University of Leicester honours the President of Malta

Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of the Republic of Malta, has been made an honorary graduate by the University of Leicester.

The University bestowed the honorary degree at its graduation ceremony on Friday 18 January 2019 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.

Coleiro Preca is the youngest President of the country, and only the second woman to occupy the office of Head of State in 35 years. Her Excellency is the ninth President of the Republic of Malta.

Commenting on her honorary degree, Her Excellency thanked the University of Leicester “for the honour which they have bestowed upon me,” adding that “this is a truly memorable moment in my life, which I will treasure forever.”

President Coleiro Preca commended the University of Leicester for being an inclusive university, which promotes the most important values of our humanity such as human dignity.

"These are values which I treasure so much. Through this, I truly feel connected with this wonderful University. I feel so honoured to have been chosen to be connected to this University,” The President said.

Her Excellency dedicated this honour to all the children in Malta, the United Kingdom, and all over the world - but in particular to the 264 million children around the world who as yet do not have access to education, adding that these children are being still denied one of our very fundamental human rights, and also another fundamental children’s right, which emanates from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, of which we celebrate the 30th anniversary this year.

Soon after taking office as the President, Coleiro Preca established The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the first of its kind, which is focused on promoting social dialogue and fostering unity and a culture of peace among people.

Other initiatives that she has established include the President’s Trust, which aims to support individuals and communities through education, empowerment and training.

Coleiro Preca has been active in politics for forty years, starting at the young age of 16. She has dedicated her life to the social wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society, and has greatly influenced changes in the social policies of Malta.

In 2013, prior to becoming the President of Malta, she was appointed Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity. During her term of office, she initiated a variety of key reforms, notably in the area of social housing, welfare and the social benefit system.

Coleiro Preca graduated as Bachelor in Legal and Humanities and as Notary Public at the University of Malta. She is an international speaker and has received several awards for her contributions to public life.

Professor Paul Boyle CBE, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “I am delighted to welcome Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to our University family. Her Excellency has dedicated herself to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in Maltese society and has been a strong advocate for women’s rights. She is involved in a range of international projects and she joins the ranks of illustrious figures honoured by the University who continue to inspire our graduates by their achievements and stories.”