Resolution Institute conference

Spotlight on practice

16–17 October 2019, Wellington NZ

Reading between the lines of culture: developing intercultural empathy

with Jennifer Mahony, Christina Tay and Carla Rey Vasquez

The world becomes smaller by the moment while our need to understand the interplay of culture, collaboration and cohesion grows. As dispute resolution professionals, understanding our own cultural biases and how to develop intercultural empathy is key to assisting parties in navigating their way through conflict.

Intercultural empathy consists of:

  • Cognitive empathy;
  • Emotional empathy; and
  • Behavioural empathy

All three aspects of empathy are needed. This highly interactive workshop will break down each aspect of intercultural empathy, provide opportunities for participants to practice, and opportunities for discussion.

The workshop will also explore common cultural behaviours (which forms the basis of cognitive empathy) and give participants opportunities to examine their own cultural experiences and cultural and racial biases.


Jennifer Mahony is passionate about empowering people with the skills and tools they need to resolve conflict, and to rebuild relationships, particularly at work. Her experience includes managing workplace investigations, developing tailored complaints processes, building conflict resiliency and intervening as a neutral party to help resolve workplace conflict.

Jennifer is the Client Director of FairWay Resolution’s Workplace Conflict services.

She has almost 20 years’ experience as a dispute resolution practitioner and is a frequent presenter and trainer on dispute resolution and workplace relationship topics.

She is a Fellow in Arbitration of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ), a mediation panel member, and has a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law. She is a member of the International Ombudsman Association.

Ko Matawhaura te māunga;
Ko Rotoiti te roto;
Ko Te Arawa te waka;
Ko Te Arawa tōku iwi;
Ko Ngati Pikiao tōku hapū;
Ko Te Takinga tōku marae;
Ko Raimapaha Whakatau tōku māmā;
Ko Ngee Hwee Tay tōku pāpā;
Ko Christina Mārie Tay ahau

Christina Tay was raised in a mixed heritage home. Her father was born and raised in Singapore but relocated to NZ in his late teens. Her mother is Ngati Pikiao from the Rotorua region where Christina was born and raised around her extended whānau.

Christina graduated with a masters in mediation and conflict resolution from Strathclyde University in the UK. Prior to this Christina gained accreditation as a restorative justice facilitator. Her restorative justice work has been published in Scottish Justice Matters, and she she has also been published in an international mediation and arbitration journal.

Last year she was awarded a scholarship to assist her in working towards a career in international arbitration. She was also awarded a scholarship relating to the Master in Peace and Conflict Studies through Otago University.

Christina has a background working in the projects and programmes environment within the public sector, along with 14 years working in the banking industry.

Christina is a Family Dispute resolution mediator, a member of the NZ Media Council and currently holds a position at the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Carla Rey Vasquez has a Masters by Thesis degree in Cultural Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington. Carla began her career in cross-cultural communication lecturing and tutoring Foundation Anthropology at Victoria University and the Open Polytechnic. She then worked in the fields of cultural consumer behaviour in Latin America, and gender research in New Zealand, before moving into her Programme Innovation and Educational Products Manager role at AFS New Zealand in 2013.

Carla has a wealth of personal and professional experience in international education and a passion for experiential learning. She studied abroad in Tokoroa, New Zealand as a highschool student originally from Colombia. She has lived and worked for extended periods of time in Italy, Spain, and India. Carla has also authored articles on gender and ethnic inclusion in New Zealand.

As part of her current role at AFS New Zealand Carla oversees a comprehensive portfolio of study abroad, interning abroad, and other intercultural learning and short-term exchanges that involves working with AFS organizations in 94 countries. Carla’s role also focuses on providing global competence workshops for students, home-stays, teachers and staff around New Zealand as well as facilitating the Global Competence Certificate, a learning program that leverages technology and supports any immersive cultural experience, both traveling abroad and on campus or in a local community.