Bernard Kouchner

Bernard Kouchner -

Bernard Kouchner (born November 1, 1939) is a French socialist politician, diplomat, and physician, known for being one of the founders of the organization "Doctors Without Borders." In 2007, he was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France by President Nicolas Sarkozy. He served in this position during the first government of Prime Minister François Fillon until November 14, 2010, when he was replaced by Michèle Alliot-Marie.


Kouchner was born in Avignon, in southern France, to a Jewish father of Ashkenazi descent and a French Protestant Christian mother. His grandparents perished in Auschwitz, where they were sent during the German occupation of France in World War II.

He began his political career within the French Communist Party and worked as a doctor with the Red Cross in Nigeria during the Nigerian Civil War in 1968. His medical specialization is in gastroenterology.

Between 1992 and 1993, Kouchner served as the Minister of Health in France. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1997 and served as the Minister of Health again from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2001, he was the United Nations Special Representative in Kosovo and effectively served as the Minister of Health of France from 2001 to 2002. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University.

Kouchner's political positions are generally aligned with the left-wing of the political spectrum, often in opposition to the more conservative positions of Sarkozy. He is known as an advocate for social justice and human rights, areas that are not considered strong points of Sarkozy's public image.

He has also been a vocal critic of Sarkozy in the lead-up to elections and openly supported his socialist rival Ségolène Royal in the presidential race. Therefore, Sarkozy's choice of Kouchner as the Foreign Minister was seen as surprising and unconventional. Nevertheless, they found common ground on several issues, notably a pro-American foreign policy and strengthening the ties between France and the United States.

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