Dr. Christos Giannou
Professor, Trauma Sciences Masters Programme, Queen Mary School of Medicine, University of London and Visiting Professor, Management of Health Crisis Masters Programme, School of Medicine, University of Athens
Dr. Christos Giannou was born in Toronto, Canada, the son of Greek immigrant parents. After studying at the University of Toronto and McGill University, he taught for a year in Bamako, Mali (where he almost died from a combination of hepatitis A and malaria), before continuing his medical education at Algiers (Algeria), Angers (France) and Cairo (Egypt).
From 1980 to1990, he was a Surgeon with the Palestine Red Crescent Society during the civil war in Lebanon where he founded several field hospitals. He was taken prisoner of war by the Israeli army during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and was responsible for the medical care of Israeli POWs in the hands of the PLO in Tripoli, Lebanon. From 1985 to 1988, Dr. Giannou was Director and sole surgeon of the PRCS Hospital at the Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, during the War of the Camps.
Dr. Giannou then 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, he was Medical Coordinator of the ICRC campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines. Dr. Giannou 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.
He is 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). He has also published his memoirs in the Shatila Refugee Camp: Besieged: A Doctor's Story of Life and Death in Beirut (1990).
Although officially retired from the ICRC, he continues to deploy on short field missions. He also serves 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. He has been to the Syrian-Turkish border to train Syrian surgeons in war surgery techniques three times, most recently with the Qatari Red Crescent Society.
Dr. Giannou is an Associate Professor in the Trauma Sciences Masters programme at Queen Mary School of Medicine, University of London and a Visiting Professor in the Management of Health Crisis Masters programme at the School of Medicine, University of Athens.
He was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1990 for his 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 in 1987.