The fair trade festival Taste the World will be held on Saturday, 3 December, at St. James Cavalier in Valletta between 9.30am and 10.00pm. The theme of this year's edition is Colour the Difference, a tribute to the beauty and vibrancy of the diverse cultures of the global South represented by fair trade. The special foreign guest is the fair trade expert and activist Richard Adams, a member of the Economic and Social Committee of the EU, who will be talking about alternatives to the unjust world trade system. Entrance to all stalls and events, including the concert of live music that starts at 8.00pm, is free.
One of the highlights of this year's fair trade festival is a special seminar between 9.30am and 12.30pm on fair trade as an alternative to the current system of trade that favours the richer North and creates barriers to the products of the poorer South. Another important event is a presentation between 5.30pm and 6.30pm by Richard Adams and Maltese fair traders who have visited producers in Sri Lanka on "Fair Trade in Sri Lanka." Sri Lanka presentation can be downloaded from here [Power Point File 5Mbs] or here [HTML separate pages]
At Taste the World 2005 there will be free tasting of fair traded coffee at 11.00am and mulled wine at 7.00pm. Throughout the day, those who attend will be able to watch movie clips featuring fair trade producers from different communities around the world, from Haiti to India. A special feature produced by the leading fair trade organization Traidcraft about the serious injustices within the World Trade Organization called "Reality Check" will be shown at 9.30am, at the start of the morning seminar. The Festival ends with a live concert featuring two exciting local bands, Zizza Ensemble and Stilair. The free concert starts at 8.00pm.
Colour the Difference
Taste the World is organized by the volunteers of the fair trade L-Arka in Valletta run by Koperattiva Kummerċ Ġust, a member of IFAT, the International Fair Trade Association, since 1999. Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers especially in the South. Fair Trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first.
The fair trade products in this year's festival include a new range of foodstuffs, a wide selection of CDs of world music, ceramics from the Palestinian territories, cribs from Peru, soapstone carvings from Kenya, jute carpets from Sri Lanka, and hundreds of other handmade products from Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The guest foreign speaker at a seminar between 9.30am and 12.30pm at St. James Cavalier on "Fair Trade – an Alternative to Current Unjust Trade" will be Mr. Richard Adams. This event is being organised in collaboration with the StoPoverty Campaign, as part of the run up to the Third White Band Day on 10 December 2005. The seminar will be opened by H.E. Mr. Vincent Fean, the British High Commissioner for Malta. The panel also includes Mr. Steven Sultana, a specialist in international marketing, trade and investment promotion, and Dr. Vanessa Camilleri from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The seminar will be chaired by Mr. Vince Caruana, a fair trader who has specialized in development education and has chaired a number of local and foreign working groups. The seminar starts with the screening of a Traidcraft documentary called "Reality Check" that sheds light on the workings of the World Trade Organization.
Richard Adams has spent his working life in the founding and development of several successful charitable, community-owned, or co-operative enterprises that allow people to express constructive social and environmental values through their work, spending or saving. At present he is a member of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union and a consultant on business, social and environmental programmes. His visit to Malta is supported by the British High Commission.
Mr. Adams has degrees in sociology (Durham) and theology (London) and an MBA (Newcastle). He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Civil Law by Newcastle University in 2005 for a lifetime's work promoting fair trade. In 1979 he established the independent company Traidcraft, which became a plc in 1984, offering the first 'alternative' and socially orientated public share issue in the UK. In 1988 Richard Adams wrote the first book about the concepts of alternative trade, Who Profits? (Lion, 1989), and then, with economist Paul Ekins, set up the business research charity New Consumer. He became its first director in January 1989.
In 2001 the British government appointed him as one of the UK members of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union. He concentrates on social and environmental issues, especially sustainable development and fair trade. He is currently developing a framework EU policy on ethical trade for the UK Government. He is also a trustee of a number of charitable organisations concerned with international development and refugee and asylum seeker support.
The concert of live music starts at 8.00pm and features Zizza Ensemble and Stilair. Zizza Ensemble was formed two years ago by young musicians who wanted to experiment with jazz. The band is made up of four musicians: Mark Abela on drums, Ruth Abela on saxophone, Steve Delia on guitar and vocals and Chalee Cassar on bass guitar. The musicians come from different musical backgrounds including rock, classical and jazz. Their music is a fusion of jazz and funk.
Stilair is a band made up of four members - Gilbert on vocals, guitar and keyboards; Trevor on guitars and keyboards; Sylvan on bass guitar; and Karl on drums. In his review of their debut EP, Michael Bugeja highlighted "the band's preference for glacial sonics, a characteristic that defines the Stilair sound" whilst Wayne Flask described the debut EP as "less downward Radiohead planking onto Achtung Baby-ish U2". The band aesthetics have also been compared to those of Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen. In 2004 Stilair signed a licensing deal with Indy Hits & Bandpromote resulting in "Kravis" being featured on the Bandpromote Compilation and gaining considerable airplay on KNRK - a major FM radio station covering Portland and Vancouver in the past months. Stilair will release their debut album "White Paris Lights" early next year.
More information about the fair trade festival Taste the World 2005 is available on the website of the local fair trade cooperative that runs the world shop L-Arka, www.l-arka.org, or directly from the shop in St. Paul's Street Valletta (Tel. 21 244 865).