Essay Culture, Conflict, and Mediation

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Culture and conflict are two interplay entities. Culture, as defined by Olivier Faure and Gunnar Sjostedt#, is a set of meanings, values, and beliefs that characterize a particular community, and serve as formative factors upon the way of thinking, behavior, and relationship of the community members. It is therefore a supra-structure that also helps shape system of conduct to orient the behavior of the individuals in the community. Each community has a unique, different culture to others. Thus, in the interaction course, social conflict is very likely to occur between individuals and groups of different cultures.

Conflict can nevertheless occur between individuals and groups within the community. Conflict is inherent in human life because of the difference in values and interest. Settling conflicts between individuals and groups within a community is likely not as tough as settling conflict between those of diverse communities divided by the difference in culture, ethnicity, race, religion, and political beliefs.

In resolving conflict, peaceful negotiation through mediation by third party is the most likely alternative rather than any other instrument. However, mediating two conflicting groups that are in the strikingly different trajectories is ultimately difficult. The mediator must apprehend the complexity and context underlying conflict as well as cultural barriers impinges mediation and communication efforts. Cultural constraint exerts a significant impact on the process and the outcome of mediation. Therefore, insider mediator equipped with intercultural skill is definitely indispensable.

Insider Mediator’s Key Role in Peaceful Negotiation Process

Insider mediator refers to individual or group a...

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...cate in the cultural context of the conflict leads them to be more easily accepted by the conflicting parties.

Jacob Bercovitch. Culture and International Mediation: Exploring Theoretical and Empirical Linkages in International Negotiation, 2001
Milton J. Bennett, M.D. A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity
Insider Mediators: Exploring Their Key Role in Informal Peace Processes.
Raymond Cohen: Cultural Aspect of International Mediation
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen: Difficult Conversation; How to Discuss What Matters Most.
Franklin Quijano: The Role of Informal Mediators in the Peace Process in Mindanao.
Oliver Wholleh, Insider Mediators; Retreat on Informal Processes, Learning from Experiences of Insider Mediators. October 2008.
Padma Ratna Tuladhar, the Role of Insider Mediators in the Nepal Peace Processes.

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