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Bernard Kouchner    

Former French Minister of Foreign & European Affairs

A medical doctor by training, Bernard Kouchner is best known as the co-founder and former president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization made up of voluntary medical personnel who contribute their time and expertise to assist in situations of emergency or inadequate medical care in the developing world. He has organized humanitarian operations in Somalia, El Salvador, Lebanon, and Vietnam, as well as led field operations in Cambodia, Thailand, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The first person to challenge the Red Cross's stance of neutrality and silence in wars and massacres, Kouchner has played an important role in international humanitarian efforts for more than 20 years. As France's Minister of Health and Humanitarian affairs, he convinced the UN to accept "the right to interfere" resolution, and after devastating civil wars in the Balkans, served as Special Representative to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Kosovo.

An influential person in the French political scene, having held a number of ministerial positions in different French governments for more than 18 years, he served as France's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs until November 2010, and before that as minister in charge of both health and humanitarian action. He was also the professor of public health at the Health and Development Department of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM). He is the author of several books and the co-founder of the news magazines L'Evénement and Actuel. He is the recipient of several human rights awards, including the Dag Hammarskjold Prize and the Prix Europa.

Bernard Kouchner continues to promote universal access to medical care and to take part in international efforts in the fight against AIDS. In his unique keynotes, he shares what happens behind the scenes and what he feels can be done for a better future.

Speech Topics


Humanitarianism and Reality

Bernard Kouchner does not shy away from difficult discussions about the responsibility of developed nations to assist communities in crisis. He candidly explores the intersection of government and humanitarian organizations as it relates to delivering assistance to those most in need. His perspective is unprecedented and irrefutable from co-founder of Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to his tenure as Minister of Foreign and European Affairs for France Kouchner has a true insiders perspective. During this high-energy program, Kouchner explores the issues of most importance to audiences, including: how current crisis are being managed, how to prepare for future catastrophic events, healthcare and assistance for the impoverished, AIDS, crisis management, and geopolitical insight into areas most at risk.

A Candid View from Europe

During this timely and thought provoking presentation, Bernard Kouchner presents penetrating and incisive commentary on the international political scene, offering a glimpse into what the future holds for the European Union, world trouble spots and our global community. This presentation is tailored for the specific needs of audiences.

Humanitarianism & the Responsibility of Developed Nations

Universal Access to Healthcare

The Peace Process & the Middle East

Europe & the Eurozone: What Are the Issues for the Future?

Managing Aid in Catastrophes & War-Torn Countries

Globalization, International Politics & Society

Conflict Resolution

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