Summer interview 2012 – David Harland, Director of the HD Centre
What is going on this summer at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue?
Our mediation and dialogue work continues around the calendar. We have key processes on the Middle East, Sudan and elsewhere rolling through the summer. However, thanks to the beautiful Villa Plantamour, which houses the HD Centre and is located by the Lac Léman in the Park Mon Repos, we will still very much enjoy the summer!
Are you going on holiday?
Yes, to the Croatian islands. My wife is Bosnian, so we like to spend our holidays somewhere where our daughter can have her native language spoken around her. Otherwise, English just becomes so dominant in day-to-day life that she begins to lose her mother tongue. Besides, it’s very nice there.
In Geneva, what do you enjoy making during the summer?
We have the Lac Léman on our doorstep. One day, perhaps when I have drunk a little too much, or when it gets really hot, I may go for a swim. I have one or two colleagues who do that.
A place you like particularly, in Geneva or nearby?
I want to go to the Salève, even though it’s in France. There is a great scene in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, my favourite Geneva novel, when the monster can be seen climbing the Salève, running away from the reality of his condition. I relate to that.
A book for this summer to recommend to our readers?
Frankenstein, of course. Otherwise, I would thoroughly recommend HD’s Mediation Practice Series. You could start with Engaging with armed groups, which has everything you have always wanted to know about talking to the Taliban, to the Tamil Tigers, and to various others.