Biographies

Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca took the oath as the ninth and youngest President of Malta on 4 April 2014, after being active in politics for forty years and serving in Parliament for sixteen years. Her life is dedicated to social issues and ameliorating the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca graduated as Bachelor in Legal and Humanities, and as Notary Public at the University of Malta.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca founded the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the National Forum of Trade Unions and the National Cancer Platform. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was awarded the Crans Montana Prix de la Fondation 2014, an award given to prominent personalities who strive for peace, freedom and democracy. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca holds the Honorary Life Presidency of the Arab-European Forum for Dialogue and Development and an Honorary Professorship at the University of Warwick in the UK.

President Coleiro Preca is often invited to give lectures and keynote speeches internationally, among which are the Europe 2020 Poverty Target: lessons learned and the way forward Conference held in Brussels in October 2014 and the Children of Prisoners Conference held in Stockholm in June 2015. President Coleiro Preca addressed the United Nations Summit and gave the “Malta Statement on the Sustainable Development Goals 2015” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 25 September 2015.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is also the UNWomen #HeforShe Head of State champion, a solidarity campaign to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.

Alfred Fabri

Mr Fabri joined Corinthia Group in 1989, and was appointed Company Secretary in 1999. Mr Fabri previously worked for 12 years with a United States multinational and for five years with a management consultancy company. He has also served as Chairman of the Malta Planning Authority, a member of the Public Service Reform Commission and director of the Malta Development Corporation. He read economics at the University of Malta and business administration at Queen’s University Belfast.

Alfred Pisani

Alfred Pisani is a self-made Maltese businessman, founder and chairman of Corinthia Hotels. He started his career in 1962 by transforming a palatial 19th century family home into one of Malta’s first fine dining restaurants. Over the years following Malta’s Independence in 1964, he extended the restaurant into a 156 room five-star hotel, and then grew the company internationally through the acquisition and development of a collection of hotels and in some cases other forms of adjoining real estate including residences, malls and office suites. Today, Corinthia is an internationally-acclaimed brand of award-winning luxury hotels, mostly owned by the Group, but also including some managed for partners. Corinthia Hotels are located in London, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Tripoli, Lisbon, Prague, Khartoum and Malta.

Alfred Pisani is Chairman of Corinthia Palace Hotel Company Limited and the listed company International Hotel Investments p.l.c.

Bernie Mizzi

At 57, Bernie Mizzi has never left educational institutions. She has served enthusiastically for over 35 years at Chiswick House School and St Martin's College which she has led with many inspirational teams. As a co-founder of EC, a global English Language School she participates in educational conversations in many countries. She has served as the first President of the Independent School Association in Malta , appointed as Pro- Chancellor at the University of Malta, worked with the English Speaking Union, and is today the Honorary President of the Malta Classics Association. Bernie Mizzi has also trained in educational leadership consultancy. She is passionate about film and has just co-founded the Storm Petrel Foundation which promotes Art, Literature and Popular Culture.

Mr Carmel Briffa

Mr Carmel Briffa is a career civil servant. Mr Briffa joined the Civil Service in 1977, serving for 36 years in the Inland Revenue Department, where he held several posts. His last post was that of Director of the Capital Transfer Duty Department, prior to joining the Office of the President as Secretary to the Presidency.

Mr Carmel Briffa is a Trustee of the President’s Trust , a member of the Supervisory Council of the Malta Community Chest Fund and a member of the Administration board of the President’s Foundation For The Well Being Of Society , a Foundation presided by H.E. the President.

Mr Briffa is married to Maria and has two children.

Mr John Camilleri

Mr John Camilleri worked for twenty-six years with the former Air Supplies and Catering Company Limited within the Malta International Airport, with half of this time as a Worker Director, before holding the position of General Manager of the Sabratha Duty Free Shops, within the Tripoli International Airport, for six years and of the Construct Furniture outlet in Tripoli, for another three years. In 2013 Mr Camilleri was appointed Private Secretary, and later Chief of Staff of the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity prior to holding the same position within the Office of the President.

