting up of the University Gozo Campus, where he gave the very first course in Mediterranean civilizations and religions.

Albert Marshall

Albert Marshall was made a Member of the National Order of Merit.

In 1971, Marshall started working in Maltese electronic media until 1980 when he emigrated to Australia. In Melbourne, he spent 15 years working in Australian radio, theatre and television. He is the first Maltese national to direct at the Sydney Opera House, where he directed Mary Spiteri in Concert. Marshall was also the first Maltese to direct at the Grant Street Theatre for the Victoria College of the Arts. On his return to Malta in 1996, Marshall was engaged by the University of Malta to lecture in Communication Studies and lead the Distance Learning Programme at the Radju tal-Università.  He was appointed CEO of the Public Broadcasting Services Ltd (PBS) in 1997, and three years later he moved to Super One Radio and Television where he started working as consultant and eventually as CEO. Albert Marshall currently occupies the positions of Deputy Chairman of PBS Ltd and Executive Chair of Arts Council Malta.

Clayton Micallef

Clayton Micallef was made a Member of the National Order of Merit.

He was part of the Maltese Army 1st Regiment C special duties company. In 2004, due to an unfortunate accident, he suffered a Spinal Cord Injury which left him paralysed from the neck down, impeding him from moving his legs and arms, and requiring him to very complex mobility and care needs.  He required personal assistance 24/7, but this service was inexistent at the moment and despite all setbacks, he persevered for the formation of such a care service. In 2010, a pilot project was funded to set off this type of aid, allowing Micallef to live in the comfort of his own home with personal aid. Micallef also helped in the production of fund raising events and TV programmes aimed at raising awareness on disability and social issues.

Charles Miceli

Charles Miceli was made a Member of the National Order of Merit.

Charles Miceli was born in Żabbar in 1949. During his twenty-five years working at the printing press, he worked on the reporting and production of the newspapers, and ended his career with an editorial job. Miceli wrote columns on political and social issues in l-Orizzont and it-Torċa.  Miceli moved away from his journalistic career, despite the fact that he continued to write on the topics of drugs, prison, and poverty till the very end. Miceli's aspiration was to live by helping others, and thus he spent two years working with the children at Saint Joseph Home in Gozo. In February 1991, Miceli started working with Caritas. Charles Miceli worked hard to open Dar Papa Franġisku, and also led campaigns to raise the minimum wage and to regulate rent rates. Until his last breath and with his family's support, Miceli strove to work for what he believed in.  

Roderick Bovingdon

Roderick Bovingdon was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Roderick Bovingdon was born in 1942 in Attard. He moved with his family to Sydney in 1959, and was the first person ever to obtain a pass in Maltese Language Advanced Level through Oxford by correspondence.  In 1968, he founded the first School of Maltese Language outside of Malta.

Arthur Gruppetta

Arthur Gruppetta was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Gruppetta dedicated his life to books, and in 1971 he was the first publisher ever to publish a children's book in Maltese (Fra Mudest, by Charles Casha). Throughout a career spanning over 40 years, he was instrumental in launching the literary careers of authors who are nowadays the respected elders of Maltese literature, including Trevor Zahra, Charles Casha, Carmel G. Cauchi, Clare Azzopardi, and many others.  A key legacy of Gruppetta's work in the publishing field is that he endeavoured to make children's books in Maltese financially accessible to everyone, thus ensuring that Maltese literature become widespread among generations of children.

In 1966, he introduced Ladybird books into Malta, first in English and later (1973) in editions in Maltese .

Josephine Mahoney

Josephine Mahoney was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Born in Senglea in 1932, Josephine Mahoney is a Maltese actress who, for more than 70 years, took part in various radio, stage, and television productions

Ġanni Pace

Ġanni Pace was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Born in Valletta in 1946, Ġanni Pace is a sculptor and artist.

Pace was commissioned to create several monuments around Malta, and took part in several exhibitions.

Ġorġ Peresso

Ġorġ Peresso was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Born in Vittoriosa in 1939, Ġorġ Peresso is an author, writer, and broadcaster Peresso wrote a number of novels in Maltese.

David Michael Schembri

David Michael Schembri was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

David Michael Schembri was born in Qrendi in 1952, and from his youth he enrolled in various voluntary organisations, particularly as a member of Teenagers Din L-Art Helwa. 

In 1985, he was commissioned by the Maltese Government to help carry out an underwater video survey in the Grand Harbour. He then led a team of Maltese Construction and Military divers in the clearing and salvaging of the WWII Wreck of the bomb-laden SS Talabot, numerous live ordinance, aerial bombs, and torpedoes that had been previously located in front of the newly constructed tourist quays.

Simon Schembri

Simon Schembri was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Born in 1969 in the United Kingdom, Simon Schembri is a traffic police constable who has shown great dedication to his work. This year, he was involved in a terrible traffic accident while on duty, where he suffered grievous injuries that included the amputation of an arm. 

Frank Lawrence Scicluna

Frank Lawrence Scicluna was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika

He was born in Vittoriosa, and migrated to Australia in 1965. He was the principal of the Maltese Language School of Adelaide for 28 years. Scicluna was the co-founder and first president of the Federation of Maltese Language in Australia. He was the president of the Maltese Community of South Australia, as well as of the Australian Federation of Maltese Community Councils.

Louis John Vella

Louis John Vella was awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika

Louis John Vella was born and raised in Malta. In 1980 Vella relocated to California. As soon as he arrived in California, he immersed himself in the Maltese Community, and soon became one of its more active leaders, making it his mission to make Maltese communities more connected within themselves and with Malta by doing whatever it takes to bring Malta closer and more accessible to California.

Bernd Schiffarth

 Bernd Schiffarth was awarded the Honorary Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika

Bernd Schiffarth was born in the town of Lindlar, Germany, in 1949. In 1991, together with the Maltese Ambassadors in Germany, Albert Friggieri and Richard Lapira, he founded the "Maltese-German Association/Deutsch-Maltesische Gesellschaft" and was President of that association until 2009.

The full biographies can be read here

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