Bernard  Kouchner  (France)

Bernard Kouchner (France)

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Humanitarian, MSF Co-Founder & French Politician

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After training as a doctor and serving with the Red Cross, Bernard Kouchner went on to co-found Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders). Having played a key role in starting one of the world’s world’s leading humanitarian charities he went on to serve as Minister of Health (three times) in the French government, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs.


Bernard Kouchner is a politician, humanitarian and medic. He was a co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF - also known as Doctors Without Borders) and Médecins du Monde, and has also served as both a health minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the French government.

After studying medicine and early involvement in political movements, Bernard joined the Red Cross, working in the Nigerian civil war. His time serving in the conflict inspired him to join with other doctors, politicians and journalists to establish MSF. The organisation, along with Médecins du Monde, is one of the world’s leading humanitarian charities, providing medical support in war zones, refugee camps and in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Almost twenty years after founding MSF Bernard began his government career, initially as a junior minister responsible for humanitarian affairs before becoming Minister of Health. Shortly afterwards he became an MEP where he chaired the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and Cooperation before returning to Paris and his role as health minister. He then served as the UN Representative in Kosovo in the aftermath of the Kosovo War before serving his third stint as French Minister of Health. After serving with the European Commission overseeing an inquiry into abuses in Sri Lanka, he again returned to French politics, this time as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Having left politics, Bernard is a member of a variety of academic, honorary and advisory boards and committees around the world, including the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is a widely respected commentator of humanitarian, foreign policy and health issues.

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