Expertise

I work at the crossroads of arts and culture, peacebuilding and international development cooperation. 

I am passionate about bringing culture back to the centre of human development. Because culture expresses the meaning that we attach to our existence and is a source of dignity, because it underpins livelihoods, education and health, because it fosters resilience among communities - but also more pointedly, because culture - both living arts and cultural heritage - may constitute a subtle yet powerful resource for dialogue and mediation in contexts of conflict.

I started my career with the Swiss Ministry for Foreign Affairs where among other roles, I was in charge of the Switzerland's development cooperation programme with Kosovo right after the 1999 war. I then worked with specialised organisations (e.g. with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue), supporting mediation processes, stakeholders’ dialogues or cooperation projects in countries such as Libya, the Central African Republic, Iraq or Israel/The Palestinian territories. In parallel, I served on the board of several organisations, including the UN Women National Committee - Switzerland. I now work as an independent advisor for various organisations building on arts and culture to support human development processes (see section Portfolio on this website). 

I hold a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute and other certificates from specialised institutions (on Innovation from the Harvard Business School, on Humanitarian Law from the International Committee of the Red Cross, on Emergency Response from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on Cultural First Aid from the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property and The Smithsonian, and on The role of economic actors in peacebuilding from the Folke Bernadotte Academy). 

I love teaching and am a lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts' Certificate of Advanced Study on Arts and International Cooperation.

I am also a trained musician who turned to writing to express herself. My various travels are an endless source of inspiration – I get mesmerised by the people I meet, the stories I hear,  fragrances and smells. All this often ends up in short stories (e.g. my short story "Toêêge" published in La Couleur des Jours), written between two flights or when I get stranded in some secluded Posada…

- Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


References

Céline Yvon, strong with her methodological expertise and knowledge of cultures and internal dynamics of Heart of Asia countries, fully grasps how constructive dialogue with the region requires time and in-depth commitment. She is a bridge builder.
— Guissou Jahangiri, Vice-President FIDH and Executive Director of Armanshahr (Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan)
J’ai eu la chance de travailler avec Céline Yvon, dans le cadre d’une consultation. J’en ai tiré une grande satisfaction en raison de son énergie, son expérience en matière de consultation, son réalisme, son sens du travail bien fait et de la communication, même en terrain difficile, et j’espère avoir l’opportunité et le plaisir de travailler à nouveau avec elle.
— Désiré Ouedraogo, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Advisor to UNESCO (Burkina Faso)
As a moderator of workshops gathering participants from various cultural backgrounds, Céline Yvon manages to get the best of each of them and to restitute a clear and coherent synthesis.
— Laurent Guye, Swiss Ambassador
Celine Yvon has been extremely helpful for my organisation. Her ability to process and analyse big chunks of information in a very short time is amazing. Her people and goal oriented approach turns every minute of interaction and work with her into pure pleasure and enriches you on personal and professional levels. She is definitely a person one can learn a lot from.
— Tamara Janashia, Founder and CEO of Culture Management Lab (Georgia)