Dr. Joanne Liu is the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), otherwise known as Doctors without Borders. She is a Canadian Pedestrian by training and has been with MSF for almost her entire career. She became the international head of MSF in 2013.
We spoke not long after she visited MSF’s operations in a stretch of land in Bangladesh called Cox’s Bazar. This is where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled from neighboring Myanmar in recent months. It is the site of one of the world’s most urgent global humanitarian emergencies. Dr. Liu discusses the conditions there–and the kind of unique medical needs that stem from such a massive population displacement in such a short period of time.
We discuss some of the current big challenges facing MSF, including a seeming increase in the number of attacks on humanitarian and health facilities around the world. Dr. Liu describes one incident in particular–the October 2015 US airstrike on an MSF hospital in Afghanistan.
Dr. Liu tells a few very powerful stories, including a recent visit to a detention center for African migrants in Libya a place she calls “the most inhuman incarnation of men’s cruelty”
This episode shifts between wonky explanations of issues in world affairs, and her own very personal experience with those issues. If you have 40 minutes and want to learn how MSF earned a reputation as one of the more fearless global humanitarian organizations have a listen.