As with previous years, there are a variety of events scheduled that are related to Ombuds Day.
2021 NATIONAL EVENT
Ombuds Day 2021 – Virtual event hosted by ABA Section of Dispute Resolution
Our Ombuds Day 2021 virtual event is now open for registration! This year’s theme is “Ombuds: exploring options to resolve conflict together.” On October 14th, join ombuds and leaders from the tech, immigration, K-12 education, and long-term care sectors to understand how ombuds help stakeholders resolve problems. While this event is intended for individuals who are not familiar with the ombuds role, everyone is welcome to register and attend. The event is scheduled for October 14, 2021, at 11 AM – 1:30 PM ET.
- Panelists for K-12 Education – Armando Peri Jr., Ombudsman for Fairfax County Public Schools with Dr. Lisa Williams, Chief Equity Officer, Fairfax County Public Schools
- Panelists for Immigration – Phyllis Coven, Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman with Ben Johnson, Executive Director, American Immigration Lawyers Association
- Panelists for Tech Sector – Dina Eisenberg, Senior Director of Global Ombuds Services at Twitter with to Daniel Brennan, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Twitter
- Panelists for Long-Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities – Mairead Painter, Connecticut State LTC Ombudsman & First Vice President at NASOP with Nora Duncan, State Director AARP Connecticut
2021 LOCAL EVENTS
In addition, please look for other events scheduling across the nation and around world, hosted by ombuds programs and related organizations. These events are intended to promote awareness and improve understanding of the ombuds profession and services at the local level. We intend to post information and links to these events as we become aware of them. The following events include some, but not all, of the various going on across the nation.
UC Davis Ombuds Office — An Ombuds Day Conversation with Ken Cloke: Strategies for Conflict Resolution Practitioners
Scheduled for October 14, from 10-11 AM (PDT).
The event will be a Q&A style webinar featuring Ken Cloke, internationally renowned author, mediator, and conflict management consultant. Designed as a professional development opportunity for ombuds to learn from the decades of experience of a seasoned conflict resolution practitioner, this webinar will be a moderated discussion exploring Cloke’s strategies and techniques when mediating and consulting with individuals and organizations. Participants will be given an opportunity to submit questions upon registration. Topics may include:
- How to design dialogues to foster connection over divisive issues
- Key questions to ask to unlock the visitor’s own problem-solving potential
- How to lead culture change through strategic conflict systems design
Open to all ombuds and interested conflict management professionals.
University of Kansas – Managing Conflict and Resolution on Campus
Scheduled for October 14, 2021, 4:30-6 PM ET
Managing Conflict and Resolution on Campus — the role of the University Ombuds Office. Part of this event is virtual and open to the public. The session will feature Chuck Howard, Executive Director, nternational Ombuds Association, D.A. Graham, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the University of Kansas, and Ada Emmett, Acting University Ombuds at the University of Kansas.
Forum of Canadian Ombudsman
Scheduled for October 14, 2021, from 12 PM to 2 PM Atlantic Daylight Time UTC-3
For Ombuds Day 2021, the Université de Moncton is hosting a lunch conference where the ombud, Lise Frigault, and her colleague from the Polytechnique Montréal, Julie Boncompain, will moderate a conversation with guest speakers Pierre Champoux (CBC French Services), Martine Conway (University of Ottawa), Nadine Mailloux (City of Montréal) and Charles Murray (province of New Brunswick). They will talk about the role and responsibilities of ombuds, the services offered by various ombuds offices and the value they add to an organization. This virtual conference is free, but you need to register to receive the Zoom link. The presentations will be in French, but simultaneous interpretation in English will be available. Looking forward to meeting you virtually!
Government of Canada — Ombuds Day Panel Discussion
Scheduled for October 15, 2021 at 10:30 AM – 12 PM ET
Public servants perform at their best for Canadians when they work in a healthy, inclusive and respectful environment. When harassment, discrimination, violence or conflict occurs in the workplace, it can be difficult to know who to turn to or how to ask for help. Some may also fear reprisals, be unsure about how to support an employee or worry about the burden of the complaints management process. Ombuds can offer support and help navigate the system to find the right options to reach resolution.
In recognition of International Ombuds Day (October 14), join us on October 15 to learn more about the role of the ombuds within Government of Canada organizations. The panel of ombuds from across the public service will talk about their role in promoting respectful and healthy workplaces and share practical strategies and tools to better our workplaces.
The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session to allow participants a better understanding of how the ombuds can support employees and management.
UNLV Ombuds Office — Ombuds Week: Get to Know the Office Via a Full Slate of Activities
Scheduled for multiple dates and times in October 2021
To raise awareness of the Ombuds Office on campus, and to celebrate the work that ombuds do worldwide, UNLV’s Ombuds Office is hosting a week of activities that illustrate the broad range of ways that the office can assist with informal conflict resolution.
Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) Annual Conference
Scheduled for October 15, 2021, 9 AM to 5 PM ET
Registration for the 2021 COFO Annual Conference, “Rising Up With Resilience”, is now open! . As always, the conference is free and open to all. The agenda is primarily aimed at federal ombuds practitioners of all models, but includes information and sessions which may be of interest to ombuds and ADR practitioners anywhere, as well as those interested in other fields.
Federal ombuds empower people and organizations to resolve their conflicts and get their concerns addressed, and in the last two years we have done so through some of the most challenging and difficult circumstances imaginable. As the pandemic continues and events at home and around the world increase stress for us, our communities, and our stakeholders, we rise up with resilience to meet the challenges others bring us.
At the 2021 COFO Annual Conference, we will focus on how we can continue to rise – as a profession and a community – by remaining resilient and supporting each other. Along the way, we’ll also look at the ways we can better serve others and help them find their own resilience. The full schedule and agenda will be finalized shortly, but among the presenters and sessions are:
- Douglas Noll: “How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less”
- Oladeji Tiyamiyu, Clinical Fellow at Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program: “Clinical Insights from a Decade Partnering with Ombuds”
- Jeff Thompson, Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division of the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center and Detective, New York City Police Department: “Ombuds Resilience in 2021 and Beyond”
- Jeff Anderson, Laurel Gordon, Lisa Levine, Chris Vermillion, and Lexi Wolfe: “Who Owns the Story? Re-examining the Role of Ombuds Working with Groups”
- Elisa Enriquez: “Work From Home Survival Strategies”
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OMBUDS
Ombuds/ombudsman are confidential, independent, and impartial conflict management professionals in federal, state, and local governments; public and private companies; long-term care and assisted living facilities; higher education, K-12 education; and a variety of other organizations. Their roles and services are relatively unknown compared to other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation, arbitration, and litigation.
Ombuds help constituents navigate conflicts aiming to resolve matters at the lowest level possible. They also serve as a catalyst for change by highlighting significant, sensitive, and controversial issues or trends safely and confidentially, which others cannot or will not.
Over the years, different types of ombuds models have emerged. Some work with constituents who are external to their organization, while others work with internal constituents such as employees or students. Some provide informal services while others investigate complaints or serve as advocates. While this versatility is beneficial, it creates confusion and misunderstanding about, and among, the profession.
In 2018, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution declared the second Thursday of October Ombuds Day. The goal of this annual recognition is to increase awareness and improve the understanding of the ombuds profession.
Archived List of Events from 2020
Ombuds Day – A Recognition of the Ombuds Profession & the Value of Ombuds
Date: October 8, 2020 – 10-11:30 AM ET (morning session) and 4-5:30 PM ET (afternoon session)
Presenters: Chuck Howard, Executive Director, International Ombudsman Association, as well as a panel discussion with questions and answers with representatives from International Ombudsman Association, United States Ombudsman Association, Coalition of Federal Ombudsman, and National Association for State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Description: Are you familiar with the role of an ombuds, also known as ombudspersons, ombudsman, ombudsmen? Are you familiar with the value that ombuds programs provide to their organizations and constituents? This interactive webinar will discuss these topics and be of interest to current ombuds, those considering becoming or working with an ombuds, and leaders considering establishing an ombuds program.
Ombuds are confidential, impartial, and independent conflict management professionals in universities; federal, state, and local governments; healthcare facilities; and a variety of other organizations. However, their roles and services are relatively unknown compared to other methods of resolving conflicts such as mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Ombuds are uniquely qualified to resolve conflicts and to serve as a conduit for change through their ability to bring significant and/or repetitive issues to management’s attention in a safe and confidential way, particularly with sensitive or controversial issues. They may raise issues to leadership that others cannot or will not discuss. This includes identifying unintended consequences of programs and policies that negatively affect constituents. Given the profession’s versatile nature, many variations or types of ombuds practices have emerged. Some work with constituents who are external to their organization, while others work with internal constituents such as employees or students. Some investigate complaints, while others serve as advocates. While this versatility is beneficial, it can also create misunderstandings about the profession. In 2018, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution declared the second Thursday of October as Ombuds Day. The goal of the day and webinar is to increase awareness and to improve the understanding of this relatively unknown field.
Handout for Ombuds Day Virtual Events (including background, agenda, resources, and biographies)
Recommended pre-reading: “Understanding the Types of Ombudsman: A Starter Guide“
Virtual Event Recordings (morning and afternoon sessions)
Webinars from 2020
Getting Through the Maze: How an Ombudsman Untangles the Complexity of the Immigration Benefits Process at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Date: October 2, 2020 – 1-2 PM ET
- Michael Dougherty, CIS Ombudsman
- Fatimah Mateen, Senior Advisor
Description: Meet the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman whose mission is to help individuals traverse the maze by improving the quality of immigration services delivered to the public by USCIS. The ombudsman identifies and explains variations to the maze as USCIS responds to events affecting the country on a national level.
