Dr. Richard Heinzl
Founder of the First North American Chapter of Doctors Without Borders
In 1988, just out of medical school, Richard Heinzl founded the first North American chapter of Doctors Without Borders, the Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian organization. Shortly thereafter he became its first field volunteer, spending an extraordinary year in remote Cambodia. (These experiences are movingly captured in his new memoir, Cambodia Calling.) Hundreds of volunteers have since followed in his footsteps, bringing their healing skills to help many of the world's most vulnerable people. For his work, Heinzl has been named one Report on Business' Top 40 Under 40. He is also a renowned speaker, sharing his stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of war and other challenges.
Lessons from Abroad: The Opportunities of a Borderless World
Richard Heinzl crafts a unique message for each group he speaks with. With perspective and humility, he shares lessons from his experiences at the far corners of the world: major moments, like working through a humanitarian crisis during the Iraq War, or witnessing South Africa's first democratic elections. He also captures the quieter, no less wondrous, moments. Like seeing how a simple Frisbee, given to a group of kids at the frontlines, can bring joy half the world away. Or how, in most places he went, the Internet had beat him there, shrinking the globe. (Still, in other places, the 'Net was absent -- developing in him a visceral need for something like it to come along.)
Heinzl takes us past the expected sphere of humanitarian aid stories to reveal a remarkable world with universal lessons and incredible human stories (beginning with the story of how his experiences changed his life.) Zooming out, he points to the exponential change in our borderless world. Why, for instance, it is more important than ever for individuals and organizations to have a non-conventional approach to problem solving. We need to embrace this change, he says, and to see what is truly valuable in our world--and how we are all connected in it.
Cambodia Calling: A Memoir from the Frontlines of Humanitarian Aid
Richard Heinzl is a medical doctor from Hamilton, Ontario, and is the founder of Doctors Without Borders / Medicins Sans Frontieres in Canada. He studied at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, Harvard University, and the University of Oxford. His travels and work have taken him to over 70 countries, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a citation from the Government of Cambodia and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, McMaster University. He travels widely, speaking about his adventures in the field to enthusiastic audience at universities and organizations. He lives in Oakville, Ontario, with his wife and two sons.
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