JCI Malta

Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) Awards

Outstanding young people who work hard for the betterment of their societies deserve every drop of recognition.

JCI Malta held its Ten Outstanding Young People of Malta (TOYP) Awards, on 11 December 2021, to celebrate the achievements of young people working in all sectors of society.

See below who went home with a highly-renowned TOYP award!

Ten Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) Awards
Ten Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) Awards
TOYP Awards JCI Malta

2021 JCI TOYP Award winners


This award serves as a nod to the outstanding efforts of individuals and organisations contributing towards education, by developing means to improve the current educational system.

Sponsor: 21 Academy

Nominee: Dr Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone

How does the nominee excel in this area?

With a second monograph (Generation Precarity: Working Conditions in a Marketised University System) in progress and three co-edited books (two forthcoming: Video Games and Comedy with Palgrave; and The Double Binds of Neoliberalism with Rowman & Littlefield), Krista is an active researcher and participant in her academic communities. She has additionally published 13 peer-reviewed articles with international journals (two forthcoming) and 6 book chapters. She is a research fellow with the Centre for Critical Thought at the University of Kent, and is a member of the Global Digital Human Rights COST action network of researchers. She is currently also a research assistant with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, on a refugee law project researching search and rescue zones in the Mediterranean. She has over a decade’s experience teaching undergraduates and postgraduates, and has specialised in higher education studies at Masters level, becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Krista has contributed to the local community in various ways – for example, she has delivered lectures for the University of the Third Age, and has been an invited speaker or panel participant in several events open to the public. She has also been invited to speak in academic contexts, and has presented her research at a number of international conferences.



Krista currently lectures at the University of Malta, primarily in the Department of English. She has also lectured at the University of Kent, the Jagiellonian University, and San Francisco State University. She has degrees in literature, law, education, and a PhD in drama. Her scholarship is interdisciplinary, across the humanities and social sciences, and she seeks ways to inventively combine these in research and practice, actively engaging in outreach with an eye on giving back to the community.

Nominee: Dr Edward Duca

How does the nominee excel in this area?

The largest of these initiatives is the national science and arts festival, Science in the City. Prior to the work of Dr Duca, Malta only had a few small-scale science communication initiatives. He started this project to bridge the divide between citizens and researchers and to experiment with creative science communication platforms. A decade later, Science in the City has grown into a national institution, attracting up to 6% of Malta’s population annually. Two thirds of the Maltese population know about the festival, and over half have attended. In 2021, the festival won Malta’s first STEM Engagement award for best STEAM project.

For over a decade, Dr Duca has been an active member and leader of several NGOs, international societies (13 in total), large-scale EU projects (10 in total), international courses, peer-reviewed publications (7 in total) and other affiliations. Since 2020, he was appointed as the University of Malta’s Rector’s Delegate in STEM Popularisation (Engagement). He has led and established a significant amount of Malta’s public engagement with research and outreach initiatives. This work helped train hundreds of students, academics and professionals to develop their own science communication projects and/or transdisciplinary research. These ambassadors have had a worldwide impact. 

His aim is to continue undertaking transdisciplinary research to develop evidence-based communication for an informed democracy and active citizenship. He wants to embed a culture of public engagement and research that benefits society.



Dr Edward Duca is a Science and Innovation Communication Lecturer at the University of Malta, the Editor-in-Chief of the research magazine Think, and organiser of the science communication course STEAM Summer School and SciCulture. Dr Duca is also the leader of several large EU funded projects, and has created and managed several science communication events through the NGO the Malta Chamber of Scientists.

winner: Dr Sarah Cuschieri

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Dr. Cuschieri has published several articles focusing on diabetes mellitus type 2, obesity, and medical scientific writing in international peer-reviewed journals. Since the onset of COVID19, she is one of the leading Maltese researchers on COVID-19. On an international level, she forms part of a European Scientific Experts collaboration group researching COVID-19 in Europe. Furthermore, she is actively involved in several collaborative European research projects, particularly focusing on the burden of disease and small European states. Moreover, she supervises several medical students research projects and urges all her students to publish their work in international journals. Indeed, this year she set up a pilot summer research opportunity for all medical students with the aim of exposing these students to research designs and analyses.

She is the author of the published Springer book “To Do or Not to Do a PhD? Insight and Guidance from a Public Health PhD Graduate”. Currently she is working on her second book “A roadmap to successful scientific publishing – the do’s, the don’ts and the must knows”. Both academic books aim to provide a guideline to students and early career researchers in their studies and research endeavours. Additionally, she had authored several book chapters focusing on her research interests. Dr. Cuschieri has been invited as a keynote speaker in international and local conferences, as well as presenting her research work on national and international levels in several conferences.

In 2018, she co-founded the first non-governmental organisation (NGO) targeting Obesity in Malta. She is currently holding the position of president of the Malta Obesity Association. As president she leads an obesity-related webinar series with the aim of enhancing medical knowledge among the general population.



Dr. Sarah Cuschieri graduated as a medical doctor in 2011. She studied for a postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Diabetes Mellitus at Cardiff University, Wales (2012 – 2015), obtaining a distinction and being awarded the silver award of excellence by Cardiff University, Wales. After completing her medical training, she took up a full-time academic and research career at the University of Malta in 2013. In 2019, she completed her Ph.D. studies focusing on the “Burden of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, dysglycaemia and their co-determinants in the adult population of Malta. During the same year (2019), Dr. Cuschieri also obtained a certificate in Public Health Epidemiology by the University of Utrecht. Since then, she has been focusing her research on current issues involving COVID-19, climate change and non-communicable diseases

Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishment

This award is promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth by rewarding significant entrepreneurial actions, both on a local and international level.

