“The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!”
– Thea von Harbou, Metropolis
Becoming a mediator
The definition of requirements for mediators differs from country to country.
Different studies highlight “the importance of intercultural mediators—individuals who serve as ‘bridges’ in communication and possible conflict resolution between immigrants and the host society—in promoting the integration of immigrants.
In some countries, the intercultural mediator often appears as a mere linguistic translator/interpreter that mediates/interprets and delivers a message between the administration services, its officers (health, work, social service workers, educators, lawyers) and the users.
Mediation, however, is not just translation!
Required skills for peer mediation
1. Be Friendly
2. Be a good listener
The benefits of a peer mediation are wide
3. Be a good facilitator/moderator
They promote a change in attitude toward conflicts, as those involved improve their perspective, develop leadership skills, learn to tolerate alternative points of view, and realize that they can respond in a more constructive way to frustrating circumstances
4. Have good communication skills
The strategies and skills learned become a process that defines values and lead to growth (Rogers, 1994)
5. Understand the importance of clarifying and questioning
Peer mediation can provide a positive climate
6. Have good emotional intelligence and empathy
It is a way to learn about conflict resolution and problem-solving skills
7. Be objective, impartial & fair
You are adopting lifechanging skills
8. Be good at identifying problems
And becoming a better person
9. Understand the parties
Why is mediation important?
- Change in attitude toward conflicts
- Improved perspective for those involved
- Development of leadership skills
- Tolerance of alternative points of view
- Development of constructive responses to frustrating circumstances
- Improvement of problem-solving skills
Adapted from source: https://k12engagement.unl.edu/strategy-briefs/Peer%20Mediation_0.pdf
Why is mediation also important?
Fair and impartial
Saves time and money
Avoids legal action
Identifies underlying issues
Allows personalised solutions
Adapted from source: https://www.mediatethurston.org/10reasons.html
Specific fields of intervention
We can take a look at the most common situations and fields that migrant community mediators/intercultural mediators operate in.
Specialisation is possible, however, if you are known as a go-to person for mediation, it is expected that you will be supporting your peers in more than one field.
Supporting your fellow students in their inclusion processes is one of the noblest missions of being a mediator.
Are they new to the system, to the community, do they have opportunities to implement their previous accreditation and knowledge better if only they stepped forward?
A major field of intervention is in healthcare.
The migrant patient–healthcare provider relationship, often needs support from someone who has been through the process.
For any peer that has childcare to think of, this is one of the priorities.
Childcare provides inclusion opportunities for children and families are usually in the rush to get this sorted.
It is almost impossible to commit to studies, employment and inclusion activities if the childcare is not in place.
Do you know how childcare works in your region? Where to start?
Starting life in a new country is a huge challenge for everyone involved. The housing needs and choices of immigrants and refugees are mostly dependent on their registration status, affordability and access to social or individual procedures that can lead to finding proper accommodation.
If you know which institutions to go to and which steps to make, you can effectively assist migrants in accommodation issues and sensitize the local community to develop acceptance.
Public services and labour
Public services and their tasks towards immigrants, as well as the welfare provisions available for migrants in the host country can be confusing and daunting for migrants.
In addition, issues of labour legislation, immigrant employment policies and procedures for hiring immigrants are not always easy to understand and navigate, but you might have the knowledge and the will to share…
REMEMBER THE STEPS!
Introduce yourself and your role as a mediator.
Explain the mediation process and briefly talk about the case.
Assist them to find the common ground and have an agreement.
MEDIATION HELPS TO BRING PARTIES/NEIGHBOURS TOGETHER TO SOLVE THEIR DISPUTES AND MAKE EVERYONE’S LIFE EASIER.
Neighbourhood Disputes are one example where mediation is needed more often, as a result of COVID tensions (people are at home, people get bored!)
With the help of the mediator, the parties can come together to talk about their disputes and find a common ground to solve them.
The mediator helps both parties to listen to each other’s perspectives and to feel heard. In this way, they find a common ground to solve their disputes.
How it can be done
- The mediator brings the parties together
- The mediator helps the parties to communicate
- The parties find the solution to their disputes themselves with the help of the mediator before the situation escalates to a more serious problem
- The mediator plays an important role as a neutral listener. They can make people understand that reconciliation is important and that it will ultimately make life easier for everyone