Stephen Cornish
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Stephen Cornish is the executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada. During more than ten years of field experience, Cornish managed several major MSF humanitarian interventions in contexts such as Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Georgia and Peru. Cornish holds a master’s degree in global risk and crisis management from the Université Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris, and a post-graduate diploma in conflict resolution from the University of Bradford. He has successfully negotiated humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in active conflict settings across the globe and has played key roles in resolving aid-worker abduction crises and other emergencies.

Cornish has served in management and advisory roles for the Canadian Red Cross and CARE Canada, and also serves on the boards of directors for several charitable organizations in Canada. His work has been published in academic and policy journals, including the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies and Policy Options. Cornish has helped spur public debate in Canada on pressing humanitarian issues, both as an analyst and contributor to news outlets such as the Globe and Mail, National Post and others, and by delivering keynote addresses to thought leaders in the humanitarian, international development and global-health sectors.

Visit: www.msf.ca, www.stephencornish.ca Follow on Twitter: @MSF_Canada, @Stephen_Cornish

Entries by Stephen Cornish

We Must Uphold Promises To Global Refugee Community

(2) Comments | Posted June 16, 2016 | 3:52 PM

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Since an agreement made last March between Europe and Turkey, Greece has turned refugee camps into detention camps. Refugees are sorted and wait to be sent back to Turkey. (Photo: Mohammad Ghannam/MSF)

"I was beaten with bare hands, with sticks, with guns. If you move,...

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The Response To Syria's Refugee Crisis Gives Us Hope For 2016

(1) Comments | Posted December 29, 2015 | 5:00 PM

A child sits in the Khoder Hawash makeshift settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have taken shelter.


From my vantage point as executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada, the year is ending in much the same...

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Canada Must Lead By Example In Global Refugee Crisis

(4) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 8:30 AM

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Three men wait to be transferred from a wooden fishing boat in the Mediterannean Sea to a rescue boat operated by Doctors Without Borders. Photo credit: © Gabriele François Casini/MSF

The lifejacket in the image accompanying this letter belonged to one of...

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Migrants Risking Their Lives Need Your Help, Not Just Your Sympathy

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2015 | 12:49 PM

Every year, thousands of people leave their homes in Central America and journey north in search of a better life. By the time they reach Mexico, many will have endured abuse, robbery, assault, or rape -- if they even get there at all. Murder rates along the migration routes are...

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The Fight Against Ebola is More Hopeful Than Ever, But it's Not Over

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 12:58 PM

When Malvin (not his real name) arrives for his weekly check-up at a newly opened Ebola survivor's clinic at the Prince of Wales centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he is the day's last patient. The clinic is located next door to what was recently an overflowing Ebola treatment centre, something...

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There Can Never Be a Humanitarian Component to Military Action

(13) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 12:24 PM

Sending military personnel into action is often described as one of the most serious decisions a government can make. Especially in Western democracies, political leaders must make the case for military action not only to legislatures, but to citizens as well -- who, having seen the human toll that war...

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As Vaccine Prices Soar, Big Pharma Profits

(4) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 4:50 PM

Last week in Berlin more than 15 countries, along with the European Commission, the Gates Foundation and others, pledged over US$7.5 billion to buy vaccines for the children of the world's poorest countries for the next five years. Canada alone pledged $500 million to Gavi, the...

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Small Glimpses of Humanity In a Year of Large and Daunting Crises

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 5:14 PM

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Photograph © Martin Zinggl/MSF


The number of major crises taking place around the globe this past year has been unparalleled in recent history. In fact, 2014 often seemed filled with intractable emergencies that were simply too big, too complex and too...

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For People in Bentiu, South Sudan's Conflict Zone Seems Like a Better Option

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 12:29 PM

MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country.

In a United Nations base-turned-protection-of-civilians-compound in Bentiu, South Sudan, where tens of thousands of people have been seeking shelter from the violence of the country's civil...

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South Sudan: What Life In a Humanitarian Prison is Like

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 11:30 AM

MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country.

Roughly 1,300 people are currently living on a United Nations-run base in Melut, South Sudan, a crowded patch of parched earth barely half the size of...

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South Sudan's Protection Camps Are in Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 12:48 PM

MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country.

Moving along the bustling market street that divides Malakal's two Protection of Civilian camps -- POC 1 and 2, which are now home to thousands of...

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In Malakal, South Sudan's Abysmal Tragedy Cannot Be Ignored

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 12:25 PM

MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country.

When flying into Malakal, South Sudan, the swollen river of the White Nile can be seen meandering through lush green fields, which recent rains have coaxed...

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South Sudan Has a Choice... Between Horror and Misery

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 12:43 PM

MSF Canada's Stephen Cornish is writing from South Sudan, where he is witnessing first-hand the humanitarian crisis currently affecting the world's youngest country.

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan last December, over a million people have been displaced by seemingly unending violent battles over key...

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Was South Sudan a Preventable Crisis?

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 5:34 PM

Three years ago this month, crowds gathered in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to celebrate the birth of a new country. The sun was shining on the day the Republic of South Sudan was officially welcomed into the world, reflecting the optimism that followed decades of brutal conflict with...

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How to Save Women and Children

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 12:30 PM

"Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach" was the title of an ambitious conference that brought the international aid community to Toronto last week. Canada's leadership -- in spearheading the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health -- has provided a much-needed shot in the arm...

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This Secret Trade Deal Contains Threats to Public Health

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 4:50 PM

Affordable generic drugs save millions of lives. Generic HIV medicines reduced the price of treatment from over $10,000 per person per year in 2001, to just $120 today. This made it possible for more than nine million people to receive treatment in developing countries.

Generic drugs are an essential...

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We Are Failing the People of the Central African Republic

(1) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 11:18 AM

This is the second in a series of posts about my recent trip to the Central African Republic (CAR). Beginning in 2013, inter-communal violence has led to large population displacements and overwhelming humanitarian needs. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing medical care throughout the country.

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Central African Republic Is Suffering, and the World Looks the Other Way

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 10:35 AM

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As the plane lands in Bangui, I am plunged into the country's newest displaced persons camp. About 100,000 of the city's inhabitants pack every available space around the runways. The fortunate occupy abandoned hangars.

A squalid shanty town has sprung up,...

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Doctors Without Borders Canada's Three Conflicts to Watch in 2014

(1) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 11:25 AM

People often ask me how Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) prioritizes its medical response around the world. I use the term macro triage -- a process whereby we look at the scale of the needs, our capacity and the medical value that we can bring, along with judging whether...

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Syrians Asked Me Why We've Abandoned Them, I Didn't Know What to Say

(5) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 9:38 AM

Bringing life-saving healthcare and humanitarian relief to populations in warzones around the world has long been a primary focus for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Doing so while maintaining the safety of both our staff and patients has become a growing and ever more challenging concern.

Nowhere is this...

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