This website contains information on the Sovereign Order of Malta’s multilateral diplomacy in Geneva and offers direct links to other websites of the Order around the world, including that of its Government in Rome and of its Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York. It also enables you to discover the Order’s 900 year history and find out about its global humanitarian activities of to-day.
Thank you for visiting our website which will give you an insight into the Order’s diplomacy with a humanitarian dimension and a human perspective.
The Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Kassym-Jomart Tokayev received Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing. Discussed during the long and cordial meeting were the Order’s programmes in acute humanitarian emergencies and the progress of recent initiatives in the African continent with particular reference to Sudan and Congo. Satisfaction was also expressed for the joint projects undertaken in the Balkans, in Africa and in Asia and for the intention to strengthen joint humanitarian interventions in crisis areas.
After the meeting there was a ceremony during which the Grand Master donated to the United Nations Office in Geneva a sculpture entitled “Compassione” by the Venetian artist Giorgio Bortoli.
In thanking the Grand Master, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed the universal nature of the compassion and commitment of the Sovereign Order of Malta and the United Nations to improve the living conditions of people worldwide.
Present at the meeting were Grand Chancellor Jean-Pierre Mazery and Ambassador Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann, the Order of Malta’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations at Geneva.
They call it “Hell’s Tower” and it’s located in the outskirts of the Hungarian city of Veszprém. But similar situations of neglect and squalor are unhappily also to be found in many other cities. The building has been neglected for years; robbed and ravaged, it has been left without electricity, heating or lifts and its residents have become social outcasts. The tower block became a ramshackle shelter for people in situations of extreme poverty, many of whom were poorly educated, unemployed and struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.
For the past 55 years the streets of Lourdes have been filled with the Order of Malta’s pilgrims during the first week in May. This time some 1,300 sick people were among the over 6,500 members and volunteers coming from 36 countries on all continents. It was a special pilgrimage this year since it marked the 900th anniversary of the promulgation of the solemn Privilege with which Pope Paschal II officially recognized the monastic community of St. John of Jerusalem in 1113. An anniversary that the Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing wanted to emphasize by meeting members and volunteers during the traditional ceremony for consigning the participation medal.