Mr John Camilleri is a Trustee of the President’s Trust, Chairperson of the Board of Administrators of the Malta Community Chest Fund and a member of the Administration board of the President’s Foundation For The Well Being Of Society, a Foundation presided by H.E. the President. Mr Camilleri is married to Betty and has three children.

Dr JosAnn Cutajar

JosAnn Cutajar has had the opportunity to study in some of the best universities in the English speaking world. After obtaining a Masters in Sociology in Education from the Institute of Education, University of London, Cutajar won a scholarship to study for a Masters in Contemporary European Studies at the University of Sussex. In 1997 she won a Commonwealth scholarship which enabled her to study for a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE, University of Toronto. The dissertations and thesis submitted for these courses focused on gender, while adopting an intersectionality approach.

Before moving to the Department of Gender Studies, Cutajar was a member of the Department of Sociology. She still lectures in this department. She also teaches about feminist community research and gender and development in other university entities. Apart from lecturing, she also supervises students at diploma, B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. level.

In 2013 she was appointed Director of the University of Malta’s Cottonera Resource Centre. The remit of this Centre is to promote the tangible and intangible heritage found in the Cottonera and Kalkara area. The primary objective of this Centre however is to promote education in a formal and non-formal way. This Centre is also visited by a number of Maltese and foreign university students and professionals who want to learn more about the area, and/or want help in conducting research about and with the communities in question.

Apart from the teaching, community activism and administrative work a lecturer has to conduct on a daily basis, Cutajar has also been involved in a number of research projects. She has worked with the Employment and Training Corporation, Centre for Faith and Justice, as well as Ernst & Young as a social expert specializing in gender issues. Through the Centre for Faith and Justice she has conducted research for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and EIGE from 2010 to 2014. She was a member of the Commission for the Advancement of Women within the Ministry for Social Policy and Gender Issues Committee within the University of Malta.

Mr Michael Bianchi

The family firm established well over one hundred and fifty years ago where Michael Bianchi is an executive director has its roots in shipping, port services, bunkering, insurance, travel and property development. Michael Bianchi is however also involved in a range of other diversified activities outside the family firm in Malta and internationally and these include logistics, retailing, financial services, trading, yacht marinas, yacht repair yard, ICT, casinos, internet gaming, consultancy firms and other involvements. Michael Bianchi, responsible for Vodafone’s first international network in 1987, also was a founder member of Vodafone Egypt and is Vodafone Group’s longest serving Director. He founded other communication companies such as Terranet Limited, Malta’s first ISP and Russia’s first VOIP provider and pioneered and introduced to Malta a range of new services such as private hospitals amongst others, creating thousands of jobs in the Maltese economy. He is responsible for establishing the consortium MMLCL which owns and manages Malta International Airport and amongst other consortia he also founded the consortium that operates the Maltese National Lottery. He has also served as a consultant to many international companies and organisations such as Airbus Industrie, European Banks and others. Michael Bianchi is Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Austria and awarded the decoration of honour for services rendered to Austria. He is also a founder member of the Vodafone foundation. He is a board member on the Advisory Council of the American University of Rome. He was appointed as a Trustee of the Presidents Trust in 2015.

Profs Peter Mayo

Peter Mayo (born 1955) is Professor and Head of the Department of Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education, Faculty of Education at the University of Malta. From 2008-2012, he was Head of the Department of Education Studies in the same faculty. He is also a member of the Collegio Docenti for the doctoral research programme in Educational Sciences and Continuing Education at the Università degli Studi di Verona. He has taught in the areas of sociology of education and adult continuing education, as well as in comparative and international education and sociology in general. Before taking up the academic life, he was a school teacher and Officer in Charge of Adult Education (then Education Department, Ministry of Education, Malta). He holds degrees from the universities of Malta (BA Ed Hons), London (BA Hons English), Alberta (M.Ed Soc of Ed) and Toronto (Ph.D, Soc in Ed). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), London.

An invited keynote speaker at international conferences, he has held short-term visiting professorial appointments at the University of Alberta, University of Cyprus, Bogazici University (Istanbul), UBC-Vancouver (‘Noted Scholar’) and University of Gdansk. He has given talks and seminars throughout Europe and in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. He was Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London for the period March-15-July 15, 2014.

