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The Farewell Service for Professor Godfrey Wettinger

The Farewell Service for Professor Godfrey Wettinger (1929-2015), Senior Fellow of the University of Malta and former Professor of Medieval History within the Department of History, took place on Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

He leaves to mourn him his brothers Henry and Alfred and their respective wives Betty and Dianne and their children and grandchildren, cousins, other relatives and many friends.

Professor Wettinger was a distinguished historian whose loss will be deeply felt within the academic community and beyond.

A public farewell service præsente cadavere was held at 1400hrs in the Atriju Vassalli.

During the service, Professor Martin R. Zammit, Head of the University's Deptarment of Oriental Studies, read a poem entitled Il-Kantilena. It is the oldest known literary text in the Maltese language dating from the 15th century. The poem was found in the 1960s by Prof. Godfrey Wettinger and Fr. M. Fsadni (OP). It is attributed to Pietru Caxaro, and was recorded by Caxaro's nephew, Brandano, in his notarial register (Dec. 1533 -- May 1563). 

To view photos of the service kindly click here

News Coverage of the event can be found below: 

TVM News Coverage [MT]


For further news coverage, kindly click here (courtesy: 



28 May 2015

M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy



29 May 2015

M.Sc. Clinical Speech & Language Sciences



28 May 2015

Involvement of the Deaf Community in Research

Maltese Sign Language Can be Written?

The Linguistics Circle Talk on Friday 15 May was noteworthy firstly because a number of young Deaf adults attended. Moreover, it focused on an unusual subject - Towards the standardization of written Maltese Sign Language (LSM) and how this links to the development of literacy in Deaf signers. The talk was given by Dr Maria Galea, a Sign Linguist who completed her Ph.D. with STEPS sponsorship. The Deaf participants also received a certificate for the Preparatory Course for Tutors of Sign Language under the auspices of the Institute of Linguistics of the University of Malta.  The course was fully sponsored by MSV Life.


Linguistics Circle Talk given by Dr Maria Galea made accessible to the Deaf in the audience by the sign language interpreters, Ms Sarah Agius, left and Ms Maris Bonnici, seated on the left


Ms Silvana Sant’Angelo from the MSV Life, sponsors, presenting a certificate to Mr Loran Xuereb - Deaf participant of the Sign Language Tutors Preparatory Course


Ms Silvana Sant’Angelo from the MSV Life, sponsors, presenting a certificate to Mr Steven Mulvaney - Deaf participant of the Sign Language Tutors Preparatory Course


Dr Galea explained that SignWriting (SW) was being used by educators world-wide to enable profoundly deaf children who used a sign language. Deaf children gain academic confidence when they learn to read and write their sign language before embarking on literacy in a spoken language which was at best only partly accessible to them.  SW served to bridge the gap.  Educators from countries as far apart as Germany and Nicaragua reported success.  The ease with which Deaf signers pick up the system is very encouraging and promises better chances of full literacy of the mainstream spoken languages.  

The SW system was created to write any sign language through 652 glyphs, each with several possible variations resulting in 37,811 symbols!  The linguistic structure of the sign language determines the choice of symbols.  Dr Galea’s work is based on the linguistic study of Maltese Sign Language (LSM) as well as the study of LSM texts written in SW since 2001 within the Institute’s LSM Research Project.  The LSM Dictionary – which should be available online in the near future – makes use of SW.  Illustration A shows the dictionary entry, Pappagall (Parrot), used by Dr Galea to illustrate the use of SW.  The decision to use SW made it easily accessible to the Deaf researchers involved in the Institute’s various research projects.

SW symbols, Dr Galea explained, are organised into seven categories reflecting variations of handshapes, movement, dynamics and timing, head and face variations, body, detailed location and punctuation, as summarised in illustration (B) used in Galea’s presentation.

In the work completed for her Ph.D., Maria Galea shows how it is unnecessary to give all of the details seen in the signs when writing LSM utterances or texts.  With the help of ten Deaf adult informants who learnt SW many years earlier as youngsters during a workshop organised by the Institute of Linguistics, Galea was able to create a manual to simplify the learning process of writing LSM.


