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What the papers say: Jim Dominguez connects the Order of Malta in South East Asia
Date Posted: 05/29/2017

Original article Catholic Outlook, by Jordan Grantham

Australian Catholic businessman, Jim Dominguez, is the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to South East Asia and the Far East. Ambassador is no mere title. Jim uses his official red Order diplomatic passport in his travels to grow the Order’s presence and its humanitarian works in Asia.

“I’ve had a special interest in Asia: that’s been a feature of my business career, in Japan and later Singapore especially,” Jim said. Jim used his business knowledge and relationships in Asia to further the Order’s goals.

“We in Australia sought and obtained some two decades ago a mandate from the Order’s Sovereign Council in Rome to explore taking the Order into Asia. At that stage the Order had no presence on the mainland of Asia, where two thirds of the world’s population lives,” Jim said.

The Order has been a sovereign state since the Middle Ages – over 900 years ago – and now enjoys diplomatic relations with over 100 countries in every continent. There are two other Australians who are Ambassadors for the Order. David Scarf is Ambassador to Timor Leste, and Michael Mann, a former Australian Government Ambassador in several places in Asia including Vietnam, is the Order’s Ambassador to Cambodia and Thailand.

The three Ambassadors are deeply involved in their respective areas of responsibility. They are also active in diplomatic circles across East Asia. The Australian Association has played a unique role in establishing diplomatic relations between the Order and Timor Leste, and played an instrumental role in founding the Order’s Singapore Association.

Sovereignty assists the Order’s mission in dangerous and unstable situations, from the crusades to the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Both of these major events occurred around the Mediterranean, where the Order has worked for over nine centuries. Jim points out that the Order is on the front line of the Syrian Refugee crisis, because the Order provides all medical support for the Italian Navy, which rescues many Syrian refugees who attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

David Scarf is responsible for the Order’s inspiring Timor Plaza Medical Clinic, which when completed will provide free medical care to an anticipated 200 impoverished Timorese patients a day, with an emphasis on care for women and children.

Most countries of origin for the Diocese of Parramatta’s ethnic chaplaincies have diplomatic relations with the Order. The 900-year history of the Order has significant connections to the Philippines, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Austria.

The Order had its first Investiture of members in Korea on 24 September 2016 with the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul in Myeong-dong Cathedral. Jim was present with other senior members of the Order from Australia and abroad. Jim is very pleased with the new members and clearly inspired by Korean Catholics in general.

“Korea has the fastest growing Catholic population in Asia,” Jim said.

Matthew Lee is a US based Korean member of the Order, who did significant work to help establish the Delegation in Korea.

“I’ve been actively encouraging Matthew and other parties in the establishment of the Delegation,” he said.

The NSW Branch of the Australian Association of the Order is also expanding its operations in the Diocese of Parramatta, with several new members from the area and plans to introduce a Community Care Van, which will bring medical care and other support to people experiencing homelessness.

Jim is an enthusiastic person and has served as director or adviser on over 50 important commercial, government and charitable bodies during his career, including those that contribute to Western Sydney. He was on the Board of Governors of the Powerhouse Museum, which is planned for relocation to a site on the Parramatta River opposite to St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Sisters of Charity Foundation provided a scholarship to Western Sydney University when Jim was on the Foundation Board.

The Order of Malta is focused on service and Jim’s previous roles in Catholic organisations demonstrate his commitment to the community. These roles include being the national President of the Australian Association of the Order, a member of the Marist Finance Commission, the University of Notre Dame, St Vincent’s Public Hospital (Chairman), St Ignatius College Riverview and Kincoppal Rose Bay School.

“If your business goes well, you often have a desire to give back to the community,” Jim said when asked about his motivation for this distinguished service record.

Jim was a pioneering Australian stockbroker, investment banker and community activist, and was awarded Doctor of Science in Business (honoris causa) today by the University of Sydney for his contribution to business and the community.

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