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Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
HD Centre Logo
Formation August 1999 (1999-08)
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose Conflict prevention and resolution
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Executive Director
David Harland
Website www.hdcentre.org

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, otherwise known as the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, or HD, is a private diplomacy organisation based in Switzerland that assists in mediation between conflicting parties to prevent or end armed conflicts. Founded in 1999, the aim of the organisation is to promote and facilitate dialogue among the leadership of the main belligerents.

It also conducts research and analysis on mediation and peacemaking in support of its operational work to improve international efforts to secure and sustain peace. To do so, HD opens channels of communication and mediates between parties in conflict, as well as facilitates dialogue and provides support to the broader mediation and peacebuilding community. HD will facilitate dialogue in both confidential settings as well as public ones.

It is headquartered in Geneva, which is also the location of its Middle East and North Africa programme. HD has regional offices in Africa and Asia.

The initial intention of HD was to explore new concepts of humanitarian innovation by serving as a venue for dialogue on humanitarian issues - where discreet discussions could take place among those who could have a practical impact on humanitarian policy and practice.

The organisation evolved this approach to include negotiations in support of humanitarian objectives and aimed to create space for humanitarian activities in conflict environments. It quickly broadened, at the behest of conflicting parties in Aceh, to include the resolution of the conflict through mediation and conflict prevention.

In July 2015, in recognition of its important role in the mediation of armed conflicts, HD was granted a special status by the Federal Council of Switzerland. Through this status, HD was awarded certain privileges and immunities intended to enable its peacemaking efforts worldwide.

The Founding Executive Director of HD was Martin Griffiths. He led the organization for more than 10 years, from 1999 to July 2010, when he stepped down from his position. Griffiths was replaced for a brief period (July 2010 to March 2011) by Angelo Gnaedinger, former Director General of the ICRC and the then HD Regional Director for the Middle East. Following this transitional period, David Harland was appointed as HD's new Executive Director in April 2011.



  • Open and maintain channels to or between parties to a conflict;
  • Help prepare environments for mediation and the resolution of armed conflict;
  • Facilitate dialogue in support of wider mediation and dialogue processes, and;
  • Provide support to other mediation initiatives through advice, people and operational assistance.
  • Promoting the sharing of experiences in the mediation sector:
  • Developing new ways to approach the many issues that surround the topic of mediation:
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