Dr Christos Giannou

Honorary lecturer

I was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1949. I am a simple man, but I have led a complicated life!

 After studying at the University of Toronto Schools and McGill University (Montreal),I taught for a year in Bamako, Mali (where I almost died from a combination of hepatitis A and malaria!), before continuing my medical education at Algiers (Algeria), Angers (France), and Cairo (Egypt).

From 1980-90, I was a surgeon with the Palestine Red Crescent Society during the civil war in Lebanon where I founded several field hospitals. I was taken prisoner of war by the Israeli army during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and then in 1983 I was responsible for the medical care of Israeli POWs in the hands of the PLO in Tripoli, Lebanon. I went on to work as a field surgeon for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Burundi, and Chechnya. In 1995, I was medical coordinator of the ICRC campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines.I then served as Head Surgeon of the ICRC in Geneva from 1998 to 2005 with field missions to Sudan, DR Congo, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the DPR Korea amongst other favourite tourist spots.

I am the senior author of the ICRC publications First Aid in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence (2005) and War Surgery: Working with Limited Resources in Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence, Volume 1 (2009) and Volume 2 (2013).I've also published memoirs of my work in the Shatila refugee camp: Besieged: A Doctor's Story of Life and Death in Beirut (1990).

Although officially retired from the ICRC, I continue to deploy on short field missions. I also serve as surgical consultant for the rapid deployment field hospitals of the Canadian Red Cross and the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Darwin, Australia.

In addition to my role as Honorary Faculty in the Trauma Sciences masters programme, I am also Visiting Professor in the Management of Health Crises masters programme at the School of Medicine, University of Athens.

In 1990 I was privileged to be inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in for my humanitarian work in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon and was awarded the Star of Palestine by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

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