He is the author of numerous books and over a hundred academic papers published as chapters in books or articles in refereed journals. One of his books (Zed Books 1999) was republished in seven other languages. Another (Praeger, 2004) was granted an American Education Studies Association (AESA) Critics Choice Award in 2005 and a co-authored book (with Leona English, Sense, 2012) gained the 2013 Cyril Houle Award of the American Association for Adult Continuing Education (AAACE) for “outstanding literature in adult education”. Professor Mayo edits a book series on ‘International issues in adult education’ for Sense Publishers and another on ‘Critical education’ for Bloomsbury Academic, while he co-edits (with Anne Hickling Hudson and Antonia Darder) the ‘Postcolonial Studies in Education’ book series for Palgrave-Macmillan. He also co-edits (with Anne Hickling Hudson and Milosh Raykov) the refereed journal, Postcolonial Directions in Education. In 2011, he was given the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Higher Education SIG award for best published research article on Higher Education from an international and comparative perspective. His latest books include Politics of Indignation. Imperialism, Postcolonial Disruptions and Social Change (single authored, Zero Books, 2012), Learning with Adults. A Critical pedagogical Introduction (co-authored with Leona English, Sense Publishers 2012), Lorenzo Milani, the School of Barbiana and the Struggle for Social Justice (co-authored with Federico Batini and Alessio Surian, Peter Lang Publishers, 2014), Hegemony and Education under Neoliberalism. Insights from Gramsci (single authored, Routledge, 2015) and International Critical Pedagogy Reader (co-edited with Antonia Darder and João Paraskeva, Routledge, 2015).

Mr Winston Zahra

Winston V Zahra was born on the 18th November 1940. He received his primary education at the Montessori school and his secondary education at the Lyceum. He started his working life as an emergency school teacher, and after two years was selected to enter St Michael’s Teachers Training College from where he graduated as a full time school teacher. Winston spent thirteen years in the teaching profession, but decided to leave to start up a business.Together with his brother Tony, and with a very small capital, they started a car hire company, which over the years grew to be one of the largest companies within the hospitality industry, operating under the Alpine name. This included car hire, travel, a tour operating company in the UK, insurance as well as manufacturing. Ultimately it also included a hotel, the Riza in Qawra. After twenty years on the business, Winston decided to retire and sold his holding to his brother Tony.

The retirement lasted just a few months, when Winston started up another company, Island Hotels Group. The venture into the hotel business started with one small hotel of two hundred beds. Over the next twenty five years, the Company grew to incorporate four hotels, Bugibba Holiday Complex, Coastline Hotel, Radisson Blu Resort St Julians as well as the Radisson Blu Resort and Spa Golden Sands, with the number of beds growing to over 3000. The Company also had its catering arm operating under the name of Island Caterers Ltd. This company also operates the Costa Coffee franchise, in Malta as well as in Spain.

During the current year, Winston sold all his holdings to the Corinthia Group.Throughout his working life, Winston was appointed on various Boards and Committees, including President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, Chairman of the Marketing Board of the MTA, board member of the MCESD, board member of Caritas, council member of the University of Malta. He also sits on the board of a number of companies and is chairman of three different companies. These various appointments and lifetime experience lead to him being appointed CEO of the President’s Trust.

Winston has always been a keen sportsman throughout his life taking an active role, both as a player, as well as a member of the committees of the various sports organisation.

In 2008 he was awarded the Member of the Order of Merit for his contribution to the Tourism Industry.

Winston is married to Dolores nee Nunns and has two sons, Winston J and Trevor.

Ms Sarah Borda Bondin

Sarah Borda Bondin graduated from the University of Malta with a degree in psychology in 2002.Following this she has worked in various social care fields. She has experience working with homeless women and children in out-of-home care. In 2005 she studied for a post-graduate certificate in systemic thinking. In 2006 she started her journey in the field of irregular migration where she served as Service Manager for the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers. Throughout these years working in the field of migration she particularly focused on unaccompanied minors and vulnerable asylum seekers. She is also a national expert on age assessment. As Service Manager she was part of the senior management team in charge of the strategic development of the organization. Ms. Borda Bondin received a Masters of Arts in Policy, Management and Government from the University of York in 2012.