Bernard Kouchner (born 1 November 1939 in Avignon) is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) -- also known as Doctors Without Borders -- and Doctors of the World. From 2007 until 2010 he was the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the right-wing Fillon government under president Nicolas Sarkozy, although he had been in the past a minister in socialist governments.
Born to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother, he began his political career as a member of the French Communist Party (PCF), from which he was expelled in 1966 for attempting to overthrow the leadership. On a visit to Cuba in 1964, Kouchner spent the night fishing and drinking with Fidel Castro. In the protests of May 1968, he ran the medical faculty strike committee at the Sorbonne. Kouchner has three children (Julie, Camille and Antoine) by his first wife, Évelyne Pisier, a professor of law, and one child, Alexandre, by his present wife Christine Ockrent, a television journalist. He worked as a physician for the Red Cross in Biafra in 1968 (during the Nigerian Civil War). He founded Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in 1971, and then, due to a conflict of opinion with MSF chairman Claude Malhuret, the Doctors of the World ('Médecins du Monde') in 1980. What made him co-found Médecins Sans Frontières was his experience as a physician for the Red Cross during the Nigerian Civil War that took place in Biafra, 1968. Kouchner worked as a humanitarian volunteer during the Siege of Naba’a refugee camp in Lebanon in East Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War taking risks that "other foreign aid workers weren’t, even worked closely with the Shia cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr."
From 1988, he began his government career in Socialist governments, though he was not always a member of the French Socialist Party. He became 'Secrétaire d'état', a lower position in the Cabinet, for Humanitarian Action in 1988, then Minister of Health in 1992, under Mitterrand's presidency. Later, he continued his political career in the European Parliament. Between 1993 and 1997, France was governed by right governments.