Under the auspices of the Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières, the Centre de Réflexion sur l'Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires (CRASH) is a unique structure in the world of NGOs. Its purpose is to inspire debate and critical reflexion on field practices and public positions, in order to improve the association's actions.
The CRASH team consists of six permanent employees, from the field, with university training. Backed by a scientific committee made up of volunteer research professionals, it works closely with the operational leadership of Médecins Sans Frontières.
CRASH team members conduct and direct studies and analysis of MSF actions. They participate in internal training sessions and assessment missions in the field. They represent the association at meetings, conferences, and other research and discussion forums, particularly those connected with universities, IGOs and NGOs.
To know more, read the article published originally in French Le Crash-MSF, "une structure critique sur nos opérations"
Addressing political, medical and management issues, Crash conducts research on topics arising from MSF concerns that often reflect the concerns of the humanitarian aid world in general. Its research is presented in the form of publications, articles or books as well as discussion forums and conferences.
The knowledge management, assessment and feedback work conducted by Crash combines methods derived from epidemiology and social sciences. These cross-disciplinary methods benefit all fields addressed by the team, particularly research, training and consulting.
In partnership with universities, the Crash team develops in-house and diploma courses designed for the association’s operational managers. It also participates in in-house courses and its staff members teach university courses on an individual basis.
Crash advises MSF leaders as they formulate their positions on operational and public matters. To that end, it acts at the request of the association’s president, directors and operational managers on project-related issues, current events and organisational concerns.
Crash actively distributes its research through a website and social media while also organising or participating in seminars and workshops. In this way, we hope to reach not only aid workers and their colleagues worldwide but also academics, journalists and anyone in the general public interested in these issues.
Director of studies at Crash / Médecins sans Frontières, Michaël Neuman graduated in Contemporary History and International Relations (University Paris-I). He joined Médecins sans Frontières in 1999 and has worked both on the ground (Balkans, Sudan, Caucasus, West Africa) and in headquarters (New York, Paris as deputy director responsible for programmes). He has also carried out research on issues of immigration and geopolitics. He is co-editor of "Humanitarian negotiations Revealed, the MSF experience" (London: Hurst and Co, 2011). He is also the co-editor of "Saving lives and staying alive. Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" (London: Hurst and Co, 2016).
Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine and epidemiology. Involved in humanitarian action since 1977, he has been on numerous missions, mainly in contexts of armed conflicts and IDP situations. President of Médecins sans Frontières from 1982 to1994, he also teaches at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and is a regular contributor to Alternatives Economiques. He has published several books and articles, including "Guerre humanitaires ? Mensonges et Intox" (Textuel, 2018), "La Médecine Humanitaire" (PUF, 2010), "Penser dans l'urgence" (Editions du Seuil, 2006) and "Utopies Sanitaires" (Editions Le Pommier, 2000).
Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine, emergency medicine and epidemiology. In 1989 he went on mission with Médecins sans Frontières for the first time, and undertook long-term missions in Uganda, Somalia and Thailand. He returned to the Paris headquarters in 1994 as a programs director. Between 1996 and 1998, he served as the director of communications, and later as director of operations until May 2000 when he was elected president of the French section of Médecins sans Frontières. He was re-elected in May 2003 and in May 2006. From 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the International Council of MSF and a member of the Board of MSF USA. He is the co-editor of "Medical innovations in humanitarian situations" (MSF, 2009) and Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins Sans Frontiéres, The Rwandan Experience, 1982–97 (Manchester University Press, 2017).
Since April 2018, Elba has been in charge of dissemination at CRASH. Elba holds a Master's degree in History of Classical Philosophy and a Master's degree in editorial consulting and digital knowledge management. During her studies, she worked on moral philosophy issues and was particularly interested in the practical necessity and the moral, legal and political prohibition of lying in Kant's philosophy.
Doctor, qualified in emergency medicine, surgery, and tropical medicine, with a Master's degree in the Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development (SOAS University of London) and a Master's degree in the History and Philosophy of Science (University of Cambridge), Natalie Roberts joined MSF in 2012. She completed field missions in Syria, Yemen, CAR, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and the Philippines before joining the Paris headquarters in 2016 as Emergency Programs Manager. Since joining Crash in late 2019, she has focused particularly on issues around epidemics, including Ebola, and access to medicines.
Graduated in International relations (Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris), Logistics in humanitarian settings (Bioforce-Développement) and Anthropology (University Paris I), Judith Soussan joined MSF in 1999. After missions in Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Palestinian territories, she worked in Paris, in particular on protection of civilians. Following a few years break from MSF working as a radio reporter, she has come back to Crash in 2015. She contributed to the book "Saving lives and staying alive. Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" (chapter "Security Issues and Practices in an MSF Mission in the Land of Jihad" - London: Hurst and Co, 2016).
Graduated from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Fabrice Weissman joined MSF in 1995. He spent several years as logistician and head of mission in Sub-Saharian Africa (Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, etc.), Kosovo, Sri Lanka and more recently Syria. He has published several articles and books on humanitarian action, including "In the Shadow of Just Wars. Violence, Politics and Humanitarian Action" (ed., London, Hurst & Co., 2004), "Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed. The MSF Experience" (ed., Oxford University Press, 2011) and "Saving Lives and Staying Alive. Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" (ed., London, Hurst & Co, 2016).
Caroline Izambert is a former history and geography teacher and has a doctorate from the EHESS. Her thesis focused on access to healthcare for foreigners in France. She is currently the director of advocacy for the anti-HIV and hepatitis association AIDES. With Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Pierre-André Juven, she published Pandémopolitique. Réinventer la santé commun (La Découverte, 2021).
Marc Le Pape has been a researcher at the CNRS and then at the EHESS. He is currently a member of the scientific committee of the CRASH. Formerly with the CNRS, Marc Le Pape is currently a researcher at the l'Ehess (Centre d'études africaines). He has carried out research in Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Central Africa. His recent studies have focused on the Great Lakes region in Africa. He has co-directed several publications: Côte d'Ivoire, l'année terrible 1999-2000 (2003), Crises extrêmes (2006) et dans le cadre de MSF : Une guerre contre les civils. Réflexions sur les pratiques humanitaires au Congo-Brazzaville, 1998-2000 (2001) and Génocide et crimes de masse. L'expérience rwandaise de MSF 1982-1997 (2016).
Born in France, Professor Bertrand Taithe studied at the Sorbonne with Professor François Crouzet and began his career as a historian of urban sociology. He later moved into the history of medicine and sexuality and is particularly interested in the history of humanitarian aid.Professor Taithe is a prolific author, Editor of the European Review of History, and Executive Director of HCRI.
Claudine Vidal is a sociologist whose research has mainly centred on Rwanda (from its pre-colonial history to the genocide of Tutsi Rwandans in 1994) and Côte d'Ivoire (history and sociology of urbanisation in Abidjan). This research has been carried out in the framework of the Centre d'Études africaines de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Since 1995 she has collaborated with MSF on various publications and regularly participates in the reflection and work of the CRASH.
The MSF FoUndation
The Médecins Sans Frontières Foundation was founded on the initiative of MSF. Since 2015, it has decided to anchor its action around two priority axes: to support the MSF association in its innovation process and to reinforce the competences of the organization.
Read more about The MSF Foundation
crash in the media
View CRASH members' speeches and articles in the media
CRASH members are regularly interviewed by journalists on MSF intervention-related issues, humanitarian topics and current events.