13 October 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières, the medical humanitarian organization, has been awarded the Chatham House Prize 2015 for its life-saving work in combating the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been awarded the Chatham House Prize 2015.

The Chatham House Prize is presented annually to the person or organization deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.

This year, members voted for MSF in recognition of its work in combating the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. MSF was among the first groups to respond to the epidemic in March of that year and remained engaged on the ground throughout the crisis, caring for the majority of patients in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. MSF leaders and staff were persistent and forceful in their action to halt the spread of the epidemic and, as a result, were instrumental in saving thousands of lives. 

Dr Joanne Liu, MSF’s international president, will represent MSF at the Chatham House Prize award ceremony in London where she will be presented with a crystal award and a scroll, signed by Her Majesty The Queen, patron of the institute. Previous recipients of the Prize include former president Lula of Brazil, Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr Robin Niblett CMG, director of Chatham House, said: 

'I warmly congratulate Médecins Sans Frontières on being voted the recipient of this year's Chatham House Prize. This is the first time an organization has been awarded the Prize and I am delighted that their vital work has been recognized in this way. MSF led the fight against Ebola by sounding an early alarm on its dangers. It put into place a highly effective operation that saved thousands of lives, and helped prevent a more wide-spread catastrophe, risking and, in some cases, losing the lives of its own staff.'

Dr Joanne Liu, international president of MSF said:

'I am honoured that MSF will be the recipient of this year’s Chatham House Prize and I look forward to accepting this award on behalf of the thousands of people who worked in the Ebola outbreak. This includes the doctors, nurses and logisticians who volunteered from around the world, and the thousands more national staff in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone who made our work possible. Knowing that they did this while coping with the fear of Ebola in their communities and in the face of incredible stigma makes their contribution even more remarkable. While we continue to work on the ground, our focus is also trying to ensure that next time there is an outbreak, that patients get the care and treatment they need, on time, before it spreads and turns into a killer epidemic. But we all still have a long way to go and it is important that we work together to respond to these challenges and opportunities.'

Members Event

Chatham House Prize 2015: In Conversation with Dr Joanne Liu of Médecins Sans Frontières
13 October 2015 - 17:00 - 18:00


Chatham House gratefully acknowledges the support of our lead sponsor Royal Dutch Shell, and other sponsors AIG, BHP Billiton, Chevron and DTCC.


There were three other nominees for the Chatham House Prize 2015:

  • Mahamadou Issoufou, President, Republic of Niger (2011-) 
  • Juan Manuel Santos, President, Republic of Colombia (2010-)
  • Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany (2005-)

About the Chatham House Prize

The annual Chatham House Prize, launched in 2005, is awarded to the person or organization that is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.

The selection process draws on the expertise of Chatham House's research teams and three presidents, who nominate candidates. Our members are then invited to vote for the winner in a ballot.

Further information about the Chatham House Prize