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International Organisations


The International Hospitaller Committee of the Order of Malta coordinates the international activities of the Order’s national associations and organizations. Its mission is to promote the activities of the Order and the identity of its institutions which operate at the international level, in accordance with the Order’s mission. It is presided over by the Grand Hospitaller and has its headquarters in the Magistral Palace in Rome.


Malteser International is the Order of Malta’s international relief organisation for medical and humanitarian aid. Its worldwide operations include emergency medical interventions, long term reconstruction and development programmes. Since 2005, Malteser International has replaced ECOM (Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta). A new structure, but with more than 50 years experience in humanitarian operations.
There are 20 Order of Malta Associations belonging to Malteser International: Austria, Belgium, France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and the three Associations in the United States of America.
Malteser International – which currently runs missions in 30 countries – has its headquarters in Cologne, Germany.

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CIOMAL, the International Committee of the Order of Malta, was created in 1958 and for 50 years has been fighting leprosy and helping those marginalised by society as a result of having the disease. CIOMAL’s two major current projects are in South East Asia and South America. CIOMAL finances and manages the care centres where prevention, medical assistance, social rehabilitation and medical staff training are organised in collaboration with the government of the hosting country. Today, due to the availability of new medical treatments, important results have been achieved in the battle against the disease. Leprosy will eventually disappear as a life-threatening illness, but in the meantime, CIOMAL continues to offer medical care to sufferers in the countries at risk. To date, 17,000 leprosy patients have been cured. CIOMAL, which has headquarters in Geneva, is affiliated to the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations and collaborates with the World Health Organisation; its programmes are carried out in accordance with their directives.


The new challenges posed by controversial and emerging questions in Bioethics brought various national Associations of the Order of Malta to create the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, whose mission is to promote and foster cooperation among Catholic bioethicists. By creating a network for international collaboration, the IACB seeks to increase the capacity of Catholic bioethicists to participate in public discussions and to promote ethics in health care and research globally.

Bioethicists associated with the IACB join a community of supportive peers, receive information relevant to their work, and participate in IACB-sponsored events and projects such as an international colloquium every two years; national and regional colloquia; collaborations in education, research and publications.

IACB was launched in Toronto in August 2003, during the 1st International colloquium on “Globalization and the Culture of Life” organised by the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta and the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute in Toronto: 57 bioethicists from 19 countries on five continents participated. In 2004 the secretariat was set up in Toronto with the support of several national Associations of the Order of Malta. Since then, three other International Colloquia have been held in different countries, the most recent in Cologne in July 2009. A fifth one is scheduled for 2011.

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