Conclusions from the Include Me Good Practice Guide on Intercultural Mediation

The Include Me Good Practice Guide on Intercultural Mediation (available soon) identifies and analyses different institutional and individual initiatives on intercultural mediation developed across European countries and Turkey, with the aim to promote intercultural mediation in different regions and socio-cultural societies, but also to act as a vehicle for the transfer of knowledge and to contribute to the debate on intercultural mediation.

Those selected initiatives are examples of mediation as a tool for conflict resolution in community conflicts and promotion of social inclusion of migrants and refugees. They have been identified for their impact and capacity to modify the status quo (social change).

More specifically, the initiatives selected highlight:

The diversity of intercultural mediation and its potential to foster social and cultural change 

Intercultural mediation programmes, projects and activities are vibrant and dynamic. The wide range of activities, stakeholders involved, needs to cover and groups targeted give an idea of the ability of those actions to adapt, respond and impact positively on social inclusion. In addition, some intercultural mediation initiatives highlight different cultural identities, and contain a critical reflection about the social status quo and the (in)action of the public administration; while putting at the centre of their effort the relational aspect. From this point of view, intercultural mediation shows its potential contribution to social and cultural change.

The many challenges of intercultural mediation

As the European Commission highlights, difficulties concerning national mediation systems and the slow implementation of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism exist, and may be due to the lack of a mediation culture. Alongside there are grey zones on intercultural mediation: its definition, particularities, the dimension of the interventions (holistic intervention vs punctual action), the sustainability of the activities,…

Despite the contribution of intercultural mediation to social inclusion and well-being of individuals, it still has a long way to go in terms of recognition and implementation as a critical strategic tool integrated comprehensively with services and civil society. It is also a profession “under construction” and affected by labour precarity in some cases.

Possibilities for the recognition of intercultural mediation / the intercultural mediator’s role

The intercultural competence framework can contribute to designing a standardised training for intercultural mediation based on identifying fundamental knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to develop the intercultural mediator’s role. A role that includes facilitating intercultural communication, bridging socio-cultural gaps, supporting processes, balancing power relations, empowering parties, building empathy…

Intercultural mediation should focus on conflict resolution and mutual understanding, mutual consciousness taking into account the importance of building up relationships and emotional connection (relational aspect more than in reaching the agreement), setting up safe spaces for participants and developing strategies for strengthening the relational component that contributes to the mutual understanding, the peaceful coexistence, the recognition of diversity and diverse identities without judging, keeping the dignity of the person.

To learn more about intercultural mediation and find out about different initiatives and projects in the area, read the Include Me Good Practice Guide (available soon).