Amb. M.-T. Pictet-Althann with H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations

Welcome to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Geneva.



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.




Grand Master Fra' Matthew Festing's visit to UNOG on

The Grand Master meets the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

The director general of the United Nations office in Geneva Kassym-Jomart Tokayev received Grand Master Fra' Matthew Festing in June 2011. Discussed during the cordial meeting were the Order's programmes in acute humanitarian emergencies and the progress of recent initiatives.

During the following ceremony, Festing donated to the UN office a sculpture entitled "compassione", created by the venetian artist Giorgio Bortoli.





H.E. Ambassador Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann decorated
as Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

12/11/14 "H.E. Ambassador Pictet-Althann decorated by the Holy See"

On 12th November 2014 the members of the Order’s Permanent Mission, together with sixty guests, including directors general of international organizations, heads of Missions and ambassadors, were invited to the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva for the award ceremony of our Ambassador Marie-Therese Pictet-Althann. After a warm welcome, H.E. Archbishop Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, addressed the audience. “The Order of Malta and the Holy See”, he pointed out, “share common objectives, such as solidarity and the respect of the dignity of each person”. He then introduced the decoration of Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great as a “special distinction for those who have accomplished important actions at the service of the Church and of society”. After accepting the decoration, Ambassador Pictet-Althann thanked Archbishop Tomasi and through him the Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See for such a high honor, and emphasized that this award is also an honor for the Order of Malta, a recognition of the importance and value of its work. She outlined the commitment of its members to its inspiring principles, reflected in the motto “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum”. Referring to the Order’s worldwide activities she underlined its position within the international community and emphasized the excellent cooperation it has established with the United Nations, its specialized agencies and other international humanitarian organizations. Ambassador Pictet-Althann also warmly thanked her family and all the friends who have been supporting her work throughout the last years.







“Education is for Everyone”: combating early school leaving among the Roma in Romania



A new project for the Order of Malta’s Romanian volunteer corps With around 15 million people this is the largest ethnic minority in the old continent. Often forced to live on the margins of society, the children are the first to suffer from lack of education and social exclusion. Romania with its two million Roma is the European country with the greatest presence of this ethnic minority originating in northern India. The Order of Malta’s volunteer corps here - Serviciul de Ajutor Maltez în România (SAMR) – has launched an ambitious programme to give Roma children access to education.


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The Order of Malta strengthens its action in South Sudan three years after the birth of the nation



Agreement for the opening of diplomatic relations signed in New York Founded just three years ago South Sudan is the youngest African state but its short history is marred by conflicts and violence that have caused a serious food crisis which is bringing the population to its knees.  The Sovereign Order of Malta has been active in the South Sudan region for almost 20 years with numerous projects in the healthcare sector. Its humanitarian work will now be further strengthened by the diplomatic relations opened on 12 November 2014 in the United Nations headquarters in New York.


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Twenty Years of Diplomatic Relations: the Grand Master Receives the Vice President of Bulgaria



On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the Sovereign Order of Malta - established on 11 November 1994 – Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing received the Vice President of Bulgaria Margarita Popova today in the Magistral Palace. “I was very impressed by the work the Order of Malta is carrying out in full respect of the Christian faith and human rights,” said the Vice President of Bulgaria. “The initiatives of the Order of Malta’s embassy in Sofia, and in numerous cities in our country, have been fundamental in giving aid to the poor, to the sick and to children,” she added.


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