Armed Conflicts – Give Peace A Chance: Mediating In The World’s Hottest War Zones byKnowledge@Wharton
The world spends more than $1.6 trillion a year on its armed forces and $600 million to $800 million on conflict mediation, if you include the peacemaking work of the United Nations and of regional and national organizations. The approximately 2,000-to-one imbalance is massive, but sadly not surprising. Outside the milieu of official diplomacy are half a dozen private organizations whose mission is to resolve armed conflicts by bringing together the opposing sides and helping them reach a peaceful settlement.
Among these, the largest is Geneva’s Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), founded in 1999 and with an annual budget of $30 million and 130 employees. The center has peacemaking activities in eight African countries (plus the Sahel); Syria; the Philippines and Ukraine. It is run by David Harland, a New Zealander and former senior UN official who served in East Timor, the former Yugoslavia and Haiti. Harland describes his type of organization as “a Venus fly trap in the garden of diplomacy,” an exotic species that operates in the shadows. Knowledge@Wharton asked Harland to explain how it goes about mediating in some of the world’s hottest spots.