VIDA goes online
Following the success of its first two symposia ‘The Zejtun Roman Villa’ (2012) and ‘The Last Turkish Raid of 1614 (2014), Wirt iż-Żejtun has announced its third symposium ‘Discovering Southeast Malta’.
This region, which encompasses the largest harbour in the south, a beautiful coastline with its own ecosystems and attendant industries, such as fishing and salt extraction, as well as numerous sites of archaeological, historical and religious importance, deserves to be given much more attention than it has received up till now.
There is general consensus that much needs to be done for example, in terms of conservation and preservation of the many historical sites, which are little by little disappearing. As tourists go, it is only Għar Dalam and Marsaxlokk, as a typical fishing village which are promoted as tourist destinations. Which is a pity, as the Southeast has so much more to offer! How can this region be developed in a sustainable way, so that the rural and natural environment, the possible attendant economic development and the inherent cultural heritage coexist harmoniously?
In order to initiate a discussion, Wirt iż-Żejtun has invited various speakers from different entities to present their research on different aspects of this topic. Architect Ruben Abela, President of Wirt iż-Żejtun, will trace the military history of the region through the existing military structures, very few of which unfortunately, have been restored or adapted for further use. Ms. Michelle Borg from the Planning Authority will propose that an awareness of the complexities of coastal systems can facilitate the creation of alternative solutions to coastal use, which solutions would then safeguard ecosystems and at the same time empower local communities towards the sustainable use of the coast.
The Senior Curator of the National Museum of Archaeology, Sharon Sultana, will explore various types of material evidence that can be found in the National Museum of Archaeology and explain how certain historical sites can be researched and reconstructed up to a certain extent through this material evidence. Dr. Nadia Theuma, an established researcher in the fields of tourism, cultural development and regional branding, will in turn, look at the rural and agricultural heritage of the region and analyse its inherent potential as a tourist destination, as well as address the socio-economic impact that such activity would have on the region and its communities.
This idea is further developed by different speakers. The historical sociologist Comm. Dr. George Cassar will discuss the possibility of the development of religious tourism in the Southeast region, whereas in a joint paper, Dr. Jason Bonnici and Architect Ruben Abela will propose the creation of a National Geo Park for the Southeast region, which will offer visitors the opportunity to experience what the region has to offer in terms of culture, history and heritage. Architects Daphne Fenech and Katya Sammut will discuss their proposal for the creation of a heritage park which would unlock the cultural heritage potential of the Southeast region, as well as ensuring the conservation and safekeeping of important sites. Such a project would also contribute to the creation of offshoot economies as well as strengthen already existing commercial investments. Mr. Alex Muscat from the Office of the Prime Minister will give a presentation about l-Inwadar National Park, a government project aimed at safeguarding the natural environment and giving people an open area to enjoy.
The final word will be given to Ms. Tracey Ann Vella Cumbo, Wirt iż-Żejtun secretary and a graduate in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management, who will propose a number of measures that can be introduced to generate social, cultural and economic benefits for the region so as to create a sustainable market to put the Southeast region on the visitors’ map.
The symposium is open to the general public and anyone interested in attending, is kindly asked to register by sending an email to Wirt iż-Żejtun on firstname.lastname@example.org. The event will start at 8.30am on Saturday 8th October and will be held at Villa Sant’Anna, Triq il-Qaliet, Marsaskala. Wirt iż-Żejtun looks forward to welcoming all those who are interested in safeguarding the heritage of the Southeast region, before it is irretrievably lost. VIDA has been publishing its magazine every first Sunday of the month for 82 issues now and in the past few months, it has made great efforts to branch out into new territory and take over the world of social media. The VIDA team has seen the potential in the type of content that a lifestyle driven magazine could produce on different platforms. For the past three months, VIDA has taken on a whole new life online, thanks to fresh material being posted on a daily basis, ranging from generated articles to relatable quotes and lots of competitions.
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