The International Board (IB) is the board of MSF International. It acts on behalf of and is accountable to the International General Assembly (IGA). As the highest associative governance body of MSF, the IGA delegates duties to the Board, as defined in the Statutes of the association.
The International Board (IB) is intended to have mainly a guiding role, ensuring accountability and facilitating agreement within the MSF movement in a timely manner.
The IB is composed of: the International President; the international treasurer (non-voting; can be co-opted); one representative for each operational centre (5 people); six additional persons elected by the IGA.
Two thirds of IB members must have a medical background.
The members of the International Board are:
The International President, Dr Christos Christou, joined MSF in 2002, where his first assignment was in Greece as a field doctor, working with migrants and refugees, before working as a doctor in an HIV/AIDS project in Zambia in 2004 and 2005. After a break from field missions for a number of years while he trained as a surgeon, from 2013 he joined MSF missions in a number of conflict zones and insecure contexts, including South Sudan, Iraq and, most recently, Cameroon, as an Emergency and Trauma surgeon.
Born in Trikala, a small town in central Greece, Dr Christou graduated from Aristotle University’s medical school in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has a PhD in Surgery from the Kapodestrian University of Athens. He holds a Masters in International Health - Health Crisis Management from the University of Athens and is member of its faculty.
Dr Christou later specialised in general and emergency surgery in the Surgical and Transplant Unit of Evangelismos Hospital in Athens. In 2013 he moved to London, working as a Senior Clinical Fellow in Colorectal surgery at King’s College Hospital, and in 2018 became Consultant of Colorectal and Emergency Surgery at North Middlesex University Hospital. In 2018 he was awarded Fellow of the European Board of Surgery in Coloproctology.
Dr Christou was first General Secretary, then Vice-President and finally President of MSF Greece Board of Directors from 2005 until his election as International President in June 2019. In 2022, Dr Christou was re-elected as International President for another three-year mandate.
Oscar Bernal grew up and studied medicine in Colombia and has doctorate in public health from Spain. He has worked with MSF for more than 28 years in more than 20 countries, including Angola as a field doctor/surgeon, in Liberia (1995) as medical coordinator, Sudan (1996) as head of mission, Russia (1997) as project coordinator, and Guatemala (1999), Bolivia (2001), Indonesia (2007), and Colombia (2009) as a medical coordinator. Oscar also worked as a technical adviser on infectious diseases from 2003 to 2009. He has participated in several MSF associations, including MSF France and MSF Spain, and was involved in the creation and development of MSF Latin America. He works as a professor and MPH coordinator in the University of Andes, Colombia. Oscar was elected to the International Board in 2023.
Yvan Legris spent over 30 years at HR Consulting firm Aon Hewitt where he became the global Chief Executive of the consulting division in 2012 prior to joining MSF. Yvan is an actuary by profession and has been pursuing a Masters in Humanitarian Action at the CERAH since September 2016. He has been a volunteer advisor on HR projects to the MSF International Office since April 2016. He was born in Mauritius and lives in London. Yvan was elected to the International Board in 2022.
Paula Gil Leyva studied nursing before she joined MSF in 2003, with her first mission as a nurse in Angola. Since then she has worked in Mozambique, Central African Republic, Angola again, and more recently in Spain, during our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Over the course of her field work, she has held various positions, including field coordinator, medical coordinator, and project coordinator, before diversifying her experience and working in human resources, including as human resources coordinator. In addition to her nursing degrees, Paula holds a postgraduate degree in Gender and Equality studies from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. She was elected President of MSF Spain in October 2021.
Sam Bumicho is a medical and public health practitioner, with over 15 years of experience in humanitarian organisations. Sam endeavours to provide the best medical and public health approaches that put communities at the centre. He began his career with MSF in 2004 and has assisted in developing community-based strategies for our projects in Kenya. Sam is also the co-founder and executive director of Communities For Action, a Kenyan based non-governmental organisation that strives to empower communities with skills and basic resources to address their health problems with local solutions. From his home in Kenya, Sam continues to engage in discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion through multiple international platforms as MSF’s International Vice President, a position he was elected to in 2021.
Erastus Cheti gained an MsC in monitoring and evaluation in population and development, and a bachelor's degree in social sciences from The University of Nairobi. He joined MSF in Kenya in 2007 as project monitoring and evaluation lead/data manager where he stayed until 2016. He then took on the position of monitoring, evaluation, strategic information manager at PEPFAR agency in collaboration with Henry Jackson Foundation of Medical Research International. He became a board member of MSF Eastern Africa in 2019. In 2022, Erastus was elected as a member of the International Board.
