Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

Visit of the Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap to the President of the Republic of Panama

Panama, 28 February – The Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ John Dunlap, was received yesterday by the President of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, in the Palacio de las Garzas, the presidential Palace in the capital’s historic centre.

The private meeting, which was also attended by the Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo and the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to the Republic of Panama Lupo del Bono, was an opportunity to reaffirm the excellent relations between the Order of Malta and Panama, which in 2023 celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations, established in 1948. Testifying to the excellent relations is an extensive list of visits that have been exchanged over the decades and a cooperation agreement signed in 2019.

“Our mutual esteem is demonstrated by the exchange of official and formal visits by our highest authorities, as well as our good understanding and cooperation in the diplomatic and humanitarian fields,” said the Grand Master during the meeting. “These reciprocal sentiments are reinforced by social and solidarity actions developed by our National Association and our Embassy in coordination with local entities and communities, mainly in the fields of health and food security. Our objective,” concluded Fra’ John Dunlap addressing the Panamanian authorities, “is not only to continue these projects, but also to seek new possibilities to expand our collaboration with your country”.

The Panamanian President thanked the Order of Malta for its fruitful cooperation over the years in numerous projects, medical assistance programmes and the distribution of food and basic necessities to the poorest sectors of the population, including during the Venezuelan refugee crisis.

During the visit, there was an exchange of decorations which, in addition to the Grand Chancellor, was also attended by the Grand Commander Fra’ Emmanuel Rousseau, the Grand Hospitaller Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis and the Receiver of the Common Treasure Fabrizio Colonna.

The Grand Master is in Panama to preside over the Order of Malta’s IX Conference of the Americas and he met with the Minister of the Panama Canal and made a tour of the Canal.

The visit of the Order of Malta’s government to Panama provided the opportunity for a morning meeting between the Grand Chancellor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, who had been received in Rome last October as part of the celebrations for 75 years of diplomatic relations with Panama. This occasion was also commemorated by a postmark, issued jointly by the Magistral Post Office and the Panamanian Post Office. During yesterday’s meeting, the Grand Chancellor called for a further strengthening of cooperation in the health and medical field.

A meeting between the Grand Hospitaller Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis and the Deputy Minister of Health, Alessandro Ganci, is scheduled to take place this morning, Wednesday the 28th.