St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation and University of Malta (UM) have set the path for a future of collaboration following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
“Through a culture of sharing and widening our horizons we can look at collaborations such as this, between the University of Malta and a world heritage site such as St John’s Co-Cathedral, as forward looking and a means to utilise expertise to enhance our knowledge about such monuments,” stated Minister for Culture, Owen Bonnici.
“Through this partnership, we are able to learn and discover more information about this majestic building and at the same time I am sure that University Students will appreciate this monument more when they are here. Our country is enriched with history and culture and through a collaboration of this kind we are encouraging more awareness when it comes to our history.”
Wilfrid Buttigieg, President of the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation, explained “this is a historic moment, which is paving the way to transform St John’s Co-Cathedral into a research hub for academics and students alike. The term historic is being used because only in time will we be able to appreciate the fruits of this new beginning. We believe that the University of Malta is a key partner institution. The resources, specialisations and expertise available at University are more than what meets the eye, hence this sustains our belief in cultivating such a collaborative potential. As a Foundation we are also duty bound by statute to publish and empower researchers and academics. This MOU aims to facilitate access for the University of Malta and its respective Faculties, Departments, Institutes to the entirety of the heritage comprised within the premises of St John’s Co-Cathedral and the new work in progress Museum Project.” Mr.Buttigieg concluded.
University of Malta Rector, Professor Alfred J. Vella, commented that such a collaborative effort with St. John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation will surely benefit scholarly research and further enhance knowledge of the unique historical and artistic gem that the Co-Cathedral represents. “This Agreement provides the opportunity for UM scholars to experience such a magnificent context and develop their knowledge within a world class monument,” he said.
Michal Pace Ross, representing the Archdiocese of Malta, commended the partnership between the State and the Church which is now also being extended towards the University of Malta. He believes that “the Foundation is managing to find the right balance to cooperate with all those involved and to achieve results in doing so. The faith based tourism found in Malta could lead to further enhance the visitors’ stay on the island”
The press conference was concluded by Mr Buttigieg who introduced Dr Sebastiano D’Amico from the UM, who has recently conducted GPR testing of the tombstones which produced truly intriguing results of what lies underneath some tombstones at St John’s Co-Cathedral.