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, France, September 2017

Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre)

A Swiss-based private diplomacy organisation founded on the principles of humanity, impartiality and independence.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) is a Swiss-based private diplomacy organisation founded on the principles of humanity, impartiality and independence. Our mission is to help prevent, mitigate, and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation.

HD uses the tools of private diplomacy to expand the space for the non-violent resolution of armed conflict. We open channels of communication and mediate between parties in conflict, facilitate dialogue, provide support to the broader mediation and peacebuilding community, carry out capacity building work, and conduct research on mediation issues. We deploy our expertise to support local processes that protect civilians and foster lasting and just peace. Our position enables us to link and collaborate with multiple organisations and actors within the mediation field.

Values and Principles

HD was founded to pursue Henry Dunant’s vision of a world more humane. HD embraces a set of values that foster integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity in all areas of its work. We subscribe to the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and operational independence.

Those values and principles, as well as HD’s operational standards are reflected in the HD Charter. This Charter, which guides HD’s activities, was adopted in 2013 following an internal review of the organisation’s identity, values and principles.

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The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s (HD) mission is to prevent, mitigate and resolve armed conflicts, through dialogue and mediation.

Means of action
  • Mediation and Dialogue: FR Mediation and dialogue are two of the most effective, and cheapest, tools for preventing and resolving armed conflicts. They comprise the core business of HD, a globally connected private diplomacy organisation that operates discreetly to help conflict parties settle their differences.

  • Mediation expertise: Providing effective support to mediators can increase the chances of successfully preventing, mitigating and resolving conflicts and of sustaining peace after an agreement is signed. HD offers this support by giving mediators access to the latest conflict resolution expertise and experience.

  • Oslo Forum: The Oslo Forum is the leading international network of conflict mediation practitioners. Co-hosted by the Norwegian Government and HD, the Oslo Forum convenes conflict mediators, peacemakers, high-level decision-makers and key peace process actors in a series of informal and discreet retreats.

  • Humanitarian mediation: As part of its conflict mediation and dialogue activities, and where political dialogue may be difficult or impossible, HD undertakes mediation on a humanitarian basis. Humanitarian mediation enables the parties in conflict to address key issues, such as safe access and protection of civilians, the special needs of women and children, displaced populations and any affected minority groups.

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The organisation is currently involved in more than 40 dialogue and mediation initiatives in over 20 countries, some public, others confidential.

Approach of peace

As a private peacemaking organisation, our strengths and distinguishing traits include:

  • The ability to conduct mediation at the leadership level of parties in conflict;

  • Political independence and impartiality;

  • Rapid, flexible response and the effective management of discreet processes;

  • Readiness to support other lead mediators;

  • Relationships with high-level networks;

  • Creativity and willingness to take risks for peace;

  • Capacity to convene.

HD pursues its objectives with a commitment to new approaches, to learning and to collaboration, working with others across borders, beliefs and professions. Since the organisation began operations in 1999, it has established itself as an institution that is reliable, discreet and astute.

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