Mediators should be aware of their personal cultural expectations and preferences, as well as those of their disputants. For example, Molly Inman, Roudabeh Kishi, Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Michele Gelfand, and Elizabeth Salmon (2013) warned that international mediation across cultures may put in-groups with out-groups, causing stereotypes and ethnocentrism to flourish. These effects also can arise in small-scale mediation sessions that cross cultural divides. Cultural traits can impact the choices a mediator makes during the process. Morgan Brigg (2003) explains how the Western mediator’s goal is to create place for rational individual expression that moves toward interpersonal peace-a per spective that could perplex disputants from other cultures. Although this book presents a European American approach to mediation, understanding and being open to modify ing the model to embrace cultural dynamics is important. Skilled mediators are adept at recognizing and mitigating their personal cultural assumptions, as well as at recognizing when the disputants may be operating from differing cultural worldviews. As you learn the model of mediation presented in this text, challenge yourself to find areas where cultural expectations could affect parties’ interpretations of the process.
WHAT CULTURES are nearby in your location? How might these cultures’ views of how to conduct conflict be different from your personal views?
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