Interview: Malta's national librarian expects stronger cultural cooperation with China

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VALLETTA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Cheryl Falzon, National Librarian and chief executive officer (CEO) of Malta Libraries, foresees closer cultural cooperation between Malta and China based on mutual understanding and appreciation.

"China has a very rich history, civilization and culture, and I am sure many people would be interested to learn more about this," Falzon told Xinhua in a recent interview.

She thinks highly of China's Global Civilization Initiative, which stresses the importance of respecting the diversity of civilizations and strengthening international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

Understanding other countries' cultures would help people accept, respect and integrate into a multicultural environment, she added.

Malta Libraries has been collecting publications on various subjects to donate to Jinling Library in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. The aim is to offer Chinese people an opportunity to learn about Malta, a small island country which is also rich in history, culture and traditions, she said.

Falzon expects these books to be transported to China in June. It will be the first time for Malta Libraries to donate books to a Chinese library. She hopes to further expand cooperation with Jinling Library in the future and to collaborate with more Chinese libraries as well.

Malta Libraries is the entity responsible for the National Library of Malta, the National Library (Gozo), the Central Public Library, the Gozo Public Library, all regional and branch public libraries on the Maltese Islands as well as the National Bibliographic Office.

As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malta, Jinling Library donated more than 200 books to Malta Libraries in October last year, launching the first "Window of Chinese Books" program in Europe. The books cover fields such as ancient Chinese literature and art, history, geography, contemporary Chinese politics, economy, culture, tourism and food.

Although Falzon has yet to visit China, she has a profound interest in Chinese culture. When these books were donated, she was the first to borrow one, she said.

These books have helped both the Chinese community in Malta and other people to learn about various subjects, such as the history, culture and traditions of China. Many are available in English or bilingual, enabling those who are not fluent in Chinese to explore the richness of Chinese culture, Falzon said.

Malta and China have a long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship, she said.

Since 2018, Malta Libraries has been collaborating with the China Cultural Center in Malta. Falzon said she expected to strengthen cooperation with the center, noting that the various events organized there, targeting diverse audiences of different age groups, have significantly promoted cultural exchanges and deepened bonds between the people of both countries.

Regarding future cultural cooperation between Malta and China, Falzon said, "I believe that we need to continue our collaboration and include each other in relevant cultural activities to strengthen the ties that are already present."

Despite the geographical distance between Malta and China, she is confident that increased travel between the two countries will "bring our people and countries even closer together." Enditem

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