Sponsor: Zampa Debattista

Nominee: Arthur Mallia

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Coming from a ‘family business mentality’ means that you know all employees, their abilities and what they represent. At Uniplast Ltd we are firm believers that if we take care of your employees, they will take care of our clients in terms of quality and on-time production. We provide ample training to all members of staff to ensure they reach their full potential and entrust them with decision making roles, because we appreciate that not everyone has been presented with the same opportunities throughout their life. This allowed Uniplast to adapt well to the economic struggles brought about by COVID, and despite our humble beginnings, we were able to keep working in full capacity thus ensuring the livelihood of all our employees, and their families, because to us people are not just a number.

I joined Uniplast Ltd more than two decades ago when I was still studying at the Technical Institute. I have always been taught that in order to appreciate what it takes to make a business work you need to know how to do all tasks at every level within the hierarchy. Hard work, dedication and perseverance are all traits that have made it possible for me to take on the role of CEO in the business’s second generation. I am truly thankful for all opportunities, work relationships and colleagues that have made Uniplast a success.

Nominee: Celaine Mizzi

How does the nominee excel in this area?

In 2020 during the pandemic, Celaine was very active on her page by sharing all the activities she was doing with her children while sharing her ideas with other parents. As the things were still not clear and there was a lack of activities due to the pandemic and the festive season was getting closer Celaine came up with the idea of creating an Activity Christmas Box for children filled with different educational activities and fun games that can be enjoyed by all the family. This idea was a success as it cheered a lot of children and was sold out in a couple of days. After that box, other boxes followed.



Celaine Mizzi is a creative person who loves creating and loves to come up with new things, new ideas, new thoughts. She is also a mum of 2 young children who inspire her all the time. She works as an LSE currently on a career break, which gives her more time to share her knowledge with other parents. She’s also the founder of Baby’s First Adventure Malta and Decorate Your Biscuit.

Nominee: Elisia Buhagiar

How does the nominee excel in this area?

In 2018, realising that she couldn’t find the kind of childcare services that she wanted for her son, Elisia decided to set up her own childcare service and fill a gap in the market.


At the age of 18, I followed in my father’s footsteps and started working with him at 4 Homes Real Estate as a Letting Consultant and Secretary juggling 2 jobs at the same time. At the time my father was concentrating on Tas-Sold Construction Ltd. so, being the tomboy that I am, started involving myself in Tas-Sold Construction Ltd taking care of all the paperwork. After having my son in 2018 at 26 years old, it was very hard to find the ideal childcare centre since I wanted a place that had high standards since my son would be spending 8 hours a day in their care. Since we owned a garage ourselves we decided to apply for change of use of the property and 8 months later our childcare centre was opened. It was the most satisfying project I did in my 11 years in the working world.

winner: Matthew Caruana

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Matthew provides help and guidance to many people who are looking to set up their business and are finding their way around the start-up industry. Many people managed to start a business thanks to his support and mentorship. Apart from this, Matthew also offers his time to voluntary organisations as a mentor for young entrepreneurs and start-ups, giving them the knowledge and confidence that they need to work towards succeeding in their business goal. He is interested in and close to the social enterprise community side of business and supports the work done in relation to SDGs. Matthew offers more help than just that related to crowdfunding campaigns; he is always available to guide people in the right direction for more funding and more support, and also connects people together to help each other.



Matthew Caruana is a business innovator, coach and mentor with a proven track record for driving project success from the grassroots up. Passionate about start-ups and entrepreneurship, Matthew’s involvement has been integral to the successful launch of countless projects across various economic and social spheres.

His extensive career so far has seen Matthew’s role extend from project management and e-business analysis, to the management of entire operations. Since 2016, he has driven Zaar – Malta’s leading crowdfunding platform – and has grown it into a nationally-recognised brand. In this position, he has excelled at taking numerous start-up projects through their critical early days and helped them to become successful. His achievements include coaching and mentoring students in the Climate KIC accelerator programme, JAYE and in the international Masters programme SMARTUP, as well as judging several start-up competitions, and speaking at numerous conferences about crowdfunding, entrepreneurship and alternative finance both locally and internationally. Beyond that, he has also made his mark as the country expert at the European Commission workshop, DG GROW Workshop on Alternative Finance and FinTech, in recent years.

Matthew continues to strive to positively transform Malta’s start-up scene, whether through lobbying, collaboration, mentoring, and even policy making. He sits at the forefront of this important sector of the Maltese business landscape and continues to be one of its most passionate drivers and advocates, believing it to be essential for the future of local economic success. 

Contribution to World Peace and/or Human Rights

This award recognises those individuals using leadership skills to contribute to world peace and end inhumane conditions to lead to a more peaceful future. 

Sponsor: Fino

winner: Dr Natalie Psaila

How does the nominee excel in this area?

As an active member of Doctors for Choice Malta, Dr Natalie Psaila advocates for improved access to contraception, better sexual health education, and the decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion in Malta. She believes that people deserve to have complete agency over their bodies and reproductive lives. 

 Through her work as a private GP, she discusses sexual health with many girls and women and helps support them with their needs. She is one of the volunteers of the pro-choice FPAS helpline that offers free, non-judgemental advice on reproductive matters. Natalie has spoken about and campaigned for better reproductive rights on various media, including newspapers, television, radio and on her Facebook page. Moreover, she has written a practical sexual education book aimed at tweens to dispel common myths about sexual health.

Natalie sits on the Council of the Malta College of Family Doctors. As part of her role as the College’s Education Secretary, she works for the advancement of the GP training programme in Malta and mentors doctors in their journey to achieve specialisation in Family Medicine. She is confident that investing in tomorrow’s family practitioners means that the general public will have the high-quality medical care which it deserves.



Dr Natalie Psaila was awarded her M.D. in 2007 by the University of Malta. She is a specialist in Family Medicine and holds memberships with the Malta College of Family Doctors (MCFD) and the Royal College of General Practitioners. Natalie is one of the co-founders of Doctors for Choice Malta, which was launched in 2019. She also volunteers on the Family Planning Advisory Service (FPAS) helpline which provides pro-choice and non-judgmental reproductive advice. As a GP Trainer, she dedicates significant time in teaching, and helping junior doctors achieve specialisation. She is also the Education Secretary and a Council Member of the MCFD.

