Its aim is to recognise Maltese people working in the field of art and science who have excelled in their work and in so doing helped to improve the image of Malta and its scientists in the international field.
Apart from the prestigious recognition, the award includes a fund of ten thousand Euros.
This year the Marie-Amélie Gleizes-Dewavrin Award was dedicated to the field of science. The winner, Professor Agius, was presented with his award at the by the French ambassador, M. Jean-Marc Rives at a ceremony at the French residence in Zebbug.
Judges said Professor Agius was recognised becasue he had established the basic concepts for the utilization of the marine environment for fish farming in Malta and subsequently a healthy fish farming industry had developed. The Professor had also improved the marine biology department at the University of Malta and created the Aquaculture Centre at Fort San Lucien.
Accepting his award Professor Agius said the reason for this award was to disseminate technology developed in Malta beyond its shores. "It is my intention to use a good part of this award to further this, but this time to countries less fortunate than ours," he said. For the past two years the Professor has been following the work of a young Maltese missionary priest in inland Guatemala where living conditions can be pretty desperate. This priest has built a school, community centre, introduced the internet and so on. "It is my intention to use this money to improve the teaching of science subjects in these communities and to set up useful projects for the communities such as subsistence fish production projects,” he added.
Prof. Agius is currently taking part in the creation of a training centre in Guatemala to train future engineers in the field of Marine Biology and Fisheries.