MSF 50 years

Round Table - 50 years of Doctors without borders (Médecins sans frontières)

Médecins Sans Frontières celebrated its 50th anniversary. On this occasion and in the framework of the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) conference, the Crash organized a round table on the history of the organization, the myths surrounding it, and its recent evolution.

This roundtable, which brought together researchers and members of MSF, served two objectives. 

The panelists looked back at the story of MSF's origins by confronting it with history and analyzed the association's contemporary discourse on its "founding principles". In addition, the speakers discussed the transformations of MSF over half a century, which have shaped the organization and fueled its debates over time: the evolution of the contexts of intervention, geopolitical upheavals, the personal trajectories of some members of the organization...

This round table was moderated by Bertrand Taithe, member of the Crash scientific committee and professor at the University of Manchester. The panelists were:

- Isabelle Defourny, Director of Operations at MSF-OCP,
- Peter Redfield, Professor and Erburu Chair in Ethics, Globalization and Development, University of Southern California,
- Eleanor Davey, Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University,
- Rony Brauman, Director of Studies at Crash and former President of Médecins sans Frontières.


00:00 Introductive speech of Bertrand Taithe
04:59 Mego Terzian’s trajectory at MSF
12:24 Isabelle Defourny, the evolution of MSF staff until today
27:16 Peter Redfield, MSF as an anthropological research subject
42:19 Eleanor Davey, MSF and the sans-frontierism
55:51 Rony Brauman, Rony Brauman, the founding misunderstandings of MSF 
1:12:37 Conclusion, writing MSF’s history as an expertise-creating organization

To cite this content :
“Round Table - 50 years of Doctors without borders (Médecins sans frontières) ”, 3 novembre 2021, URL :

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