EAN launches the MALTA Declaration Process against Bullying

martedì 12 Luglio 2016

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ean-malta-webAn urgent call on Europe and society to deal with the ever rising problem of bullying was launched at the 3rd International Conference of the European Anti-Bullying Network (EAN) in Malta. On the margins of the conference the President of “The Smile of the Child” from Greece was re-elected at the Presidency of the Board of Directors and Emeritus Professor Peter Smith Honorary Member of the Board.

The conference was held in Valletta and was honored by the participation of the President of Malta, HE Ms. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, the Minister of Family and Social Solidarity, Dr. Michael Farrugia, and other Maltese dignitaries.  Members of the network from different EU Member States, public officials, institutional actors from Malta, the academia, professionals active in the field of child protection, as well as children took part in this high-level conference, hosted by EAN member from Malta, Families for Lifelong Learning.

The conference emphasized the absolute urgency to address the widespread and still growing problem of bullying in our society and highlighted a number of recommendations to the Member States and European Institutions for specific actions to combat bullying. An EAN Declaration of Malta is to be the platform for the process of pursuing this objective from within the European Anti-Bullying Network.

Bullying and its various forms are a major concern in schools and among children, teachers, parents and practitioners”, said in her welcoming address Her Excellency the President of Malta, Ms. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, pointing to the growing extent of the problem. The President of Malta commended the role of the network in highlighting the need for an anti-bullying European strategy through a multi-national approach and encouraged EAN to pursue its efforts for the establishment of a European Anti-bullying Day.

In his welcoming words, the Minister of Family and Social Solidarity, Dr. Michael Farrugia, said that “bullying needs to be addressed not only among children, but in a wider context, while support has to be provided to both bullies and bullied children”, whereas he presented relevant national policies.

The 3rd International Conference taking place in Malta marks the next step in the development of the network and the fulfillment of its goals”, said the President of EAN and President of “The Smile of the Child. Mr. Costas Yannopoulos referred to the work and institutional consolidation of EAN at the EU-level: After the establishment of the network following the 1st international conference in 2014 in Athens, the 2nd conference at the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels placed the network at the heart of the European Institutions. The 3rd annual conference in Malta puts the emphasis on the continuity of the network.

Apart from this strategic approach, the conference offered participants ample opportunity to exchange useful experiences and practices such as awareness campaigns, tools and programs dealing with specific forms of bullying, such as homophobic bullying, practical approaches within school communities, working and prevention methods, as well as the use of arts and in particular of cinema storytelling in the schools.

The keynote speaker of the conference, Peter Smith, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of London, presented major studies on cross-national differences in bullying and demonstrated how differences in the research results reflect the overall difficulty in collecting and interpreting data, whereas Maltese Commissioner for Children, Pauline Miceli, referred to the growing extent of bullying as a daily phenomenon.

During the event a team of students from local Maltese schools presented their direct experience and views on the problem, the way they are dealing with bullying incidents in their school environment either as bullies, bullied or bystanders. Children developed a TV spot on how to stand up against bullying.

The day preceding the conference, the General Assembly and the Board of Directors of the network were also held in Valletta. The members elected their new Board of Directors with the President of EAN and “The Smile of the Child” being re-elected for a period of two years. The members also elected, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of London, Peter Smith as a Honorary Board Member.

The newly elected Board of Directors consists of:

President: Costas Yannopoulos (Greece), Vice-Presidents: Maria Rita Bracchini (Italy), Paul Dalli (Malta), Secretary General: Peter Dankmeijer, (Netherlands), Treasurer: Paul Dalli (Malta), Members: Nicola Daley (United Kingdom), Robertas Povilaitis (Lithuania), Ioana Sandru (Romania), Rossanka Venelinova (Bulgaria).

More photos from the event can be found here.

For more information: press@antibullying.eu / Tel:  +30 210 36 06 050

EAN was established in 2014 as a result of the respective EU-funded (Daphne III) project and was officially registered in Brussels in March 2015, while today it already comprises 21 members from 16 EU Member States (Bulgaria, Belgium, Estonia, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK). The Presidency of the European Anti-Bullying Network is held by the Greek NGO “The Smile of the Child”.