Exhibition: Women in Malta – Maria Pisani

Women in Malta Amanda_Hsu_WIM_4980 Exhibition: Women in Malta - Maria Pisani

Women in Malta Amanda_Hsu_WIM_5151 Exhibition: Women in Malta - Maria Pisani

Locations: Malta Chamber of Commerce

Maria Pisani – Academic and activist

Maria is that kind of woman who talk softly but words are strong and powerful. She believes in what she believes firmly. When she talked about the NGO she is running and the situation with refugee, she talks a like a good politician while she is not in any political party.
“I almost feel guilty when I don’t read news for a day.” She said it was once she was on holiday. I find this is quite a cute and funny statement.
I admire her spirit to fight for human right, especially for the people who are powerless to fight for their rights.

Q& A
1)When you feel down, what you usually do to make

yourself feel better? How do you deal with stress?

I escape – generally speaking I just need some time on my own, quiet time, an hour or so, to get my head in a good space. I have learnt that it’s ok to switch off from the world and just disappear, some time out, again, just for an hour or so, but I need it, and today I don’t feel guilty for taking it.

2)What you enjoy the most about your work?

I am an academic and also run an NGO, my activism informs my academ- ic work and my academic work informs my practice. Both give me satis- faction. I enjoy learning, sharing and developing knowledge; being a part of a dedicated and like-minded team. Perhaps ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word, I take some comfort in the knowledge that I am not ignoring social injus- tices – and perhaps our work can make a tiny difference to the lives of a few individuals who face injustice on a daily basis.

3)Have you been professionally photographed before?

How did you feel? (Before the shoot with Amanda)

This was the first time I got ‘’made up’ for a photo-shoot, actually, this was the first time I was ‘made-up’’, it’s not really my thing, so I was not looking forward to the make-up and hairdresser, and was convinced I would end up looking and feeling like a trussed up turkey – I don’t like dressing up – I like my jeans. So on the day I was having second thoughts. But I met Amanda and the girls, and decided to embrace the moment and go with it… and it was fun!

4)If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?

Take time to breathe. It’s okay to be you, don’t be scared to do things your way. In life we make mistakes, learn from them and take another leap. Love and be open to love.

5)When things get tough, how do you keep your- self going?

Time out. Cry on a couple of special shoulders. Then keep on going.

6) How do you define success?

My thoughts on success have changed a lot over the years. For me ‘success’ is not about what a person has achieved per se, or the work they are doing. Today I would define success as the ability to learn from mistakes, being okay with whatever decisions and sometimes difficult choices we have to make. For me ‘success’ is not about what a person has achieved per se, or the work they are doing. Success is more a state of mind, its about being at peace with yourself and your loved ones.


Dr. Maria Pisani holds a BA and MA in Youth & Community Studies, and a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Malta. She previously held the post of Head of Office (Malta) for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). During this time she was responsible for a number of key projects related to refugee resettlement, AVR, and human trafficking, amongst others.

Maria is also a practitioner and an activist, and the co-founder and director of Integra Foundation. Her ongoing involvement in the field provides an opportunity to keep the dialectic relationship between theory and practice alive, providing the space for critical knowledge production towards social transformation.

Maria has published in international journals and contributed to a number of edited books and has been appointed as key expert in a number of inter/national research studies. She is also Editorial Board Member on the international journal Disability and the Global South (www.dgsjournal.org) and Guest Editor for the special issue, ‘Disability, Asylum and Migration’ for Disability and the Global South.

Her research interests include forced migration with a special focus on gendered migration; youth studies; critical pedagogy, political mobilization and social transformation; exploring the citizenship assumption within Western epistemologies, policy development and practice; the deconstruction of Western and other dominant epistemologies and practice: engaging praxis as a project of transformation; social injustice and the intersectionality of inter alia race/ethnicity, gender, age, legal status, disability; applying post and neo-colonial theories to the study of (forced) migration, critical pedagogy and social justice issues.

Links about her:



Women in Malta 2015 Project log page