Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to join Eurochild as Honorary Member

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is currently the 9th President of Malta. She served as Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity in 2013-2014, taking office as President in March 2014. She is a tireless advocate for children’s rights.

As President she established ‘The President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society’ which, among other things, has pushed children’s rights up the political agenda and raised public awareness.  As member of Eurochild, the Foundation has piloted the National Eurochild Forums, engaging with children from all across the country to help understand the barriers and solutions to better child participation in decision-making. The campaign “You Matter - No Matter What” has reached thousands of children, and supported teachers and parents to better understand the importance of children’s right to participate.  

Working through ‘The President’s Secret Garden’ they have developed child-empowerment methodologies. They organise an annual conference on child well-being to bring together the lessons-learnt. The Foundation pays particular attention to involvement of vulnerable children, working with children in the care system, as well as migrant and refugee children. For example they host the annual conference series ‘Lost in Migration’ together with Missing Children Europe.  Children’s mental health, the fight against bullying in schools, and recognition of LGBTI families are also among the topics they have addressed since their establishment in 2014. 

In June 2017, the Fundamental Rights Agency organised a high-level symposium in cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council. In her keynote speech the President emphasised “the most powerful change happens when the political will is followed by effective legislation; when it is upheld by diligently implemented policies; and when it is sustained by an ongoing process of cultural transformation.”  Thanks to her efforts, and collaboration with Eurochild, the event was also attended by several children from across Europe who were able to address questions and debate issues around poverty and migration with the panellists.  Her Excellency is also a supporter of Eurochild and UNICEF’s joint efforts to bring children to the European Parliament on World Children’s Day. She will take part again this year in a panel debate on ‘The Europe Kids Want’.

Honorary membership is offered to individuals considered to have made an outstanding contribution to furthering awareness and implementation of children’s rights in Europe.  This summer, the Management Board took a decision to invite Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro-Preca as Honorary Member in recognition of her achievements.  Members will be invited to give their formal endorsement prior to next year’s General Assembly, along with the candidate members whose application to join the network has been approved by the management board since the last GA.

Members can also see Her Excellency’s video address to our recent conference in Opatija here.