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Abstract

The ongoing processes of peacebuilding involve dialogue (Lederach 1997) and co-discovery (Freire 1970), which can sometimes be facilitated through academy-initiated research. Qualitative research provides opportunities to move from a positivist approach to a more equal, participatory, interactive exploration that benefits all participants, including the researcher in a “co-production of knowledge” (Karnieli-Miller, Strier, and Pessach 2009 p. 279). Cross-cultural, cross-language research (where researchers and participants do not share the same language), with all its riches, brings particular challenges for all involved. Beyond the issues of power and perceived power in any kind of research (Sprague 2005), in cross-cultural and cross-language research, already complex interactions are both facilitated/navigated and multiplied with the addition of an interpreter (Wallin and Ahlstrom 2006) who becomes the conduit for all interactions. This article focuses on the experiences of a cross-language interpreter involved in a participatory action study in peacebuilding in her home country of Ukraine. Her insights on the role of the interpreter, and considerations for future studies are shared through a conversation with the primary/initial inquirer at the end of this qualitative mixed-method project.

Author Bio(s)

Maureen Flaherty is an assistant professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Manitoba, Canada. Sonya Stavkova is an instructor at the Lviv Polytechnic University in the Department of Sociology and Social Work. She is also a professional interpreter for English/Ukrainian language and is also fluent in Russian. The authors worked together from 2001-2004 on a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded project, Reforming Social Services: Canada-Ukraine during which they helped establish a new Faculty of Social Work and numerous social services in Lviv, Ukraine. Since, they have conducted workshops for service providers in Ukraine and more recently worked together on a participatory study using narrative and visioning as peacebuilding tools across diverse regions in Ukraine. They hope that their reflections on their work together may assist in furthering peacebuilding cross-language/cross-cultural work. Email: Maureen.Flaherty@ad.umanitoba.ca (Maureen Flaherty) and vstavkovy@ukr.net (Sonya Stavkova)

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