Nominee: Samantha Pace Gasan

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Ms Samantha Pace Gasan was appointed Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability in January 2021. She is the first woman to occupy this position. The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability works to address discrimination and injustice on the basis of disability, while respecting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability in Malta. Apart from leading the Commission which has around 40 members of staff, in her role as Commissioner Samantha is emphasizing the importance of unity in the sector in order to make the voice of people with disability stronger, and also the role played by the different sectors in including people with disability in Maltese society.


Samantha is 27 years old, graduated with a Bachelor of Honours in Social Policy in 2016 and recently a Masters in Creativity and Innovation. In the latter, Samantha focused her studies on social innovation in small and medium enterprises in Malta. She experienced the disability sector from different perspectives through her sister who was born with Down Syndrome, and when she also developed the invisible disability.

Nominee: Dr Alexia Ellul

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Her pro bono work is aimed at the vulnerable sectors of society, in particular children and young adults, and other adults who have been victims of abuse or are overcoming trauma. Dr Ellul also takes particular interest in social and educational inclusion.    

Her pro bono work includes having been a member of the working group that drafted national standards on residential childcare. She was consequently engaged by the government in a number of policy-drafting projects.  A former elected member and legal advisor of the MAPSS executive committee, Dr Ellul was also actively involved in a European Local Project that earned a European Social Cohesion Award. Dr Ellul still provides pro bono legal support to some voluntary organisations.



Dr Alexia Ellul graduated in law in 2008. From litigation and debt collection management, she moved to management and consultancy positions in the financial services industry. She currently runs her private legal practice and is the proud mother of Jimmy and Raiden.

Cultural Achievement

This award calls all visual and performing artists whose practice brings about a social consciousness, by means of their subject matter or materials.

Sponsor: Corporate Gifts Malta

Nominee: Jonathan Dalli

How does the nominee excel in this area?

The Jonathan Chetcuti Programme – Jonathan Dalli co-founded The Jonathan Chetcuti Program, to honour his very close friend and business partner, Jonathan Chetcuti.

Jonathan Chetcuti (1978-2020) was a passionate sports lover excelling in tennis and volleyball. He spent more than half his life playing competitive volleyball, obtaining more than 100 caps with the Malta National Volleyball team, of which he was captain from 2003 to 2012. During his career he won all top personal and team honours with three different teams. Jonathan was also the Co-Founder and now Guardian Angel of The Concept Stadium. Chetcuti lost a hard-fought battle to illness in May 2020, passing away aged 41.

We’re specifically referring to it as Program not Programme, to draw an association with Jon’s love for computing, AI and marketing.

Jonathan Chetcuti believed that sports was the foundation for life, or in his words “the university of my life”. The principles he learned from sports – dedication, determination, discipline, respect, camaraderie and above all, the importance of having fun – guided him throughout his life. This also led Jonathan to be one of the founders of The Concept Stadium, a company built on these same values he learned from, and inspired by, sport. Jonathan was privileged to have represented Malta three times at the Games of the Small Nations of Europe (Lichtenstein 1999, San Marino 2001, Malta 2003); and twice during the European Volleyball Championships (Malta 1998, Andorra 2002); an honour he deeply cherished.

One of Jonathan’s lifelong dreams was the setting up of a facility to help young athletes realise their potential, hone their talent, push themselves further and make their country proud. Wearing the shirt was of particular importance for Jonathan, both for his country and for his club/s.

Jonathan’s life may have been cut short, but his principles outlive him, in the various initiatives he spearheaded and in those around him. This initiative will keep Jonathan’s legacy alive and fulfills his dream to give back.

The Jonathan Chetcuti Programme awards, through a personal contribution of Jonathan Dalli and Elaine Bonello (Chetcuti’s wife) an athlete to excel for the love of sport.


Jonathan Dalli is Founder and CEO at the Concept Stadium. He is passionate about Strategy as well as Corporate Social Responsibility and its link to Brand Marketing. In fact, he wrote a thesis about it. He graduated with a first-class Management Honours degree from the University of Malta, having previously studied at the Institute of Financial Services (UK).

As CEO, he’s responsible for the overall management of the company, including Business Administration & Development, leading a team of professionals and creatives. In addition, he consults on Marketing Strategy for a number of business concerns, as well as reputable local and international brands. His constant drive is targeted to create and define a culture of Commercial Creatives, in which aesthetics and business performance objectives could co-exist and create their own eco-system.

Jonathan also delivers several keynotes to students and business professionals in a number of fora, including entrepreneurship seminars as well as to university students. He was also involved in various NGOs including President of the University Commerce Students’ Association (ASCS); Executive Member of the University Students’ Council (KSU); Secretary General of the National Youth Council (KNZ – Malta); Member of the National Commission for Sustainable Development and EU Youth Affairs Commission Member of the European Youth Forum in Brussels.

Nominee: Jeremy Grech

How does the nominee excel in this area?

When the pandemic hit, like most businesses, the art sector was badly hit. Yet for most artists, the worst of the worst came about in 2021. The scene had almost dried up completely, the arts sector was in the dark…yet life around us was going back to normal. The call for arts started out as an angry Facebook rant, yet, it spread like wildfire and as it gained traction and more artists started to join in the cause, I realised that this was greater than what it was supposed to be. I used this in our favour and did my best to represent my fellow performers in a meeting with the minister of art and culture to address our issues and voice our concerns. However, this was never a me movement, this is a we movement. At first, I was afraid to speak out on the media, I am usually quite quiet on Facebook, yet, through all the support I got from my colleagues, it would have been a waste to put the call for arts to rest without seeing an end to it! Once the meeting was held with Hon. Jose Herrera, the next day (be it by luck or persistence) we got a date on when we will be able to operate once more. The call ended with a dramatic yet poetic video ‘HEMDA’ which represented the state that most artists where in. I believe I was nominated for this reason, for being a voice not only for myself but also for our community. I was quite happy in fact when some students came up to me asking for assistance on how to go on about creating their own petition and starting a small movement. I am happy to have been an inspiration, but even happier that I stood with my colleagues, mentors, and competitors, as one whole community! Later on, through this, I was lucky invited to join the MEIA to further be an activist in the arts sector.



