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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Janet M. Bennett

Second Committee Member

Sarah Bergdahl


The eye of the storm is the calm center amidst chaos where, metaphorically speaking, mediators often begin their work. Recent research has advocated for a more holistic, relational, culturally inclusive approach to the mediation process. Such an approach requires conflict fluency as well as cultural fluency for effective mediation. This thesis explores how the intervention strategies of mediation may be enhanced through increased cultural understanding. Current theories of intercultural conflict transformation and intercultural communication are reviewed. Conflict fluency is understood through a mediation perspective. Cultural fluency is understood through cultural identity, cultural values, communication styles, and conflict styles.

A case study follows the theoretical review of the literature. In this case study, a small community mediation center illustrates what is happening in the field today regarding the relationship between culture and conflict. The case study involves a 6 holistic analysis of the organization, seeking to understand intercultural competence at all levels. This includes an analysis of keystone materials, a survey of mediators, Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) results, and interviews with mediators as well as organizational leadership.

The thesis concludes with a list of recommendations that may be useful to this community mediation center as well as other similar organizations. Amongst these recommendations are potentially useful training items such as intercultural conflict styles, critical moment dialogues, and other intercultural tools designed to increase mediator competence in intercultural communication.



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