Humanitarian crises around the world make news headlines every day. The images associated with these tragedies are often related to tears, suffering, hunger, desperation, loneliness, separation, desolation, etc. Most recently, cyberattacks and misinformation have also blurred our understanding of global events. We sometimes feel helpless and overwhelmed by images of crises, violence, armed conflicts and natural disasters.

The contemporary art exhibition Dialogues On Humanity is a reaction to these feelings. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Photo Elysée and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have developed a concept which allows people to take a step back and pause, to think and to feel. The idea is to provide a space for discussion about humanity, the humanitarian sphere, and how it is changing.


Following Photo Elysée's successful collaboration with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on the exhibition Humanitarian Principles. Here and Now (which was shown at 22 venues in 11 countries around the world), a new exhibition, Dialogues On Humanity, has been launched. Produced by Photo Elysée, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross, it represents an important opportunity to showcase the work of Swiss and international artists in many countries.

Swiss embassies around the world will have the opportunity to present Dialogues On Humanity in their local context, translated into the local language and held in a venue open to all audiences and free of charge.

Humanitarian Principles

How can photography help us understand the Humanitarian Principles?

Humanity, Neutrality, Impartiality and Independence are complex concepts some languages do not even have a word for. But these principles are key for contemporary humanitarian assistance: they guide any action that intends to provide aid and relief to millions of affected people. Humanity and Impartiality are the objectives while Neutrality and Independence are the means to reach these objectives. In that sense, the Humanitarian Principles are universal.

The photographs of various artists give us the chance to look at the Humanitarian Principles from a new and surprising perspective. They draw upon the powerful and universal language of images and make us think carefully about humanitarian action. The images do not give us pre-packaged solutions but stimulate new and unexpected reflections and emotions through this change in perspective. Dialogues On Humanity aims to give the visitors a better understanding and deeper insight into the significance the Humanitarian Principles have in everyday life and provides a space for dialogue on humanity itself.

Exhibition views


The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Photo Elysée and the ICRC wish to express their deep gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the realisation of this project. Special thanks goes to the artists for their enthusiasm and commitment to this project. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all humanitarian workers around the world for putting their own lives at risk to help the people affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.


This project is the result of a partnership between the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Photo Elysée and the ICRC.