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Stephen Cornish

Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Canada

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.

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Médecins Sans Frontières

Amid Conflict And Crisis, Finding Reasons For Hope

Every December, we look back not only to assess the past 12 months, but also to find reasons for hope heading into the new year. It's not always an easy task, especially when focusing on Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)'s work on the front lines of humanitarian crises around the globe.
12/21/2016 11:16 EST
Mohammad Ghannam/MSF

We Must Uphold Promises To Global Refugee Community

The current global migration crisis has been exacerbated by governments shirking their obligations to protect people during their most vulnerable moments. States are increasingly disregarding their responsibilities to uphold the rights of migrants and refugees, and are failing to treat them with humanity and dignity.
06/16/2016 03:52 EDT
Ghazal Sotoudeh/MSF

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

Despite there being no shortage of reasons for despair, we must start this new year with hope. There is no doubt that the situation in Syria is dire. But just as with Ebola, we can mitigate the dreadful human toll if we retain our instincts for empathy, and remain steadfast in our defence of fundamental humanitarian principles.
12/29/2015 06:00 EST
Pierre Crom via Getty Images

Canada Must Lead By Example In Global Refugee Crisis

People don't abandon their homes out of choice, and they are not unaware of the risks they will face along their journeys. It is out of desperation that they flee war and torture, misery, poverty and persecution. Doctors Without Borders delivers humanitarian medical care and sees first-hand the suffering and horrible conditions that drive people to risk their lives for the chance of a better future.
10/01/2015 08:30 EDT
Fabio Basone/MSF

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

I am in Sierra Leone to visit some of the Ebola treatment centres run by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in response to the West African epidemic that began just over one year ago. That the Prince of Wales centre in Freetown, and other Ebola centres are closing is a sign case numbers have plummeted from the historic highs seen in the outbreak.
04/24/2015 12:58 EDT

There Can Never Be a Humanitarian Component to Military Action

There is simply no compatibility between humanitarian action and the use of military force in combat. One has as its singular objective the alleviation of human suffering, regardless of the sufferer's identity or affiliation; the other, by definition, involves taking the side of one group against the other. That's also why it is very worrying to hear that humanitarian assistance is being used as strategic tactic in military action.
04/14/2015 12:24 EDT
RidvanArda via Getty Images

As Vaccine Prices Soar, Big Pharma Profits

Last week in Berlin more than 15 countries pledged over US$7.5 billion to buy vaccines for the children of the world's poorest countries for the next five years. While this is great news for the millions of children living in the 73 countries supported by Gavi, there were other big winners: the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the soaring vaccine prices they charge for vaccines worldwide.
02/04/2015 05:50 EST

South Sudan's Protection Camps Are in Crisis

Tents seem to sprout from flooded ditches that meander in serpentine fashion through the haphazard settlements. Even in daylight, wading through the camp is a challenge, with gumboots sinking constantly into a quicksand of sewage and muck. It is no wonder that at night many relieve themselves directly in the ditches rather than venture out.
09/04/2014 12:48 EDT

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

The former residents of this place -- whether of Shilluk, Dinka or Nuer ethnicity -- all suffered at the hands of the fighters who have been waging an indiscriminate and vicious tug-of-war over Malakal. Those who are currently sheltered where aid has reached, in the POC sites and displacement camps, are the fortunate ones.
09/02/2014 12:25 EDT

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

Overcrowded, disease-infested and sometimes flooded by sewage, the POC sites are failing to truly protect the civilians in their care. A true commitment to protection must include safeguarding vulnerable people against hunger, disease, sexual violence, unnecessary mental anguish and being forced back out into conflict zones merely to survive.
08/29/2014 12:43 EDT

Was South Sudan a Preventable Crisis?

The actors who built South Sudan knew what they were creating: a country barely emerged from decades of devastating conflict, led by a generation with no access to education or any kind of functioning infrastructure; a completely impoverished petro-state, entirely dependent on oil resources but with no capacity to develop them on its own; and a nation deeply split by ethnic divisions.
07/18/2014 05:34 EDT
Pierre Barker

How to Save Women and Children

To support children as they grow into adulthood, it's essential that we make lifesaving vaccines affordable for families in poor and middle-income countries the world over. Only then will the world's generosity truly be in line with its objectives.
06/06/2014 12:30 EDT

This Secret Trade Deal Contains Threats to Public Health

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is being negotiated in secret, but leaked documents from the negotiations have revealed that the United States is pushing hard for strict intellectual property rules that would protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies at the expense of patients. These rules would extend patent monopolies and delay the introduction of cheaper generic drugs, allowing the big brand-name drug companies to maintain their high prices for longer periods of time. This would put lifesaving medicines out of reach for millions of poor people around the world. It could also lead to higher drug prices here at home.
03/21/2014 10:10 EDT