Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 10(1991)4(423)

Society News 1988-1991

The present number of Melita Historica is the 40th consecutive publication which altogether now comprises ten complete volumes. As can be evinced from the index of article in the present number, appreciable amount of original research work has been published in this volume, thus not only enhancing Melita Historica’s reputation locally and abroad but also putting into practice one of the chief aims of the Malta Historical Society as expressed in the Stature.

During the past four years, membership increased considerably especially during 1991. From 278 the number of members is now 370. However, this number will probably decrease in the near future because a number of member seem to exist on paper only and there is a proposal to strike off member who are in appreciable arrears in membership subscription. As can be seen in the following pages, new member are approved every year. These include an encouraging number of young people in whose hands the future of our Society will eventually have to be entrusted.

No History Week was organised during the period under review. However, in December 1989, the Society embarked on an ambitious colloquium spanning three days in which there were no less than 28 speakers, 16 local and 12 foreign, who included a number of prestigious historians. The subject was Malta – A Case Study in International Cross-Currents. One can imagine the amount of organisational work involved and the three main convenors, namely Victor Mallia Milanes, Stanley Fiorini and Mario Buhagiar, are to be warmly congratulated for a job well done. Most of the lectures were published in mid-1991 in a 300-page book, edited by Stanley Fiorini and Victor Mallia-Milanes, which was produced in conjunction with the University of Malta and the Foundation for International Studies who cosponsored the colloquium.

Unfortunately, it took years for the Society to find a sponsor for the 1986 History Week lectures publication. However, that hurdle has been overcome and the book is now being published and proof-reading is at an advanced stage, The sponsor is the Ministry of Education and it is hoped that the 1986 proceedings will be available by mid-1992.

In a bid to make the Society better known, it was decided to take part in the Malta International Book Fairs of 1989 and 1991 in which the Society also managed to sell a number of its publications, thus boosting its finances which are always hard-pressed. The same reasons prompted the Committee to participate in a smaller Book Fair organised by the Malta Librarians Association in 1990. Moreover, members of the Committee also took part in two radio programmes in 1988 and 1991 in which the aims and the publications of the Society were discussed.

For the future, the Society is aiming at trying to obtain its own premises, a dream which has eluded us so far though thanks are due to the society Din l-Art Helwa for allowing us to make use of their headquarters for meetings and for storage of our publications. The Society is also aiming at furthering its aims by producing a number of history documentaries on the local T.V. though this is still in the planning stage at present. A History Week for 1992 is also on the cards and a sponsorship for publishing these talks is also in the offing.

            With these aims in mind, it is hoped that the Malta Historical Society, which celebrated its 20th birthday in 1990 with an anniversary dinner, will continue to undertake solid steps forward with the furthering of the study of Maltese History and its diffusion and also by helping to safeguard Malta’s National Heritage.

Joseph F. Grima
(Hon. Secretary)