Jeremy Grech is a 24-year-old artist from the sunny islands of Malta. Apart from art, he is also very passionate about the island’s history, in fact, before venturing into the arts, Jeremy wished to become an Archaeologist (in an Indiana Jones way). Yet his biggest passion lies with knowledge, if there is a subject of interest, passion will surely follow, and this often leads to him binge researching the subject at hand. Although, his favourite subjects usually consist of Gemmology and Pirate history, which is often reflected through his fashion sense! As an artist Jeremy lives by this quote ‘Sic Parvis Magna’, which translates to ‘Great things shall come from small beginnings! No matter where you start from, however small or big you or the obstacle might be, everything is achievable, you just have to start small…and in the end you’ll make it.

winner: Alexandra Alden

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Alexandra has released two albums to date- one EP which launched her onto the local music scene with two number one hits, and her follow-up full length album titled ‘Wild Honey’ which is in part, an ode to the countryside framed in the context of the Maltese Islands and the importance of preserving it for generations to come. This album was released during her successful time as a judge on the hit television show, ‘XFactor Malta’ which gave the album the platform it deserved for her audiences to hear this message.

Besides this, the title song ‘Wild Honey & Thyme’ was performed in all international shows across Europe during promotional tours. Her message and story reached audiences in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium as well as Malta and Gozo, most notably in the non-partisan anti-corruption concert in Valletta 2020.

Alden’s upcoming album, Leads to Love, is a collection of songs that meditate on her past, present and an imagined future. It is a reflection of the inner world in between worlds which Alden balances her life upon and uses the metaphor of the Butterfly Effect to highlight the importance of conscious decision-making, instead, using the metaphor of a Ladybird found in a bare apartment. In this sense, the new album continues to highlight Alexandra’s core values.



Alexandra Alden is a musician from Malta and has lived in three different countries and moves house at least once a year- not necessarily due to her own choosing. For some reason, she can’t seem to stay put in one place for too long. This could be due to extremely bad luck, or due to the fact that fate chooses to push her in and out of moments of comfort and subsequently- discomfort.  It’s in the midst of these transitions that Alden’s songs come to life, signalling the end of a chapter and the start of a new one.

Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

This award recognizes those who promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Sponsor: UP Your Level

Nominee: Tonio Galea

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Being a relatively small student organisation, Studenti Ħarsien Soċjali has not been very popular among the students it represents. Together with my colleagues, we have revitalised our organisation and made our students aware of it. We have also organised several campaigns to raise awareness on several issues within our society and raise awareness on the Social Policy and Social Work degrees at the University of Malta. We are also planning to organise multiple fundraising activities for other voluntary organisations throughout the year and voluntary opportunities to encourage our students to involve themselves in voluntary organisations and reduce student apathy.



Having been in the tourism industry for the past eight years, I have felt that I should spend my time doing something to help improve and empower our society. At the age of 28, I have embarked on a journey to drastically change the industry I work in, to the family and individual services industry, specifically in Social Work. I have started reading for the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Work at the University of Malta last year and am also the president of Studenti Ħarsien Soċjali, a student organisation representing Social Policy and Social Work Students.

Nominee: Hayden Pesci

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Hayden was nominated for the voluntary act done earlier this year. The project involved collecting 200 Easter eggs from around the island using only public transport in a span of three days, prior to Easter – this meant that apart from performing the good deed, he was also promoting the use of public transport in a bid to help the environment. The routes were not easy as there were times when he was in the north of the island and had to be in the south of the island within the hour. Eventually, the Easter eggs were delivered to Puttinu Cares and Creche respectively. Hayden also produces videos and content to help encourage other youths.



Hayden Pesci is a 20-year-old student who studies media and communication. He is also the vice president of the voluntary organisation Atturi Żghażagh Sliemiżi. Amongst being the vice-president of AŻS, he also is a content writer for local football team Swieqi United and is also the Events Manager for Erasmus Malta in Mcast.

winner: Dr Viviana Premazzi

How does the nominee excel in this area?

With GMD I help people and organisations to promote diversity and inclusion all over the world. Unfortunately, people are afraid of the cultural diversity and resistant to change. My aim is to equip them with intercultural skills so that they can enjoy the beautiful worlds around them and feel at home wherever they are in the world and support companies and organisations to promote anti-discrimination, anti-racism, integration, diversity, equity and inclusion projects and policies. I created GMD after an emergency surgery where I discovered to have endometriosis – and since then I am also a strong advocate for endometriosis awareness. After the doctors saved me, GMD was my way to give back to the community for everything I have received in life. As my parents educated me, I actually started giving back in my own little community in Northern Italy working as a volunteer for migrant children and their families and later as a researcher, trainer and social worker supporting projects for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Europe, Brazil, North America and now Malta. Being nominated and recognized for my work for the JCI TOYP award is already an incredible honour.



Ph.D. in Sociology of Migration, MA in Intercultural and Interreligious Conflicts Management, Viviana is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Intelligence at the University of Malta, trainer for the Institute for Education and consultant for the UN-IOM. For the past 12 years, she has worked as a consultant and trainer on diversity and inclusion, antiracism, anti-discrimination, migration and integration for corporations and not-for-profit organizations in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East. In 2018, in Malta, she founded Global Mindset Development GMD Malta to help companies, organizations and individual to enjoy the cultural diversity around them and work effectively across cultures.

Nominee: Tiziana Gatt

How does the nominee excel in this area?