Illustration A: An entry in Azzopardi-Alexander (2003) Dictionary of Maltese Sign Language Volume 1:Annimali – Animals as shown in Galea 2015 – slide 5 



Illustration B: The Organization of the SignWriting Symbols (Galea 2015 – slide14)


The standardization of SW for LSM has reduced the number of symbols from 652 to 129 with 67 for handshapes, 32 for movements, 21 for facial and head movements, 5 body symbols and 4 for punctuation.  The Deaf participants consider this a significant simplification of the writing tools.  More importantly, it also means that the writing is now much easier to read and ambiguity is resolved, thus making it a remarkably efficient writing system.

Naturally, just as we cannot learn to read a language we do not understand, so too one needs to understand LSM in order to learn to read it.  There is no doubt that SW is an important research and educational tool.  What is now necessary locally is to create resources in SW.  It may well become an indispensable aid for Deaf students.  Meanwhile local research in technology may facilitate its use. 



Illustration C - Extract from Galea, Maria. 2008. Rakkonti tal-Milied. Institute of Linguistics

Though to many first-timers an extract from a SW text may appear overwhelmingly complex, it can be compared to trying to read a language written in symbols (such as letters of the alphabet) that have a one-to-one relationship with sounds used in the spoken language so that the writing is transparent and hence easily transferred to its spoken, or in this case signed, form and easily learnt.

Prof. Marie Alexander
Institute of Linguistics


27 May 2015

Young Students from India visit the University of Malta

A group of secondary school students from three different schools in India recently attended a training programme in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Malta.  During this programme, which was prepared and delivered by The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking and held at the University’s Valletta Campus, the students learned various tools and techniques that they can use to generate creative ideas, foster innovation, develop an entrepreneurial mindset and design strategies for a better future.   

As part of this training programme, the Indian students visited St Paul’s Missionary College and San Anton School, where they engaged in interactive lessons together with local students.  They also visited TAKEOFF Business Incubator at the University of Malta, Microsoft Innovation Centre, and Aurobindo Pharma, where they learned more about creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship outside the classroom setting.  During their free time, they attended sightseeing and cultural activities including a visit to Malta’s Megalithic Temples and a boat ride on a traditional Maltese luzzu in Wied iz-Zurrieq.  On their last day, the students were awarded certificates by the Director of the Edward de Bono Institute, Dr Leonie Baldacchino, who praised them for their exemplary behaviour, hard work and creative ideas.  

This delegation’s visit to Malta, which was held between the 9 and 16 May 2015, was organised by the University of Malta’s International and EU Office with the support of the High Commission of Malta in New Delhi, and was a result of the close ties that have been built in recent years between the University of Malta and various educational institutions in India.  The Principal of Maria's Public School in Assam (India), Ms Alpana Phukan, described this visit as “a milestone in the lives of our young students”.  She added that “the harvest reaped by our students from this trip is unimaginable” and looks forward to many such visits in the future.


The Indian delegation at The University of Malta


27 May 2015

Collaboration between University and the Department of Health on Clinical Gait and Motion Analysis

The University of Malta’s Department of Systems and Control Engineering, its Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics, and the Department of Health have signed a collaborative agreement on clinical gait and motion analysis. Rector Professor Juanito Camilleri signed on behalf of the University of Malta while Permanent Secretary Mr Joseph Rapa represented the Department of Health, in the presence of the Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mr Chris Fearne. 

The Biomedical Engineering Laboratory at the University houses a state-of-the-art motion capture system that allows for the precise measurement of human motion. This has many uses, ranging from scientific human motion study to film and game animation, with one main application being the clinical assessment of patients with motion problems. Until now, Maltese patients suffering from selected neuromuscular conditions have had to be assessed abroad to plan surgical interventions intended to improve these patients’ gait. 



left to right: Mr Chris  Fearne, Prof. Kenneth Camilleri, Ing. Carl Azzopardi   


Through the signing of this Agreement, the Department of Health and the University will be involved in creating cross disciplinary collaboration in the engineering and clinical areas. To this end the University of Malta is making its facilities and expertise available.



