Jean Ziegler was born in 1934. As a young man he was influenced by his friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and by the two years he spent in Africa. The sociology professor at Geneva University was a member of the National Council of the Swiss Confederation until 1999. Publications such as Swiss Whitewash and Switzerland,the Gold and the Dead set off bitter controversies. His latest bestseller was Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry. The books have been translated into numerous languages. Ziegler is at present a member of the UN Human Rights Council.