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.

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.

Our 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.

Our approach

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.

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 2018, HD’s annual income reached almost CHF 38 million from 25 government, private foundation, organisation and individual donors including Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Bosch Foundation, the Hoffmann Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, the Paung Sie Facility, the Third Millennium Foundation, Humanity United, the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the United Nations and the City of Geneva.

Relevant documents

For more information, please take at look at the organisation’s introductory video clip, read our Strategy Paper 2019-2023 and Foundation’s legal statutes, or visit HD staff’s page.

In 2011, HD adopted a whistleblower policy on reporting alleged fraud or abuse. This policy was updated in 2019 into a comprehensive policy on raising grievances and complaints.


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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