H.E. Ambassador Paul Beresford-Hill and H.E. Ambassador Michèle Bowe met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres

H.E. Ambassador Paul Beresford-Hill and H.E. Ambassador Michèle Bowe met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres

On April 8th, 2024, Ambassador Paul Beresford-Hill, Permanent Observer, and Ambassador Michèle Bowe, the Order’s Ambassador to Palestine, met with António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is the second time that Ambassador Beresford-Hill has met with the Secretary-General, the first occasion being when Ambassador Beresford-Hill present his credentials at his appointment in November 2019.

This meeting was convened by Ambassador Beresford-Hill in order to brief the Secretary-General on the Order of Malta’s humanitarian diplomacy, with particular reference to some of the areas in the world impacted by conflict.

Secretary-General Guterres expressed his pleasure at welcoming the delegation and recalled past collaborations with the Order on significant projects during his tenure at UNHCR. He stressed the importance of maintaining regular contact, dialogue, and cooperation with the Order, indicating a strong interest from his office in strengthening this relationship.

Ambassador Beresford-Hill conveyed his gratitude to Secretary-General Guterres for the opportunity to meet and highlighted the 30th Anniversary of the Order’s membership as a Permanent Observer at the UN. He reflected on the Order’s three decades of activity, involvement, and growth, underscoring its expanded role and engagement during this period and conveyed to the Secretary-General the greetings of the Grand Master, Fra John Dunlap.

Ambassador Bowe drew attention to the Order’s activities in Palestine, including the operations of the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem and the eye hospital in Jerusalem managed by the Venerable Order of St. John, a member of the Alliance of Orders of St. John. She emphasised the impact of the conflict on these and additional operations conducted by the Order in the West Bank, highlighting the challenges faced.

Ambassador Beresford-Hill also highlighted the continued active engagement of the Order in other areas of the world experiencing strife and conflict.  He drew attention to the Order’s involvement in supporting victims of the aggression in Ukraine, particularly in the area of mental health counseling for young people. He also mentioned the Order’s ongoing work in Syria, including the operation of clinics and mobile hospitals in Idlib province and the provision of a broad range of medical and other services for Syrian refugees in Türkiye and surrounding countries. Ambassador Beresford-Hill also touched upon the Order’s continued presence and humanitarian work in Haiti in the face of considerable civil unrest.

Ambassador Beresford-Hill reassured the Secretary-General of the Order’s commitment to its global humanitarian mission. The Secretary-General acknowledged the Order’s dedication and expressed gratitude for its continued support of innocent civilians struggling in conflict-affected regions.