Dr. Peter Bourne is a physician, anthropologist, biographer, author and international civil servant with experience in several senior government positions. He is presently chairman of the board of the American Association for World Health. Bourne is also Professor and Vice Chancellor Emeritus at St. George's University Medical School, Grenada.
Dr. Bourne was born in Oxford, England where he received his early education in the Dragon School. Dr. Bourne graduated with an M.D. degree from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia in 1962 and received an M.A. in anthropology from Stanford University in 1969. After graduating, he entered military service where he served as a Captain in the US Army. He was assigned to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) where he studied the psychological and physiological effects of stress on basic trainees and men in combat. He spent one year in Vietnam as head of the Army's psychiatric research team, where he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Combat Medics Badge. After returning from Vietnam he was active in the anti-war movement.
Bourne became active in Democratic politics in 1971 when he worked in the offices of the newly elected governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Bourne was also influential in convincing Carter to run for Presidency several years later, and became a deputy campaign manager for Carter in Washington.
After setting up and successfully running Georgia's first statewide drug treatment program, Bourne was asked to take a position as deputy in charge of treatment programs in President Nixon's Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) in Washington.
Under President Carter, Bourne was appointed special assistant to the President for health issues and was also first to hold the newly created position of Director of the National Drug Control Policy, (the so-called "Drug Czar"). He resigned this position amid controversy after NORML director Keith Stroup leaked a story to reporter Jack Anderson that Bourne had snorted cocaine at a NORML Christmas party in 1977 with Hunter S. Thompson and David Kennedy.
In 1979 Bourne became an Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations, where he established and ran the "International Drinking Water Decade," a ten-year program that provided clean drinking water to 500 million people worldwide. After leaving the UN in 1982 for the private sector, he served on the boards of numerous charities.
In 1995 as an Advisor on Foreign Policy to US Congressman Bill Richardson, Bourne accompanied him to Baghdad for a meeting with Saddam Hussein to secure the release of two American aerospace workers who had been captured by the Iraqis after wandering over the Kuwaiti border. Richardson and Bourne subsequently collaborated on a number of such efforts in Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, and North Korea, where they helped win the release of an American lay preacher who had crossed to the wrong side of the border.
Dr. Bourne has authored over 100 articles and written or edited ten books.