Entrepreneurs, political advisors, theologians, academics, environmentalists and public officials… few would imagine such a wide range of backgrounds could ever find common ground. And yet, these are precisely the divergent views brought together under a single umbrella: the Today Public Policy Institute, the newly formed public policy think tank led by former Din l-Art Helwa President Martin Scicluna, met for the first time on Monday at the Din l-Art Helwa premises in Valletta to consider its future programme of work.
The executive board of The Today Public Policy Institute consists of a board of up to 15 individuals from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, and a Director-General who organises the institute’s work and chairs the Board.
Introducing the think tank members, Scicluna said that he had been very fortunate to be able to assemble a group of individuals of high calibre who would bring to the Public Policy Institute a very wide range of experience, disciplines and backgrounds. “What they all have in common is independent-mindedness, public spiritedness and good judgment,” Scicluna said.
From the business world there are former Sea Malta chairman Marlene Mizzi, MCA CEO Joseph V. Tabone, NECC chairman and MISCO managing director Joseph F.X. Zahra, Air Malta chairman and MISCO director Lawrence Zammit, and economic consultant Jacques Sciberras.
From the world of academia there are anthropologists Jeremy Boissevain and Ranier Fsadni, international relations expert Stephen C. Calleya, University lecturer Mary Darmanin, University of Malta Rector Juanito Camilleri, and former University rector and PN adviser Father Peter Serracino Inglott
Also on the Board are Executive Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion of Equality Sina Bugeja, retired physician George Debono, former Ombudsman Joe Sammut, and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Michael Zammit Cutajar.
With all these independent-minded people on board, will this think-tank be able to agree on its reports? Scicluna’s reply was that an effort will be made to reach a consensus. “However there will be instances when there will be no agreement,” he added.
Most importantly, as Martin Scicluna stressed, “The Today Public Policy Institute is an autonomous, non-political and not for profit, non-governmental organisation. It is not affiliated to any political party or movement. Its mission is to help in the development of sound public policies and to promote public understanding of issues of national importance.”
The Today Public Policy Institute will focus on five policy areas – Governance and Public Administration, Sustainable Economic Development, Social Development, Environmental Sustainability and International Relations.
Scicluna underlined that he had received very warm letters of support and encouragement from both from both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
He very much hoped that sponsorship and financial support from foundations, charitable institutions and other public spirited corporate bodies would be forthcoming as this would enable the kind of detailed research that was needed to be commissioned.
Already, MediaToday, publishers of MaltaToday Midweek, Atlas Insurance and Shireburn have generously stepped forward to give support. One private individual had also made a generous contribution. He hoped other public spirited bodies would do the same.