Private diplomacy - A unique peacemaking instrument

The HD Centre: 28 agreements in three years

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

Why is the HD Centre needed?

After two decades of expanding peace, the world is experiencing an upswing in violent conflict. Conflict feeds the cycle of poverty, disease and refugee flows, and creates ungoverned spaces that enable terrorism and international crime to thrive.

We can reverse this trend. We know what the drivers of conflict are, and which tools work best to address them. We invest in those instruments that are measurably effective, and are committed to mobilise quickly to help contain outbreaks of conflict and work towards a wider, lasting peace.

Our approach

The HD Centre is an experienced and entrepreneurial team.  It enjoys access to decision makers, influential actors and conflict parties, and draws on a formidable global network of experts to support dialogue processes. Conflict parties know we have no hidden agenda, and trust us for our discretion. Our low-profile approach allows us to engage in situations where official actors (for example outside governments or intergovernmental organisations) cannot. Crucially, we can react quickly and flexibly to crises, and take more calculated risks than large organisations.

Wars, uprisings, contested election outcomes, violent political transitions - every situation is unique. We strive to find innovative solutions appropriate to each context. In some cases, we mediate directly between the main protagonists, providing a confidential space for them to explore options for a negotiated settlement. Other times, we facilitate broader dialogues with a range of actors - civil society, national and community leaders, and others.

Our track record

For 15 years, the HD Centre has shepherded settlements in many countries. In the last three years alone, we have facilitated 28 peace and violence-reduction agreements. We are currently involved in around 35 projects and in over 20 countries.

Concretely, some recent successes have included:

  • Philippines: As member of the International Contact Group, the HD Centre supported the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in a process that led to the signing of historic agreements in 2012 and 2014 respectively, which have opened the way to lasting peace in the southern part of the country.
  • Tunisia: in 2014, the HD Centre facilitated an informal dialogue process between the country’s main political parties, including Islamist, secularist, revolutionary and former regime representatives, which culminated in July 2014 with the signing of a Charter of Honour on the fair, transparent and democratic conduct of elections.
  • In several highly sensitive processes in Africa, South Asia and Europe involving extremist and terrorist groups, the HD Centre facilitated important agreements to end armed activities or to allow humanitarian access to war-affected populations.
  • Kenya: in 2012, the HD Centre supported a peace process between local communities in the Rift Valley of Kenya, the epicentre of post-election violence in 2007-2008. The process culminated in the signing of a peace agreement in August 2012, which contributed to ensuring peaceful national elections in 2013.