On 5 December last, the Order of Malta’s annual conference From the World For the World one of the most important occasions for discussing the Order’s international medical and humanitarian activities – was held in Rome, in the presence of the Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie.
The meeting focused on the Lebanon, the Congo and Eastern Europe. An exemplary triptych from the Order of Malta’s long list of humanitarian projects. Promoted by Grand Chancellor Jean-Pierre Mazery and by Grand Hospitaller Albrecht von Boeselager, the conference – held in Palazzo Marini, congress hall of the Italian Chamber of Deputies was attended by the diplomatic corps accredited to the Order of Malta, by high-ranking personalities from the Holy See, by representatives of Italian institutions as well as by members of the Order’s government and many of its ambassadors.
The first paper addressed the situation in the Land of the Cedars, a problematic country whose wars and violence have not prevented the Order’s Lebanese Association as illustrated by its president Marwan Sehnaoui from looking after, feeding and housing over 500 thousand refugees in the ten centres run by the Order, many of which have continued to operate under the bombing, practically in front-line conditions.
The symposium then concentrated on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which the Order’s embassy and various organizations treat the wounds created by the civil war and a vast array of diseases, even including new outbreaks of plague. Central and East Europe was then on the table, where the Order is active in 13 countries with initiatives ranging from emergency interventions during the recent floods to social services for the disadvantaged, as well as permanent projects such as the pioneering centre for disabled children inaugurated in Poland.
A detailed analysis of the Order’s activities on the leprosy front was also on the conference agenda. This is an ancient challenge which the Order continues to face with constant commitment and cutting-edge therapies, illustrated by Prof. Jean-Marie Decazes, lecturer in infectivology and tropical diseases. Rosita MacHugh, of the Irish Association, then talked about the Order’s ambulance corps in the Emerald Isle.
In conclusion, an important milestone of the Order’s presence in Italy: the 130th birthday of the Military Corps of Acismom, the Italian Knights Association, defined as an auxiliary army unit and often commended for its humanitarian assistance.
At the end of the meeting, Grand Hospitaller Albrecht von Boeselager gave a comprehensive update on the latest initiatives of Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s emergency corps.
Opening address by Jean-Pierre Mazery, Grand Chancellor
Facing a Humanitarian Disaster in the Lebanese War Zones:
Marwan Sehnaoui, President Lebanese Association
After the Iron Curtain: Expansion of the Order’s Social and Humanitarian Activities in Central and East Europe:
Jiri Lobkowicz, President of the Order’s Ambulance Corps in the Czech Republic
Helping a Country Devastated by Civil War. Showing of the film A Better Congo:
Geoffroy de Liedekerke, Ambassador of the Order di Malta to the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Ambulances of the Order of Malta: the Major First-Aid Organization in Ireland:
Rosita MacHugh, Irish Association
The Knights Hospitaller and Leprosy: a Centuries-old Challenge
Jean-Marie Decazes, Professor of Infectivology and Tropical Diseases, Member of the Ordre de Malte-France and CIOMAL
Health Interventions in War and Peace: the 130th Anniversary of the Italian Association’s Military Corps. Showing of the film Moderni per tradizione:
Fausto Solaro del Borgo, President Italian Association
Solidarity without Borders: Malteser International’s Latest Humanitarian Initiatives
Albrecht von Boeselager, Grand Hospitaller