Dr Isabelle Defourny trained as doctor before joining MSF in 1999, with her first mission in Yemen. Since then she has worked in Eritrea, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan. In 2004, she joined MSF Operational Centre Paris as programme manager before becoming a member of the Association’s board of directors and finally becoming Director of Operations until March 2022. In June 2022, Dr Isabelle Defourny was elected president of MSF France during the association’s 51st General Assembly.
Dr Chibuzo Okonta is a general medical practitioner trained in Nigeria, where he worked as a doctor before joining MSF in Katsina, northern Nigeria, during a measles outbreak response; he has been working in the humanitarian field since 2005. Chibuzo has worked for MSF in several West and Central African countries, including as an emergency coordinator in emergency responses in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Haiti, Iraq, Syria and Uganda. In 2014, he joined the emergency unit of MSF France in Paris as one of the programme managers. Chibuzo has extensive expertise in responding to complex humanitarian emergencies including nutritional crises, and refugees and displaced people following wars or a natural disaster. He is a cofounder of MSF in West and Central Africa (WACA). Chibuzo is very passionate about environmental health and mitigating issues due to climate change and global warming. As President of MSF WACA, he was co-opted on to the International Board in February 2021.
Reveka Papadopoulou started working with MSF in 1995 in Armenia and after missions in Palestine, Liberia, the former Yugoslavia, and Honduras, she took the position of Liaison for MSF's Access Campaign in 2003, before working as Deputy Programme Manager and Programme Manager for the Operational Centre in Geneva. Reveka spent four years, from 2008 to 2012, as General Director of MSF Greece before returning to the field. She was first elected to the International Board in 2014, and elected President of MSF Switzerland/OCG in 2017.
Saleem Kassam is a physician with a Masters in clinical epidemiology from the University of Toronto, where he also acquired a degree in adult cardiology and interventional cardiology. Saleem has worked with MSF since 1999, working in the field as a medical doctor and project coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Kenya and Haiti, as well as serving on the MSF Canada Board as Vice President from 2015 to 2020. Saleem was elected to the International Board in 2023.
Parthesarathy (Sarathi) Rajendran studied economics and anthropology in India before joining MSF in January 2005. He first worked as an assistant field coordinator in a mental health project in southern India in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Sarathi then worked in a number of roles – including in logistics, advocacy, and as Head of Mission – in countries such as South Sudan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nauru, before leaving MSF in July 2017. Today, after he received a Masters in International Health from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, he works at the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, at Heidelberg University in Germany. Sarathi was elected to the International Board in June 2021.
Tammam Aloudat is a medical doctor who has worked in multiple humanitarian and global health organisations over the last 20 years. Active on health equity and reform in humanitarianism and global health, Tammam joined MSF in 2012 as the Head of the Public Health Department in Amsterdam. He has also held positions as the Deputy Medical Director for MSF Switzerland and as Deputy Executive Director for MSF’s Access Campaign. He has also undertaken assignments with MSF in Turkiye/Syria, Yemen, and Niger. He is a prolific writer and lecturer, and has published various pieces on decolonising humanitarianism and humanitarian aid. Tammam was elected to the board of MSF Netherlands in June 2022, when he was also chosen as President by the board.
Fasil Tezera gained his pharmacy degree before joining MSF in 1990 as a pharmacist in Liberia. For more than 30 years he has worked with MSF in the field in various capacities, from pharmacist to head of mission, in countries including Rwanda, South Sudan, Pakistan and Nepal. After a long career working for MSF in long-term projects as well as emergencies, he took a position in the analysis department of MSF’s Operational Centre in Brussels before being elected as President of MSF Belgium and the Operational Centre in Brussels. He became a member of the International Board in 2022.
Yves McGale is a Senior Partner and the Leader of the Global Strategists Group at financial services company Aon. Previously he served as Aon’s Chief Administration Officer for the Retirement Practice and the company’s US West Region Retirement Practice Leader. Yves earned a Bachelor degree in Actuarial Science from Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in the US. He has over 30 years’ experience working with organisations on the financial and human capital management of their retirement and overall benefit programmes, concentrating on multi-country engagements. In 2023, Yves was selected to the International Board as International Treasurer.