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60 million displaced in the world, 20 million of them on the move – if they were all together in one spot, that would make the 25th largest nation

German Association of the Order organises acutely topical conference on migration

Munich, 17 September 2015

Refugees arrive in Munich

Refugees arrive in Munich

What is the future of migration and our social responsibility? A conference held in Munich yesterday, run jointly by the German Association of the Order of Malta and Forum 2000*, brought together philanthropists, academics, politicians, members of international organisations and local practitioners** to debate the crisis and offer some insights.

It was agreed that there is no collective solution to the present crisis, but a recognition of the scale of the problem and some practical steps to manage it were proposed. The President of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Germany, Argentina Szabados, said: ‘Migration is necessary and desirable and cannot be avoided – if it is well managed.’ Chairman of the German Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, Michael Brand, emphasised: ‘We need to be human but we also need a clear, structured procedure.’ The Order of Malta’s Grand Chancellor, Albrecht Boeselager concurred: ‘There is a wave of readiness to help. I don’t see danger but rather a challenge to create structures that facilitate and enable us to manage the problem.’ 

‘In my kindergarten we have only children’

The magnitude of the problem – in Munich alone, 19,000 refugees arrived at the central railway station last weekend, a further 13,000 two days ago and they continue to come – means quick decisions must be taken to speed up processing procedures, organise accommodation, qualified personnel to help them, assimilation, jobs.

 If societies are to continue to develop and prosper, they need to adjust, incorporate and move forward. Adaptability and resilience are key. And inclusiveness. A small child in a German town was asked last week: ‘In your kindergarten do you have foreigners?’ The reply came back at once: ‘In my kindergarten we have only children.’

* Prague based Forum 2000 is a foundation which supports the values of democracy and respect for human rights, assisting the development of civil society, and encouraging religious, cultural and ethnic tolerance. It provides a platform for global leaders, looking at key issues facing civilisation, particularly considering ways of preventing the escalation of conflicts.

** Conference speakers:

Steve Killelea, Founder and CEO, Institute for Economics and Peace, Sydney

Jonathan Benthall, Expert for Development Cooperation in Islamic countries, University College, London

Michael Brand, Chairman German Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights & Humanitarian Aid

Argentina Szabados, Head, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Germany
Albrecht Boeselager, Grand Chancellor, Sovereign Order of Malta

Peter Frey, Chief Editor, ZDF (Zweiten Deutschen Fernsehens)

Order of Malta support for refugees in Germany

In Germany over 30 facilities provide medical and legal assistance to asylum seekers. In 2014, about half the refugees in Germany were assisted by special structures managed by the Order of Malta. Following the latest wave of arrivals the Order has stepped up its commitment and there are now 70 operational emergency shelters that can house up to 50,000 refugees. 1,600 volunteers are distributing basic necessities, tents and blankets. The Order’s volunteer doctors and nurses are helping the refugees arriving in the main railways stations from Berlin to Munich.

In Munich, the Order of Malta was requested by the federal government to set up, together with its local humanitarian partners and the civil defence, a screening and communication centre to coordinate first aid, reception and accommodation for refugees. 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.