Holy See Permanent Observer
The guest speaker at the December 2010 breakfast meeting was Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt who was appointed on July 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI as the Vatican’s top envoy at the UN. Born in India, Archbishop Chullikatt is the Holy See Permanent Observer at the UN, replacing Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who last month was named the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to Poland.
The Vatican was granted the status of non-voting permanent observer state at the UN in 1964 under Pope Paul VI by an invitation from Secretary General U Thant. Archbishop Chullikatt is the first non-Italian to head the Holy See’s Mission in New York. In addition to his native language, Malayalam, the archbishop is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin. Since 2006 he was assigned to the Middle East as the apostolic nuncio to war torn Iraq and also Jordan. He has also served as a Vatican diplomat in Honduras, in southern Africa and the Philippines at the Vatican Secretariat for Relations with the States - the Holy See’s equivalent of a Foreign Ministry. From 2000 to 2004, he served as Counselor for the Holy See Mission to the UN in New York.
He was ordained a priest in 1978 and holds a doctorate in canon law and joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1988.
He is known for his outspoken defense of the persecuted Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq there, his work on inter-religious cooperation and good relations with Muslim leaders. Terrorists frequently targeted Christians and churches in Iraq, as well as his residence on several several times.