**** Tribute to Dr Surin Pitsuwan **** 1949 – 2017
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.
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.
As a private peacemaking organisation, our strengths and distinguishing traits include:
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.
HD’s operational work strongly relies on service-oriented corporate services (Human Resources, Finance, Communications, Fundraising Logistics and IT) to guarantee efficiency and compliance in a fast moving environment. The organisation operates as an international organisation under a host state agreement with Switzerland.
One of HD’s strengths is its ability and commitment to conduct confidential dialogue processes. A confidential process can provide an enabling environment for parties to begin addressing differences. It may also reduce the potential risks around negotiation, especially at an early stage in the process when publicity may jeopardise sensitive talks or the security of those taking part.
Financing HD’s peace work
HD strives to help bring peace to over 20 war-torn countries. The organisation relies on grants and donations to finance its work. Acting in a private, trusted capacity, impartial to warring parties’ interests and independent from external political interests, we seek support from institutional and private donors. A donation to HD represents an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to innovation and results in the tough challenge of forging peace.
What are the benefits of funding peace work?
Private diplomacy working to prevent and resolve conflict is a young field. Historical data comparing the cost of actions by organisations such as HD against traditional forms of national interest-driven diplomacy are not readily available. However, figures comparing the cost of war and its consequences to the cost of dialogue and mediation are increasingly publicised. They show astonishing differences and readily affirm that investing in even the toughest, most arduous and drawn out dialogues towards peace is not only a humanitarian imperative but also an economic one.
How does HD use its funds?
In seeking out dialogue between warring parties or across political fault lines, HD is quietly and extensively helping to reduce violence in many of the world’s most difficult environments. Good governance, attention to purposefulness and strong programme support ensure that operating funds are put to best use. HD functions effectively with decentralised operations and an office in Switzerland that provides leadership, financial and procedural controls, and fundraising support.
What kind of support does HD receive?
In 2016, HD’s annual income reached CHF 31 million from 25 government, private foundation, organisation and individual donors including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the European Union, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Peace Support Fund, the Bosch Foundation, the Hoffmann Foundation, the Third Millennium Foundation, Humanity United, the United Nations, and the City of Geneva.
In 2011, HD adopted a HD whistleblower policy on reporting alleged fraud or abuse.