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Defining community mediation for inclusion

Did you know?

The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland on the Mental Health Service Requirements for Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Migrants from Conflict Zones tells us.

“Refugees,  asylum seekers, and migrants have been identified as suffering up to ten times the rate of post-traumatic disorder  (PTSD) compared to the indigenous population. For many refugees, asylum seekers and migrants the term post-traumatic stress disorder is not appropriate. This is because the process of migration into an alien culture can mean that the trauma is still ongoing. It has not yet reached the “post” stage”


A community is a group of people that interact and support each other, and are bound by shared experiences or characteristics, a sense of belonging, and often by their physical proximity.1

1 Cobigo, V., Martin, L., & Mcheimech, R. (2016). Understanding Community. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 5(4), 181–203.


Movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border (international migration) or within a state (internal migration), encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes’. (IOM)

This broad definition covers all forms of migration (voluntary/forced migration, internal/international migration, long-term/short-term migration), different motives for migration and irrespective of the means used to migrate.

Understanding Migration

The triggers for migration may be personal and/or professional factors including:

  • a desire to work or study in a different country
  • a need to move away from dangerous or challenging environments
  • an economic necessity to find employment

Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity is where a society or group is made up of many different people. These people are from different countries, races and religions, and have different interests, skills and beliefs. 1

1 Twose, Rebecca. 2021. The Importance of Cultural Diversity.

Some key definitions that are important to understand

MULTICULTURALISM is a system of beliefs and behaviours that recognises and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context that empowers all within the organization or society.

Some key definitions that are important to understand

INCLUSION – According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, social inclusion is the process by which efforts are made to ensure equal opportunities – that everyone, regardless of their background, can achieve their full potential in life. Such efforts include policies and actions that promote equal access to (public) services as well as enable citizens’ participation in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

INTEGRATION According to the Council of European Union (2004), integration is a dynamic, long-term, and continuous two-way process of mutual accommodation, not a static outcome. It demands the participation not only of immigrants and their descendants but of every resident.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a “voluntary, structured process whereby a mediator facilitates communication between the parties to a conflict, enabling them to take responsibility for finding a solution to their conflict.”

The goals of community mediation are to support community members in resolving current conflicts, build conflict resolution competency among participants and, ultimately, contribute to more peaceful communities.

What is community mediation?

Community mediation offers constructive processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups and organizations within communities.

Participants’ control the process and create their own alternatives to avoidance, destructive confrontation, prolonged litigation or violence.

Understanding Community Mediation

Who is a mediator?

The mediator is distinguished as a disinterested, non-aligned third person, facilitating communication between the parties that lead to their own consensual joint decision-making.

In, the context of this project, an inclusion Mediator is not someone who is necessarily providing legal mediation, but rather a non-formal process of negotiation, support, consultation of the involved parties, and overall COMMUNICATION.

I, as a migrant, wanted to give it back to Ireland and my community. In order to do that, we decided to create an international project about integration and bringing the communities together. The main aim of this international youth exchange was to clarify the fact that migrants should not be abused, but understood and supported instead.”

Kelvin Akpaloo, Irish Youth Leader and one of the authors of this project

What does a mediator do?


Promotes the parties’ empowerment, enabling them all to see their responsibility



Plays the role of communication facilitator between the parties



Ensures that problem-solving stays confidential



Impartially and neutrally acts towards two or more people, groups to improve their relationship


Intercultural mediation

Linked with a resolution of conflicts arising amid intercultural inclusion processes, as well as specific policies on integration/inclusion of people with diverse cultural backgrounds, associated with European/national integration or inclusion policies

Formal mediation

The legal process which involves legislation, often courts and official decisions, often a judge. Real civil disputes, real formal roles. Designed more for precise conflict resolution, than for inclusion


Improve the exercise of political and social citizenship of newcomers


Improve access (formal or informal) to support networks that promote a sense of belonging


Connect/Bridge different cultures


Promote positive role models


Promote new habits/behaviours


Help support job-seeking process


Reduce the risk of conflict, verbal or physical attacks on the newcomers through information and emotional connection with them


Improve empowerment of newcomers and encourage their participation in raising awareness activities on migration, forced movement, diversity, social inclusion


Contributes to the introduction of diversity in the “system”