This idea arose from listening to parents’, especially mothers’, concerns and their experiences, and deeming that something needs to be done to achieve better quality of life, especially in this day and age whereby individuals are overwhelmed with the amount of work and various commitments that they need to tend to. Being a parent herself she can relate and understand the needs of these parents, and she is striving to put ideas into a feasible actionable project. 

Biography: Tiziana has been into the world of volunteering from a very young age. She is passionate about the social realm and how we, as individuals and as citizens, can contribute in various ways. Tiziana has been networking and chasing various individuals and entities to work with them in creating a more supportive and sustainable structure that supports parents, in particular mothers, in their initial phases into the journey of parenthood. 

Medical Innovation

This award looks to celebrate individuals who create activities, strategies, products and services that empower communities’ and individuals’ health as well as improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society through medicine.

Sponsor: VEONIO

winner: Rebecca Caruana

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Rebecca believes that Research is fundamental in medicine; asking the question “Why?” and “How?” increases the understanding of science and medicine by facilitating critical thinking and appraisal. Her medical journey in research and medical innovation began by writing several medical contributions in various local newspapers, joining an international team and publishing her first free e-book called “COVID-19-The Reason why the Earth Stood Still 2020.” Her intention of researching the new COVID-19 pandemic during its offset was purely to help society in getting true information about the virus and the prevention of its spread. Rebecca also forms part of the COVID-19 response team within the Public Health Division. 



Rebecca Caruana is 24 years old and the eldest of three siblings. Her love of medicine grew from a dissection of a pig’s heart during a biology lesson. After obtaining her first aid certificate at the age of 16 she served as a volunteer with St. John’s Ambulance. In 2018 she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She is currently furthering her studies at the faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Malta and is currently a fourth-year medical student. Rebecca is also an animal lover and this also makes her a vegetarian by choice.

Nominee: David Sciberras

How does the nominee excel in this area?

I believe that my work in combining 3D Printing with various niches is unique and innovative in itself. In 3 years, we have applied 3D printing to a vast number of niches. Automotive jigs and spare parts, prosthetics, model making, dental, cosmetics & fashion, marine, gaming & trophies. The way we approach products and manufacturing is completely unique to us, in that we apply 3D printing to every stage of the design cycle. Whether this is a life size model of a pit bull, a new ergonomic design for a wheelchair, or a fast, 5,000-piece production run, we’ve tackled it all. 

The pinnacle of this was our work during the COVID outbreak, where we collaborated with Mater Dei & CPSU to design and manufacture 3D Printed visors that can be sanitized and reused. Within 5 days, we were manufacturing 300 visors per day, with the help of 3D Printers all around the island. We donated over 20,000 visors to various healthcare services, as this was a non-profit effort. We then designed adapters to combine new filtration, with old Ebola-era respirators. This was done within 16 hours, as this was the urgency required. Agility and hard work are in our blood. 

Within 3 years of Invent 3D, we have grown from a 2-person team in a 16m2 garage, to a 9-person team operating out of a 500m2 factory space, running 140 3D printers and exporting daily.



After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer, I worked as an Innovation Engineer at Toly, discovering an intense love for 3D Printing and Prototyping. A few years later, I graduated with a Masters in Integrated Product Development. Coupling this with my love for 3D Printing, my wife and I decided to open our own company in August 2018, at the age of 25, focusing on innovative applications of 3D Printing & Design. I love inventing and making things, specifically innovative products and approaches that tend to disrupt the status quo, taking traditional ideas of manufacturing, and improving them.

Nominee: Anthia Zammit

How does the nominee excel in this area?

In the past ten years, Anthia developed Malta’s only legal practice focusing on life sciences and healthcare law. An extensive body of international, commercial, and regulatory law, and an intricate supply chain, are behind advancing medical innovation to provide patients with medicinal products and therapies. Anthia’s contributions to The Life Sciences Law Review and The Healthcare Law Review featured Malta for the first time, putting it on the map as a notable jurisdiction in medical and pharmaceutical law. Anthia acts for multinational companies in transactional and regulatory matters including contract negotiation and drafting, market access, licencing, EU and national marketing authorisations, distribution, application of pediatric and orphan medicines regulations, clinical trials, pricing and reimbursement, regulatory compliance, advertising and labelling, anti-bribery and anti-corruption provisions, EU risk management plans, enforcement actions by EU and national competent authorities, pharmacovigilance, advertising and labeling, regulatory data protection, and intellectual property of medicinal products (including biologics and biosimilars) and medical devices. She has also advised one of the Covid-19 vaccine developers granted a conditional marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and an emergency use authorisation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).


Anthia is admitted to the practice of law in Malta (EU) and is a legal consultant in the State of New York (US). She was Malta’s delegate to international law expert working parties, including the EU–US Legal Advisers Dialogue at the United Nations (Sixth Committee—Legal) in New York. She served as legal counsel to the Healthcare Business Section of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry, and worked for Malta’s national competent authority regulating medicinal products and the pharmaceutical industry–The Medicines Authority. She was a member of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) Policy Advisory Committee, a not-for-profit non-governmental-organisation that through its work in public health and health advocacy defends the human rights and interests of over 150 million patients in Europe. She has also been invited to international healthcare conferences as a keynote speaker and delegate to the European Commission. Anthia earned her Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) and Doctorate of Laws (LL.D) from the University of Malta, and obtained her warrant to practice law. Her dissertation Pharmaceutical Law in the EU and USA: The Impact on Public Health and the Pharmaceutical Industry earned her the European Commission’s and World Health Organisation’s Young Gastein Scholarship.

Environmental Leadership

For those who have adopted sustainable practices relating to efficiency in use of water, waste, packaging, transport, and energy, contributing to the reduction of our carbon footprint by means of these and other innovative solutions.

Sponsor: Farsons Group

Nominee: Steve Zammit Lupi

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Steve has been involved in several organisations and through his involvement in local politics strives to always be of public service to his community and the common good.


