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International President

The International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) leads the International Board and the International General Assembly, and represents MSF International externally.

Elected by the International General Assembly, the International President must have a medical background, and can serve a maximum of two three-year terms. He or she cannot hold an executive position or sit on the board of another MSF association.

At the 2019 International General Assembly, Dr Christos Christou was elected as new International President. Dr Christou will start his mandate in September 2019, taking over from Dr Joanne Liu. 

Dr Joanne Liu is International President of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) since 1 October, 2013.

Her time with MSF started in 1996, when she worked with Malian refugees in Mauritania. Since then, she has provided support after the tsunami in Indonesia, assisted people affected by the earthquake and cholera epidemic in Haiti, and worked with Somali refugees in Kenya. She also helped develop one of the first programs offering comprehensive medical care for survivors of sexual violence in Republic of Congo. She has worked in many conflict zones, including in Palestine, Central African Republic and Sudan’s Darfur region.

Born in Quebec City, Canada, Dr Liu decided to become a paediatrician at an early age.
She trained at McGill University School of Medicine, specialising in paediatrics at Montreal’s Sainte-Justine hospital. She has a fellowship in paediatric emergency medicine from New York University School of Medicine, and an International Master's in Health Leadership from McGill University. She is an associate professor at the Université de Montréal and has also taught at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Dr Liu helped create the telemedicine project, which connects MSF physicians in 150 remote sites with a pool of more than 300 medical specialists across the globe.

In 2013, Dr Liu received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award.

Joanne Liu's Speeches

Civil Society Briefing on Tuberculosis to UN Member States, June 4th, 2018

Speech at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), Geneva, March 18, 2018

Speech Dr. Joanne Liu at the Pledging Conference, Rohingya refugees, Geneva, October 23, 2017

9th World Health Summit, October 15-17, 2017, Berlin, Germany

Speech by Dr. Joanne Liu, African Chiefs of Defense Conference, April 19, 2017, Stuttgart Germany

“Dare to Care”, LSHTM Women in Health Lecture, March 9th, 2017

Munich Security Conference Closing remarks–  Small Bugs, Big Bombs, February 18 2017

Speech at the UN Security Council, regarding attacks on medical facilities - 3 May 2016

Speech at Munich Security Conference, 2016 on Ebola 

Breaking the Wall of Indifference in War and Disease, speech at Falling Walls Conference November 2015

Acceptance speech - Chatham House Prize 2015 awarded to MSF for its work during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, October 13, 2015

Acceptance speech - Lasker Award, September 18, 2015

Statement on Ebola and WHO reform at World Health Assembly 68 - May 20, 2015

Remarks by Joanne Liu at the Gates Foundation Global Partner Forum - May 7, 2015

Speech on Response to the Ebola Disease Outbreak at UN General Assembly - September 25, 2014

Statement of Joanne Liu at United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola - September 2, 2014


MSF International Presidents

September 2019 - Christos Christou

Oct 2013 - September 2019

Joanne Liu

Jun 2010 –   Sep 2013

Unni Karunakara

Jan 2007 – Jun 2010    

Christophe Fournier

Jan 2004 – Dec 2006 

Rowan Gillies

Nov 2000 – Dec 2003

Morten Rostrup

Jun 1998 – Nov 2000

James Orbinski

Sep 1997 – Jun 1998 

Doris Schopper

Jun 1996 – Sep 1997  

Philippe Biberson

Feb 1995 – Jun 1996

Doris Schopper

Feb 1994 – Feb 1995 

Jacques De Milliano

Aug 1992 – Feb 1994 

Rony Brauman

Jan 1992 – Aug 1992   

Reginald Moreels

Feb 1991 – Jan 1992

Rony Brauman