Culture, Conflict, And Mediation Essay

1568 words - 6 pages

Introduction

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 assigned by conflicting parties to mediate the differences arising between them. What distinguishes the insider mediator to other mediators is that the insider mediator is typically aligned to one side or the other who perform the role as a communicator for both parties. Insider mediators, however, is not necessarily affiliated to one of the conflicting sides, they can also come from a neutral party, yet they directly affected by the conflict, either because it is taking place in their own country, or in a neighboring country.

The need for insider mediator in peaceful negotiation process is grounded on the premise that every conflict is unique, and is it closely related to the context of the locality in which the conflict occurs. In this sense, insider mediators become urgently required because they are well equipped with depth knowledge on the context and history of the conflict. Moreover, the eminence of insider mediators is that they are familiar to stakeholders of the conflict rather than outsider mediators.

The significance of insider mediators’ involvement is also buoyed by the facts# that people engaged in conflict feel more comfortable with insider mediators, as the proximity of either the same area/country...

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