Jean-Christophe Rufin

Founder of Médecins sans frontières


Born on June 28th, 1952 at Bourges (Cher) in France, Jean-Christophe Rufin is a French doctor, diplomat, historian, and novelist.

A graduate of the Paris Institue of Political Studies (Science-Po), he was an advisor to the Secretary of State for Human Rights (1986-1988), Cultural attaché for French General consulate in Brazil (1988-1989), Advisor to the Defense Minister, in charge of the peace-keeping operations (1993-1994), and Ambassador of France in Senegal and Gambia (2007-2010).

As a doctor, he is one of the pioneers of the “Doctors without borders” humanitarian movement, for which he has led numerous missions in eastern Africa and Latin America (Nicaragua, Eritrea, Soudan, etc.). He is the former vice-president of Médecins Sans Frontières (1991-92) and the former president of the non-governmental organization Action Against Hunger (2002-2006).

As a novelist, he published his first book in 1986, Le Piège humanitaire (The Humanitarian Trap), an essay on the political stakes of humanitarian action. He won the Goncourt Prize (prize in French literature) in 2001 for his novel Rouge Brésil (Red Brazil).

In 2008, he was elected to the French Academy (Académie française).