James is a former head of the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and shares stories from his decades of service in Russia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Rwanda. As fate would have it he was in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide - his “undoing”- and he struggled with the horror he has witnessed. He shares personal insights on the human toll of political and social disasters and his frustration at not being able to prevent that which he felt to be preventable (immunizations and life saving treatments that are cost prohibitive). He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for Médecins Sans Frontières in 1999 and in 2004 launched a new organization with James Fraser, Dignitas International to implement community-based care programs in developing nations for people living with HIV/AIDS.
He has become a hero to me and joins the ranks of my personal panel of changemakers and inspirational people that include of Stephen Lewis, Romeo Dallaire, Craig Kielburger - all of whom are (coincidentally) Canadian.
With tomorrow being Canada Day, and today being my Thursday "Give a Little", I am donating to Dignitas International and celebrating a man - James Orbinsky, and an organization that exemplifies what I hold true to what it means to be truly Canadian.
Read about my Thursday's Give a Little Challenge and other posts. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Consider giving it a read.