Steve was elected as an independent councillor in Ħaż-Żebbuġ in 2019, the only candidate to successfully get elected without a political party in the local council elections in Malta, with only 2 other candidates succeeding in Gozo, out of 700+ seats in 68 localities.

Nominee: Anna Horvath

How does the nominee excel in this area?

The name of the project, SORĠI, is derived from the Maltese verb ‘Sorga’, which means an anchoring ship or a person about to feel tired and sitting down. In this context, SORĠI is intended as an invitation to sit down, literally, and observe the ever-changing Maltese built landscape from a different perspective. SORĠI is an ongoing research project about opportunities for circularity in Malta, whose first outcome is an outdoor furniture collection for public spaces, highly critical of the booming construction industry. Six benches inspired by six buildings affected by the local construction frenzy will stand both as a memento of today’s choices and a suggestion for tomorrow’s actions. All pieces are in fact made of recycled construction waste, mainly limestone, encouraging people to question the island’s developments and their impact on the environment, from a social and historical perspective too. Every piece tells the story of the building that inspired it and, through an interactive label, invites the user to delve into an online database of information about Maltese architectures that were (or will be) swept away by the construction frenzy: Ta’ Rita (Ghar Lapsi), Roxy Cinema (Birkirkara), Sun City Palais (Marsaskala), Marsa seafront, Twin 19th Century houses (Spinola Bay), Dolores (Zejtun). With structurally simple solutions and site-specific designs, SORĠI turns construction waste into interactive outdoor furniture for Maltese public spaces, providing practical solutions for the alternative use of the sheer number of discarded materials that keeps accumulating on the island while promoting circularity and raising awareness on environmental issues within a larger audience.



Anna Horváth is a narrative designer and architect who works in various disciplines of visual arts, also taking into account exhibition, installation, and furniture design. She graduated with an MA in Narrative Environments from Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London and has participated in numerous design and architecture projects from small to large scale structures in London, Berlin, Lisbon, Budapest, and Malta. She is currently creating her playful design brand: AHA Objects, which is a world of colours, textures, and narratives. She is representing Malta for Eco Solidarity at the WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF online Trade Show – CLOSEUP 2021, and at the WantedDesign exhibition with her second collection: SORĠI. SORĠI is an outdoor furniture collection for Malta’s public spaces made from construction waste to highlight the importance of our architectural heritage in Malta.

winner: Neil Agius

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Neil’s Wave of Change campaign wants Malta to be free from single-use toxic plastics. Athletes, swimmers, and other wavemakers are taking on extraordinary challenges to raise awareness about how this issue is affecting the Maltese seas. In 2021, several people, including an 8-year-old, took it upon themselves to set swimming challenges with the aim of raising awareness about the environment.


Neil Agius is a former swimmer of the Maltese National team and held several National records. He founded the “The Wave of Change” campaign in hopes to draw attention to the sheer amount of plastic making it into our seas. The campaign, which started out as a challenge between friends to go to the beach and pick up three pieces of trash, has snowballed into a national campaign supported by politicians, businesses, and a large number of individuals. In 2020, he swam around the island of Gozo in 10 hours, while in 2021 he swam from Sicily to Malta – a swim of 125.75 km in 52 hours.

Journalistic Accomplishment

This award recognizes coverage by journalists, bloggers, and writers that, as a result of their work, have made an impact in the way of public awareness, democracy, sustainability, human rights, environmental protection, social justice, and equality.

Sponsor: JPA

winner: Lara Calleja

How does the nominee excel in this area?

For the past decade and a half, my life and my writing has always revolved around political issues, stemming from a personal sensibility to the social hardships that others are enduring. I am the opposite of passive, and not doing anything spells out guilt and lack of responsibility from my end – so being politically active with partisan-neutral entities, such as Moviment Graffitti, was and still is my way of doing my bit for the world outside.

Controversy has always taken a backseat when it comes to writing; as long as what I wrote always spoke about relevant truths. So, in my first debut novel ‘Lucy Min?’ for example, I wrote a lot about female sexual promiscuity and casual drug-use. I was the first Maltese woman to talk openly on such topics and in such explicit details. The writing in ‘Lucy Min?’ stemmed from a sense of urgency to challenge the very foundations of female roles and notions within the Maltese society. EUPL-prize winner Kissirtu Kullimkien, my second book, is also of a political nature where it challenges current political issues such as immigration and over-construction. 

My writing has now also extended to the theatre, with my first play Taralalla and the write-up of a Monologue about local female issues in Malta – both will be featured at Spazju Kreattiv between 2021-2022. Currently I also write with Gadgets Malta – a blog platform that focuses on positive innovation towards the betterment of people’s quality of life. Most of the articles I work upon revolve around history, sustainability and sexual identity.



After her 2016 debut novel ‘Lucy Min’, in 2020 Lara published her second book Kissirtu Kullimkien (You Have Destroyed Everything). The book landed her with two awards as ‘Best Emerging Author’ by the National Book Council and ‘Best Emerging Author’ prize by The European Prize for Literature. Her book is also currently being shortlisted for ‘Best Novels for 2020’ by The National Book Council. The book challenges hot political topics such as over-construction, sexual identity and immigration.

In summer 2020, Lara was commissioned to write her first-ever theatrical script. Her play Taralalla will be featured in Valletta’s art hub Spazju Kreattiv next October 2021. Lara was also recently commissioned by the same entity to write a monologue as a commemoration for Women’s Week in March 2022.

Lara has also been a political activist for more than 15 years, with groups like Moviment Graffitti and former newspaper Realtà, that sparked the abolishment of Malta’s archaic censorship laws. Currently Lara works as a freelance writer with different entities including Gadgets Malta, where she focuses most of her articles on sustainability, feminism and history.

