Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Aqueel Tirmizi

Second Advisor

Bruce Dayton


The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) Guidelines are an internationally accepted document that provides guidance to countries affected by sudden-onset disasters causing large-scale structural collapse, as well as international Urban Search and Rescue teams responding in the affected countries. This structure provides a process for preparedness, cooperation and coordination of the national and international participants. The purpose of my research is to examine how cross-cultural dynamics impacted decision-making during the revision, endorsement, and implementation of the United Nation’s International Search and Rescue Guidelines and how cultural bias was overcome. I spent six months working directly with INSARAG helping with the revision and editing of the guidelines and I interviewed two members of the INSARAG Secretariat. My analysis (formed in conjunction with personal observation and theories from Anne Rød and Fredholm and Göransson) show that while there is variance in cross-cultural dynamics, it can be mitigated by a process of trust building and by creating a culture within a group that is accepting of cultural differences. The newly revised guidelines were endorsed at the INSARAG Steering Group meeting in February 2015 and implemented into the field. They were then used in April 2015 during the earthquake response in Nepal.


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