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  • Writer's pictureGeraldine Waxman, ESQ.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND MEDIATION Does Saying Something Really Mean it?

The importance of a sensitive mediator within the scope of "different culture mediation" cannot be overemphasized. All agreements may simply hang on the understanding of the differing cultures and the ability of the mediator to make the parties understand those differences and not just the "settlement." Misconceptions often arise simply because one party does not understand the culture and therefore the bargaining process of the other. An avoidance of eye contact or certain body language may signify a "no" while the party is really saying "yes". This creates confusion with the other individual. Interpreting the human response across cultural lines may be the key to success not failure. It is the mediator who may be the instrument with the knowledge of these differences to ask the key questions and interpret the real meanings of words or actions that will keep things clear and understandable for each partly.

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