TVM News Coverage [MT]

The collaboration aims to establish excellence in clinical gait and motion analysis, provide an opportunity for clinical practitioners from the Department of Health to practise and obtain experience working on an advanced state-of-the-art motion analysis system and to provide an opportunity for clinical practitioners, academics and technical personnel to work together in an interdisciplinary team.  This collaboration will open up possibilities to work on interdisciplinary research projects involving the clinical and technical disciplines, establish normative baseline gait data for the Maltese population, and provide clinical gait analysis for the medically indicated patients who, to date, had been required to go abroad for such an analysis.
This initiative, led by Prof. Ing. Kenneth P. Camilleri, found ample support from the University, and was realised through the continuous liaison with orthopedic surgeon, Mr Charles Grixti, advisor to the Ministry for Energy and Health. 


left to right: Mr Grixti, Mr Fearne, Mr Rapa, Prof. J. Camilleri, Prof. Ing. K. Camilleri 



left to right: Mr Grixti, Mr Fearne, Mr Rapa, Prof. J. Camilleri, Prof. Ing. K. Camilleri 


26 May 2015

WATER – A Treasured European Resource

The Junior College’s two-year participation in the WATER – Comenius Project - coordinated by the College Eurocentre,  funded under the Lifelong Learning Programme - has come to an end with a Student Exchange organised between students from the College and a group from the Liceo Scientifico “Aristotele” in Rome. Students involved in the project visited Rome in April accompanied by Dr Karl Chircop, Ms Dorita Galea and Ms Jacqueline Rotin, and ended with a meeting at the Junior College in May. A programme of activities focused on the setting up of an awareness campaign on water and learning about social activism.

This bilateral exchange gave students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Italian and Maltese culture, traditions and way of life, while collaborating  with foreign counterparts.


Maltese students visiting the Foro Romano


27 May 2015

Postgraduate Certificate in EBM and Effective Decision-Making



21 May 2015

Master of Arts in Islands and Small State Studies



21 May 2015

University of Malta offers first PG Certificate in EBM and Effective Decision-Making

Albert Einstein once claimed: 'A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be'.

A cursory review of some best management sellers and guru tips casts doubts on the real scientific foundation of these works and whether the prescribed formulas make any sense for managers in today’s complex organisational realities. 

In Management Education, the revolution of how and why managers adopt specific practices as opposed to others remains mostly an art in the rawest form, subject to misconceptions, cognitive biases and personal preferences for methods that seem to work only in the eyes of the beholder. But there are signs that this may be changing. 
The Department of Management at the University of Malta recognises the importance of Evidence-Based Management (EBM) in today’s management world and is proud to announce the first Postgraduate Certificate in EBM and Effective Decision-Making, with an international input. 

Denise Rousseau (Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, Former President of the American Academy of Management and Reviewer of this Post-Graduate Certificate) is a leading figure in this movement and specifically in Evidence-Based Management. She defines EBM as the systematic, evidence-informed practice of management, incorporating scientific knowledge in the content and process of making decisions. 
The applied and reflexive new programme will span a comprehensive spectrum of principles, tools and methods underlying EBM, presented in 6 specialized study-units: Principles of EBM, Systematic approaches to EBM, Statistical mis/conceptions in decision making processes, Cognitive biases in decision making, Stakeholder analysis of their values and concerns, and Tools and Practices to enhance evidence-based decision processes. 

The University of Malta is administering this programme in collaboration with the Center for EBM based in Amsterdam. The Center for EBM supports prominent universities like Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, NY University, University of Toronto, University of Bath and the Free University of Amsterdam among others. 

The Programme will commence in October 2015. More details may be found on the course finder. One can apply at

For further details please contact Dr Vincent Cassar, Programme Co-ordinator by email or phone on +356 2340 3479. 


07 May 2015

Understanding the Mediterranean


‘Mediterranean Sea: the almost landlocked sea separating southern Europe from Africa, connected with the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar, with the Black Sea by the Bosporus, and (since 1869) with the Red Sea by the Suez Canal.’ (Oxford English Dictionary) How satisfactory is this surgical definition of the Mediterranean? The Mediterranean was and continues to be at the heart of a variety of crossways, including those of the imagination. How can one go about understanding these crossways? 

The taught Master of Arts in Mediterranean Studies of the Faculty of Arts will be opening again in October 2015. The accent in this MA is on the thematic: the importance of phenomena like migration, urbanisation, isolation, connectivity, the human and the physical elements, the arts and so on, will be explored. This M.A. is intended for students with a flair for challenging learning experiences; in turn, this lends itself to those seeking careers in European Union and foreign affairs, businesses, NGOs and enterprises with a Mediterranean focus and so on. Students will also be able to pursue doctoral study. Are you ready to dive in?

The Alfred Mizzi Foundation will be awarding a bursary of €1,000 to one student enrolled in the M.A. in Mediterranean Studies. This will be awarded on the basis of an essay competition.

Click here for the latest details, follow the M.A. in Mediterranean Studies on Facebook, or email Dr Emanuel Buttigieg.


13 April 2015


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