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Gozo events launched for the CHOGM taking place this month

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Gozo events launched for the CHOGM taking place this monthThe Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo has highlighted the Gozo events for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that is taking place in Malta between the 27th and 29th of November.

Present for the press conference on Monday, hosted by the Minister for Gozo, were Ms Myn Garcia, Deputy Director – Commonwealth Foundation, Christopher Formosa, Head of Operations CHOGM Taskforce, Ms Jacqueline Micallef Grimaud, Chairperson – Commonwealth People's Forum Steering Committee, Ms Rita Vella, Secretary Commonwealth People's Forum Steering Committee, Ronnie Vella CHOGM Taskforce and John Byrde Communications Officer, Commonwealth Foundation.

Ms Garcia and Ms Micallef Grimaud also addressed the press conference.

Following a minute of silence observed in memory of the victims of the Paris attack, Minister Refalo expressed his thoughts about the senseless terrorist attacks that have shocked the world. Minister Refalo expressed his solidarity with the people of France and all those who have experienced similar attacks.

The Minister explained that on Thursday, the 26th of November, Gozo will be hosting a delegation from the Commonwealth People's Forum (CPF).

This year, the CPF will investigate 'resilience.' In today's world of growing threats and crises – linked to climate change, fluctuating financial markets, conflicts and epidemic diseases, building resilience is now widely accepted as a policy response and a development planning objective. Exchanges of experiences, learning and opportunities to interact with policy makers will be facilitated through a range of formats including 'Gozo Day' which will provide opportunities for experiential learning on good practice in the field.

"For this purpose, the CPF Committee have chosen to showcase Gozo and, the delegation, will visit various private industries that form part of this resilient island community. These industries are at the forefront of enhancing Gozo's resilience through the skills, livelihoods and products they provide."

Minister Refalo said that on Thursday, the Commonwealth Writers will host a short story workshop on Gozo, as part of the Commonwealth People's Forum. The workshop is aimed at new and emerging Gozitan writers, as well as new, unpublished writers from the island of Malta, who write in Maltese and/or English.

Participants were chosen through a call for participation. The workshop will be led by short story writers Clare Azzopardi from Malta and Jacob Ross from Grenada and the UK. It will cover topics such as idea generation, writer's block and story structure. The workshop will be targeted towards the needs of the writers attending the workshop.

Then on Saturday, the 28th of November, a Roundatable of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers will be held in Gozo. The Roundtable is part of the CHOGM Official Programme. It is not a formal meeting but an opportunity for Ministers to talk with each other and it will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, George W. Vella.

The 2015 CHOGM theme, 'Adding Global Value,' will provide a focus for the discussion. All concerned will be concluded with lunch which will provide the opportunity for further interaction and informal discussions.

On Saturday, a Gozo field trip will be organised for the spouses of the Commonwealth Heads of State, including Mrs Michelle Muscat and the spouses of the Commonwealth Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

They will cruise on the MS Hera around St Paul's island and Comino, before disembarking in Gozo for some sightseeing. They will have lunch which will hosted by Mrs Babli Sharma, wife of the Commonwealth Secretary General followed by local coffee and pastries hosted by Mrs Refalo, wife of the Minister for Gozo.

Minister Refalo welcomed with pleasure these visits, saying that they "will add value to the island as well as promote Gozo worldwide. These visits will continue to increase awareness about Gozo as a destination that can offer so much to all those who visit it."

Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri

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