David Harland

Executive Director

David Harland has been HD’s Executive Director since 2011. David previously worked for the United Nations, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti and Timor Leste, including as acting head of government.  He was author of the UN Secretary-General’s landmark report on the Fall of Srebrenica. He currently serves on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation, was Chair of the World Economic Forum conflict prevention council and was adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Affairs (SAIS). David has published widely on the issues surrounding conflict and international relations, in the New York Times and elsewhere. Earlier, he was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Government, where he taught Chinese politics.  David has a Master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, as well as a graduate diploma from Beijing University. His graduate research was on compliance with public international law, and on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.  David is from New Zealand. He is married to Tanja, and they have one daughter. 


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

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Foundation Board

As a Swiss nonprofit Foundation, HD is supervised by a Board, which serves on a voluntary basis. It sets the mission and the general policy of the Foundation and provides overall supervision of the development and implementation of the organisation’s programme and administration, as managed by the Senior Management Team.

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HD’s team has grown from a small group of 6 people in 1999 to more than 300 from over 40 different nationalities today, supervised by a 11 member Senior Management Team. The organisation is made up of individuals driven by meaningful objectives who are dedicated to making a difference through peace and mediation efforts.

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