Nominee: Anna Mercedes Fava

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Anna Mercedes says that data visualization is a passion of hers which can be used in various sectors for policymaking and business. She started her blog specifically to show people that they can have better politics, in terms of ethical standards, and also to inform others how to think more critically when it comes to voting and active citizenship. She also publishes data related to politics and economics, which she either collects herself or obtains from other sources. 


Anna Mercedes is currently the Secretary-General of the Astronomical Society of Malta, digital marketing executive with MaltaToday and a socio-political blogger at Politiquette. She works closely with grassroots movements involving social and environmental justice, as well as animal rights.


Monique started off wanting to become a doctor, but did not make it to enrol for medicine, so instead she took up a science degree in biology and chemistry which she never completed. Having dropped out from university, she ended up working three jobs simultaneously, as she saved up to travel to India. After months travelling, she came back and worked in a café before going travelling again; this time on a one year EVS project in Turkey. She ended up staying an extra seven months after the project. Having learnt the language, she wanted to work there, so she decided to give it a try. Later, she decided to read for a degree in International Relations with anthropology as a subsidiary area. She focused mainly on the Middle East during her studies, with her research project being a dissertation on democratic federalism and the situation in Rojava. She ventured into journalism after Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered. Coming from an activist background – she was a public relations officer in Greenhouse-Malta, volunteered with organisations such as Moviment Graffitti and Migrants’ Solidarity Movement, co-founded Front Harsien ODZ and Civil Society Network, and was a PRO for the National Youth Council – she thought journalism was a natural step. Throughout these past four years, since she first joined Newsbook, she progressed from a junior reporter to a senior journalist. Being part of the local media landscape, she feels that she has a duty towards readers especially when it comes to their right to be informed. She also has a duty to bring to light stories which the media could help in bringing about positive change. The audience has a right to information, which is accurate and just, and she continues to strive towards this goal on a daily basis. She believes that by making people aware of the issues around them, through concise and clear writing, bringing forward the facts, a more educated society can make an informed decision.

Political, Legal and/or Governmental Affairs

For those active at a political level in their communities, whether as part of the government, on a local council or affiliated with a political or pressure group actively working towards any SDG.

Sponsor: Maritime MT

winner: Dr Martina Farrugia

How does the nominee excel in this area?

As a legal professional with a strong ethical background, Martina believes in speaking up for human and civil rights. “I am proud of the fact that my voice resonates with people and that I have hopefully inspired other people to be vocal about the problems in their country and to stand up and do something about them. I am also proud of having helped maintain the protest memorial outside of the Law Courts which led to a landmark constitutional court judgement issued against the Minister of Justice for breaching Protestors’ rights to freedom of expression.”



Martina is a Marine Litigation Lawyer by profession with a strong history in civil activism. She has participated in various speaking engagements over the past few years, including having participated in almost every single vigil that has been held since Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Martina was also nominated for a JCI Malta TOYP award in 2020.

Nominee: Damien Spiteri

How does the nominee excel in this area?

As a young Mayor, Damien tried to instill a new culture and mentality within the management of the Munxar Local Council. Since the Local Council has limited finances, Damien worked on various funding opportunities and during these past two years he managed to obtain EU funds to kickstart large projects in the locality through a lot of dedication, work and responsibility. 



Damien has been the Mayor of Munxar (Gozo) since 2019. Before that, he served for four years as the Minority Leader within the same Local Council. He is directly involved in the local community and performs a lot of voluntary work. He also assists local voluntary organisations, especially the Munxar Falcons F.C. and has assisted them in various local funding opportunities. 

Nominee: Daniel Darmanin

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Daniel always wanted to contribute towards a change of narrative around the themes of politics, society and the economy. True to his values, this narrative is underpinned by social justice and people-centred. With his appointment as president of the Justice & Peace Commission, Daniel started working on reformulating – in a bid to promote the common good – the traditional way of measuring economic success and growth in our country. As part of the study entitled ‘Beyond GDP’, Daniel together with a bespoke team, proposed the inclusion of a six-pillar framework, which include the need for a more just economy that not only focuses on economic growth but looks at the wider picture. Namely income and wealth, housing, education and skills, jobs, health and lifestyle and environmental quality. It also serves as an invitation for a societal framework which doesn’t exclude anyone. 


In recent years, Daniel, within the context of the Justice and Peace Commission has also contributed to the debate about the rule of law and good governance in Malta by, amongst other things, facilitating a debate leading up to the MEP Elections as well as issuing a statement one month after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. At present, the Commission is inviting members of the public to listen to the voices of all victims of injustice in the lead up to the General Elections.



Graduated with honours from the University of Malta in Architecture and Civil Engineering in 2007, his passion for social justice and sustainable development led him to read for a Master of Arts degree in Social Justice & Community Development from Loyola University, Chicago. From a young-age Daniel has been involved in the voluntary sector and has served in various roles in the community. In September 2017 he was appointed by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna as the President of the Diocesan Commission of Justice & Peace. In 2018, Daniel was elected by the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions to serve on its Executive Council of this organisation, which aims to promote the Church’s commitments to development, justice, human rights and peace.

Scientific and/or Technological Development

An award recognising individuals that have created some form of technology or application to achieve objectives related to nutrition, sustainability, inclusion, education, and equality.

Sponsor: The Concept Stadium

Nominee: Wilbert Tabone

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Technology in general and artificial intelligence are advancing at a rapid rate. While advancements in the infrastructure itself is important, it is essential that an important interaction partner is not left out, i.e., the human. My work focuses on how the interactions between AI and humans could be made more transparent and trustworthy, specifically in relation to automated and autonomous vehicles. During the past year, I have published a position paper on the future urban environment, infrastructure, and communication strategies. Additionally, I also published novel augmented interfaces for pedestrian-automated vehicle interactions, which aim at assisting vulnerable road users to navigate the urban environment of the future, when augmented reality technology and automated vehicles are more pervasive. My hope is that such work would reduce the dangers in our roads, leading to lesser accidents and fatalities. In general, the aim of my work is to use technology for good and improve people’s quality of life during everyday interactions in the digital realm. Technology should be understandable, transparent, safe, and most important of all – it should be developed with humans in mind.



