|Institution:||University of Otago|
|Keywords:||Mediator; Culture; Internartional; Mediation|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5441|
One of the more effective approaches to resolving conflict is mediation, whereby a third party intervenes to assist the disputing parties in reaching mutually-acceptable resolutions. This thesis examines the mediator’s culture and his/her ability to be effective in international mediations. In particular, it examines the relationship between the mediator’s culture and those of the disputing parties. In order to explore whether the mediator’s culture plays a part in the success or failure in international mediation, I start by defining mediation and culture in international relations. I then use two cases to examine the impact of the mediator’s culture in international mediation. The two case studies are; the conflicts in Kenya and Sri Lanka where mediation took place. In the Kenyan conflict the mediator and the parties had significant cultural similarities, whereas in the Sri Lanka crisis there were significant cultural differences between the parties and the mediator. The theory and literature that are discussed in this thesis suggest that culture has a significant influence on international mediation. There are studies that indicate that cultural differences and/or misunderstandings between the parties can obstruct communication and create misperceptions that can ultimately hinder a jointly acceptable outcome. The literature claims that if the mediator understands the influence of culture in cross-cultural negotiations, this should make resolution easier to come by. It may also be true that when an outside third party is from a different cultural background to the conflicting parties, this may also influence the mediation. However, there is little in the academic literature that examines the mediator’s culture in relation to the culture of the parties. My thesis addresses this gap in the existing literature. I ultimately argue that it is necessary to expand this research to examine the relationship between the mediator’s culture and the culture of the disputing parties, as well as evaluate mediation styles, behaviour and the views of everyone involved in international mediation.