I 'can image you being in the middle of this mess, in your early thirties, language problem, etc, etc. I have worked with high level IL executives and officials, and often difficult to calm or slow down. Often would let some groups fight and argue for at least 10-15 minutes before they began accomplishing the works (contract capital projects abroad). However, others can take this in wrong ways, and have observed an IL executive who insulted an Asian professor, believing it was OK and they would continue thereafter with working together toward large capital project. This was not the case...some links that maybe of interest DR.P.
When ever getting together with IL executives before an important meeting, I would always tell them a ‘simple joke.
I would tell them, Now the British always attempt to lead the meeting, so to gain control of the meeting you must invite a French executive of similar experience. And the reason, because the British often like to plans things as they proceed and not before, but the French like to plan things in detail before they proceed. Therefore the French executive will start arguing and fighting with the British executive for at least an hour or so, before they both exhaust themselves (due to their differences in thinking). Then thereafter you can take over the meeting.
Now the Italians thought this to be very funny, however, they would not argue among one and other before the meeting. Because after telling this joke, they did not wish to appear as the 'French or British' in the above short story.