Wilbert Tabone is a researcher in the areas of human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and the application of technology in the arts and cultural heritage.  He graduated BSc. (Hons.) with first class honours in Creative Computing from the University of London and later read for an MSc in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malta, conducting his research at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Wilbert is actively involved in the cultural, technology and education sectors, and is also an activist for a number of Maltese and international NGOs, including the Commonwealth Youth Council. He is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellow at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands working on the interaction between humans and AI, while also conducting research on perception of artistic works. Wilbert formed part of Malta.AI, the Malta National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, tasked with formulating Malta’s national strategy on AI.

Nominee: Francesca Soster

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Cetaceans are charismatic species that easily capture public and media attention as well as political interest. Furthermore, remarkable is their role as a keystone indicator for the health and balance of the ocean. More specifically, bottlenose dolphins, that regularly occur around the Maltese islands, are sentinels of the coastal marine ecosystem, revealing the status of our sea.

However, lack of data hinders cetacean conservation and lack of education exposes these animals to several risks. Understanding the behaviour of dolphins in relation to anthropogenic activities (aquaculture and coastal fisheries), which is the focus of my study, can provide information on modification of habitats or alterations in food distribution and availability.

In addition, my work merges science with education, disclosing the issues that are threatening the survival of these species, on different levels. Besides operating for the implementation of conservation measures on a regional scale, educating people for a sustainable lifestyle has a significant, direct, and positive impact.

It is important to emphasize the crucial role that science plays in this respect. Science informs, influences, inspires and it’s at the heart of conservation to protect nature. In my work, I provide scientific evidence to support education and to show how every little action of everyday life has an impact on the environment. Likewise, positive change and trend reversal can be measured and used to generate more positive behaviours.



After graduating in textile engineering and working as Innovation and Sustainability Project Manager in a luxury company for almost ten years, I decided to leave my former position to dedicate my life to cetacean research, which has always been my dream since I was a child. Volunteering for almost more than two years was a choice I took at 34 years old, which allowed me to gain experience in fieldwork and deepen my knowledge on several aspects of cetaceans’ biology with a focus on behavioural ecology. Malta finally gave me the opportunity to find job as researcher and environmental educator for EcoMarine Malta, a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable tourism and the conservation of the marine environment. Whilst educating people about the importance of the ocean, I’m currently carrying out a study about the impact of anthropogenic activities on the coastal population of bottlenose dolphins.

winner: Simran Mohnani

How does the nominee excel in this area?

Outside of her day job, Simran is passionate about reshaping standard perceptions of engineering to champion diversity. At Deloitte, she chairs Codename MAXINE: a D&I Tech network designed at expanding the pipeline of female and other under-represented talent in Technology Integrations. Their ‘Inclusive Tech Terminology’ initiative was designed to convert racially charged, gendered and ableist words into more inclusive alternatives and is being rolled out across clients, software partners and their Business Operations team of 1,500 consultants.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter revival, Simran also co-founded Deloitte’s Speak-Up pillar, one of five pillars in Deloitte’s Consulting Black Action Plan. Simran led the production of an educational series called ‘Keeping It Real’ as a means for colleagues to share lived experiences of discrimination and was involved in commissioning a research report investigating barriers & facilitators to speaking up against workplace racism. The D&I blog she co-created and edited over the last year serves to spotlight BAME people and projects across the 550-person Systems Engineering offering.

For the last 8 years, Simran has also worked with the London International Youth Science Forum, a UNESCO-sponsored residential forum annually bringing together 500 students across 70+ countries to hear from leading scientists. Since graduating two years ago, Simran has established herself as a prominent voice for diverse leadership in STEM and has spoken at multiple events including: MuleSoft’s EMEA Women Who Mule panel, Bath’s Women in Engineering Networking conference, the University of Sheffield’s International Women’s Month celebration, and hosted Deloitte’s Consulting-wide Christmas People & Purpose panel alongside the UK Consulting Lead to 1000+ people.



Simran is a Maltese Chemical Engineer who works as an Industry4.0 Consultant within Deloitte’s London practice, designing Factories of the Future through smart manufacturing and digital supply chains. She currently heads up the Training workstream at a global contract manufacturer, working to upskill hundreds of operators in accelerating COVID-19 vaccine production via digital lean operations. Before this, Simran worked as a Process Engineer at the Mondelez International ‘Cadbury’ factory and developed automated chocolate cooling strategies within their R&D Advanced Process Control team. As the only female in her factory department, Simran felt first-hand the lack of diverse representation in industry and has been working to broaden access to STEM opportunities ever since. She has been nationally recognised as one of the Salters’ Institute’s Top 5 UK Graduate Chemical Engineers as well as one of the UK’s TechWomen100 leaders and 2021’s Top 100 Future Leaders on INvolve’s EMpower Role Model list for her leadership potential in industry and championing women in STEM.

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TOYP Award Sponsors 2021

Ten Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) Awards
Ten Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) Awards
Awards History

About TOYP

Since 1983, JCI has honoured more than 300 individuals from 57 nations. Past recipients of national TOYP awards include such well-known personalities such as John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Elvis Presley, Jackie Chan, Wayne Gretzky and many more, all honoured before the age of 40 and before they had achieved national prominence. Honourees selected in past years have represented the heights of progress in numerous human endeavours. Many have gone on to even greater achievements. All have continued to serve humanity and create impact in a great variety of ways.

Young men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 may be nominated in one of ten categories. The top 10 honourees out of all the nominees are then selected by an international panel of distinguished judges and by votes from the public. The 10 chosen local honourees will then be nominated for the international JCI TOYP with the chance of being recognised as one of the most outstanding young people in the world during an international JCI World Congress.