The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Sovereign Order of Malta have organized a photographic exhibition entitled From Our Hearts to the Americas, promoting the humanitarian work carried out by the two institutions in the American continent.
On 23 January last in the OAS Headquarters in Washington, its Secretary for External Relations Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, speaking on behalf of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, pointed out that the organization “provides a forum for Member States to combine their efforts, resources, experiences, historical, and cultural heritage, as well as their aspirations and unique perspectives to find solutions to common problems”. However, as Quiñónez outlined, there are still key issues that are important to the OAS on which they will continue to work with the Sovereign Order of Malta. In particular it is necessary “to create sustainable strategies to reduce poverty and inequality, increase the capacity of our Member States to react quickly and effectively when a natural disaster strikes and help Member States solve their differences through mediation”. Ambassador Quiñónez also stressed the exceptional work the Order of Malta carries out in the Western hemisphere.
Prezemyslaw Jan Hauser, the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Antigua and Barbuda and the Ambassador-at-large to South America, spoke about the Order’s work from Canada to Chile, where “thousands of members of the Order and volunteers help the sick and poor. Whether it’s in Haiti and Chile after devastating earthquakes, or in the United States, Dominican Republic and Cuba after the hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Gustav and Sandi, it is always the people under the Maltese cross that are one of the first to rush to help.”
Ambassador Hauser pointed out other programmes that are underway in the region for street children, for HIV positive mothers and infants, for the homeless, and for handicapped children in rural areas as well as soup kitchens for the poor in urban areas.