Anne Scicluna


Anne Scicluna represents Chichester in southern England, which has been a member of the association since 1991.  Anne is a long-standing Chichester City Councillor and has been Mayor of Chichester three times.  She is a trustee of the Chichester Walls Trust, (which is a registered charity), and conducts tours of Chichester city, Chichester Cathedral, and Chichester Walls.  She has been Vice-President of the European Walled Towns for several years and has attended more than twenty symposia of EWT across Europe.   She also spent more than twenty years as a trustee of Pallant House Art Gallery in Chichester and is a founder committee member of the annual Festival of Chichester, which is an arts and cultural festival held for a month every summer.

Mr Leslie Vella


Leslie Vella is a graduate of the University of Malta with a BA (Hons) in Business Management.   He has a 35-year career in tourism with the Malta Tourism Authority where he has occupied various senior management positions in the organisation and is currently Deputy CEO and Chief Officer Strategic Development.  His major expertise is in the fields of Policy, Strategy, Tourism Research and Planning.  Leslie has also been very active on the international front with a 17-year stint as Chair of the European Travel Commission’s (ETC) Market Intelligence Group between 1997 and 2014 and also served as ETC’s Vice President between 2016 and 2017.  He is currently Malta’s Focal Point to the UNWTO.  In 1999 he co-authored a study on “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Malta”, and more recently in 2015 was the main drafter of Malta’s National Tourism Policy document covering the period 2015-2020.  Amongst his duties at the Malta Tourism Authority, he currently manages the setup responsible for executing Malta’s Airline Route Development Strategy.

Valletta Symposium Speakers

Dr Alexiei Dingli

Prof. Alexiei Dingli is a lecturer at the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Malta. In 2005, he was elected councillor on the Valletta Local Council.  His local council responsibilities included youth, education, the social aspect and work. He coordinated a large number of projects, the biggest amongst these being the setting up and coordination of the Valletta Community Network. The project served as a catalyst to speed up the creation, by the central government, of the first community centre in Valletta.   Prof.  Dingli believes that his country offered him a lot; free educational and health services of the highest quality and an environment rich in fundamental values which made him what he is today. His beliefs are targeted at achieving the common good and directed by Christian-Democratic principles and values. Alexiei Dingli was elected Mayor of Valletta in June 2008.

Dr Deo Debattista

Dr Therese Comodini Cachia

Dr Debattista was first elected in Parliament in 2013 from the first electoral district which is made up of the residents of Valletta, Floriana, Hamrun, Marsa, Pieta and St. Venera.   He served as a member in the Council of Europe and Parliamentary Committee Chairman of Valletta 2018.   Dr Debattista is responsible for Valletta 2018 and its legacy, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA), Malta Medicines Authority, Malta Laboratories Network, National Accreditation Board, Data Protection and the Directorate of Public Cleansing. He graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in medicine and surgery in 1988.  

Therese Comodini Cachia graduated in law in 1997 and holds a Ph.D. in human rights law. She is a lawyer by profession working in the field of human rights. She has been representing victims of human rights violations since 1997 through court proceedings both before the Maltese courts as well as before the European Court of Human Rights. She has also been heavily involved in NGOs having acted as their legal advisor. Her work with NGOs has kept her abreast of the perceptions held by and the social needs of different groups in society. She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta and coordinates the Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation. Comodini Cachia has actively participated in the Nationalist Party and was a member of the Commission for the revision of the Statute and Party Structures. She is also seen as a point of reference for the Parliamentary Group having contributed to a number of positions including amendments to the Constitution of Malta. Therese Comodini Cachia is a former Member European Parliament on behalf of the EPP and was elected Member of Parliament in 2017. She is the Opposition spokeswoman for the Media, Culture and National Identity.

Dr John Ebejer


Dr. John Ebejer lectures in the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture of the University of Malta.  Before dedicating himself full-time to academia, he worked as an urban planner and tourism consultant.    Over 25 years professional experience, he was involved in numerous urban planning projects and initiatives including the Tourism Master Plan, the Structure Plan for the Maltese Islands, various local plans, action plans and development briefs.  From 2000 to 2011, he was a consultant to public sector agencies on public projects and on tourism product development. Dr. Ebejer coordinated several projects funded by European Regional Development Funds.   He graduated as an architect and civil engineer from the University of Malta in 1987 and was awarded a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Sheffield in 1992. He completed his doctorate at the University of Westminster in 2015. His research was on the tourist experience of historic areas, using Valletta as a case study.

Mr Brian Smith

Brian Smith was appointed Secretary General of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions by the Council of Europe in October 1999. Brian has 18 years experience as a Director in local government managing departments with responsibilities covering architecture, heritage, traffic, economic development and urban planning. Heritage Europe promotes the interests of historic towns and cities through international cooperation, sharing good practice and promoting sustainable management. Under Brian’s leadership, Heritage Europe membership covers 32 European countries with over 1,200 historic cities represented. Heritage Europe has organised over 20 Symposia and study visits and participated in many EU projects aimed at identifying and disseminating good practice and developing policy guidance. 

Mr Joseph Spiteri


Joseph (Joe) Spiteri is the President of the European Walled Towns, a position he has occupied since 2012. He represented the City of Valletta within the organisation since 1999.  He was elected Local Councillor for Valletta on the first round of Local Councils elections held in Malta in 1993.  He was re-elected in the subsequent local elections of 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2008.  He served as Deputy Mayor between 2005 and 2013. He is a Public Service employee holding the grade of Executive. Over the years, he contributed extensively within the European Walled Towns, taking a proactive role.  He also had an active role in the Archway Project between 2004 and 2007 which focused on developing a Pan European network of Walled Towns, enabling them to share information and exchange best practice on issues that affected them all.  The project was undertaken by various Walled Towns, members of the European Walled Towns.

Dr Marie Avellino Stewart


Dr Marie Avellino Stewart is the Director of the Institute for Tourism Travel and Culture at the University of Malta. She is also the Vice Chair of the Supervisory Committee for Interpret Europe.  Prior to entering academia over a decade ago, she had amassed over 30 years of tourism, training and management experience. She is an anthropologist with a special interest in tourism, memory, identity and the circuit of culture, together with cross-cultural management experience.

Prof George Cassar

Comm. Prof. George Cassar teaches at the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture of the University of Malta. He has authored and edited numerous publications in the areas of History, Education, Social Studies, Sociology, Heritage, Culture and Tourism. He is editor of the journals Sacra Militia, Arkivju, and The Educator. Among the various research interests he focusses on heritage interpretation and cultural tourism. He is very active in EU projects and has extensive experience in the management and execution of such projects.