Nicolas de Torrente assumed the post of executive director of the US office of MSF in February 2001. He has managed international relief projects for MSF in some of the world's most complex humanitarian crises, including in Rwanda, Liberia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan. Mr. de Torrente takes over from Joelle Tanguy, who served as executive director from 1994 through February 2001.
Bearing witness to injustice and abuse has been a fundamental component of the mission of MSF's since the organization's founding in 1971. But how do we decide when and how to raise our voices?
When a massive earthquake struck the Indian state of Gujarat on January 26, 2001, MSF was ready to take action. An assessment team arrived on site the next day, and by February 5, MSF had flown in several medical teams and a total of 80 tons of relief supplies. The initial priority was first aid and surgical care for those injured.
On March 9 and 10, MSF participated in the 13th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum sponsored by Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in cooperation with the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway.
MSF received the joyful news early in the morning of February 4, 2001: our friend and colleague Kenneth Gluck had been released unharmed 26 days after having been kidnapped in Chechnya.
Since the start of 2001, waves of attacks by armed groups on refugee camps located in a small parcel of land in southwestern Guinea known as Langue de Gueckedou, or "Parrot's Beak," have placed more than 100,000 refugees who had escaped fighting in Sierra Leone and Liberia and tens of thousands of Guinean citizens at severe risk. With armed groups on all sides, it has been impossible for most of the people to escape, and very difficult for any humanitarian aid to reach those in need.