“Young people must be the game changers to achieve equality in our societies”- President of Malta addresses DCU's Women in Leadership Lecture Series
Dublin City University has welcomed the visit of the President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to the university today (Monday, February 11th) as part of the University’s Women in Leadership Lecture Series.
President Preca delivered the opening lecture as part of the Mary McAleese Women in Leadership Lecture Series, a series of lectures featuring a range of high profile successful women leaders who share their stories including the challenges they faced in becoming role models.
During a wide ranging address in front of a large audience President Preca focussed on the issue of women’s rights stating that “women’s rights are human rights” and that “gender equality must be at the heart of our democracies.”
“Last December, the international community celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Universal UN Declaration of Human Rights. This year ahead of us is providing us with an opportunity to affirm the full force of the United Nations declaration, by endeavouring further and harder for equality and women’s rights … as women’s rights are human rights.”
Preca, who is one of only two female heads of state within the Mediterranean region also highlighted the importance of young people’s participation in the democratic process.
“Such participation is imperative, because I believe that young people must be the game changers to achieve equality and equity in our societies. We definitely need the participation of our youth in the political life of our countries, not only to combat negative gender stereotypes, but moreover, to provide positive and relevant perspectives for an ever changing world.”
She expanded further, drawing upon her own experiences and highlighting ongoing efforts to achieve gender equality.
“Achieving gender equality is also part-and-parcel of the global commitment, made by all of our governments in 2015, to implement the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. In particular SDG Number 5 highlights the importance of gender equality, equity, and empowerment, and a sustainable investment in the potential of all of our children.”
This international commitment is all the more important when we recognise that 1 in every 8 persons in the world is a girl, who has unique challenges, needs, and aspirations for the future.”
Preca is highly regarded for her valuable contribution to women’s rights and gender equality and for her dedication to the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society.
In 2014 she became the ninth President of the Republic of Malta. She is the youngest President of the country and the second woman to occupy the office of Head of State after 32 years.
President Preca has won numerous international accolades for her contributions including the United Nations’ Agent of Change Award; the WPL Award 2017 by Women Political Leaders Global Forum and the UNESCO Gold Medal for her contribution to the promotion of peace in Malta, throughout the Mediterranean, and globally.
In welcoming President Preca, Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU spoke about the important ties between Ireland and Malta :
“Her Excellency is renowned for her valuable contribution to women’s rights and gender equality and throughout her Presidency has established several initiatives that have helped drive change in Malta’s social policies. We are honoured to have her visit DCU today to share some of her insights and experiences. There are strong political, economic and cultural ties between Ireland and Malta that go back many years, but it is our shared values and outlook on democracy, rule of law, human rights, international cooperation and sustainable development that will provide the foundations for the development of such ties into the future.”
-Pictured President of Malta Maire-Louise Coleiro Preca