Taking Ombuds/Mediation Skills to the Protest
Date: October 7, 2020 – 1-2 PM ET
- Roy Baroff, North Carolina State University, Faculty & Staff Ombuds
- D.A. Graham, The University of Kansas, University Ombuds
Description: Activism seeks to cause discomfort, demonstrate opposition, and highlight differences while ombudsing / mediation seeks to facilitate a collective approach that focuses on shared interests and goals. Is the work of ombuds and mediators as compared to activism contradictory? Or could they somehow work together to solve these deep-rooted societal issues? Join two ombuds in an interview / conversation about taking your ombuds / mediation skills to the streets.
Requested Link to Recording
Handling Unreasonable Complaints as an Ombuds
Date: October 8, 2020 – 4-5:30 PM ET
- Donald Sword, New South Wales, Australia
Description: In honor of the third annual Ombuds Day, Salt River Project’s Consumer Affairs Ombudsman Office, in collaboration with the United States Ombudsman Association, invites you to participate in a special webinar focused on dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct. Zooming with us from New South Wales, Australia, will be Donald Sword, a renowned expert who delivers training programs on complaint handling to state and federal government agencies, universities and community service organizations. Unreasonable conduct by complainants can take up an inordinate amount of your time and resources as Ombudsmen. This webinar will provide you with some specific strategies and skills to effectively and confidently manage unreasonable complainant requests and conduct.
Ombuds: Adding Value by Addressing Matters of Impact
Date: October 13, 2020 – 1-2:15 PM ET
- Allison Monyei Whaley, Clemson University Ombuds for Staff
- Melanie McNeil, State of Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Tracey McNeil, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Ombudsman
- Delicia L. Perdue-Williams, Weatherford Ombuds & Manager, Dispute Resolution Program & Ombuds Services
Description: Many organizations emphasize the use of data – or “the numbers” – to support and justify significant decisions. However, the value of the story behind the numbers is often overlooked. Our panel of practicing Ombudsmen will share their unique working perspectives on “volume versus value,” and how the ombuds role shapes their value to their various organizations and stakeholders. They will share real world scenarios and discuss effective navigation strategies when concepts such as confidentiality and privacy collide with the ability to self-promote and share true value. The webinar format will feature collaborative discussions and provide attendees with tools and strategies for demonstrating value and impact beyond the numbers alone.
Requested Link to Recording
International – Corporate Sector Ombuds Day
Date: October 13, 2020 – 11 AM-1 PM ET
- Diana Mosonyi, conflict resolution specialist, organizational ombuds & mediator
- Juan Lattanzio, lawyer specialized in conflict resolution
- Chuck Howard: Executive Director of the International Ombuds Association (USA)
- Camilo Azcalare: Ombudsperson of the European Southern Observatory (Chile)
- Lynne Chaillat: Ombudsperson of the Mckinsey ( France)
- Bruce MacAllister: Director and Founder of the Business Excellent Solution ( USA)
- Nora Galer: Former Director of the United Nations Ombudsman Office (USA)
- Alberto Elisavetsky: President of the Online Dispute Resolution Latinoamericá (Argentina)
- Jorge L. Maiorano: Classic Ombuds (Argentina)
Description: The Ombuds Day worldwide celebration serves as a unique opportunity to educate and raise awareness among the public about the history and practices of the ombuds profession including the various ombuds models, the roles they play, the services they offer, and the value they provide. What to expect? Incredible speakers sharing their interesting experiences in their Ombuds work. The event is strategically structured to make a journey from the origins to the future including relevant issues in the present about the figure of the Ombuds.
Embracing Conflict: Organizational Ombuds on Campus
Date: October 16, 2020 – 1-2:15 PM ET
- Elizabeth Hill, University of Colorado Boulder Ombuds Office
- Charles L Howard, Executive Director, International Ombudsman Association
- Dawn Osborne-Adams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University Ombuds
- Steve Prevaux, University of South Florida, University Ombuds
Description: Still unsure what an Organizational Ombuds is? Or how institutions of higher education benefit from having an Ombuds? Join us for this active discussion of the rapidly developing role of Organizational Ombuds in higher education and how they serve as strategic allies for legal counsel. Learn how Ombuds harness the power of conflict in alignment with your organization’s core values and mission.
Webinar Recording (passcode: *t+*6gRz)
How Child Protection Ombudsman Offices Help Families Navigate the Child Welfare System During COVID-19
Date: November 12, 2020 – 2-3:15 PM ET
- Stephanie Villafuerte, Ombudsman, Office of Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman
- Moria O’Neill, Director, New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate
- Patrick Dowd, Director, Washington State Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds
- Jill Kehaulani Esch, Ombudsperson for American Indian Families, Minnesota Office of Ombudsperson for Families
- Jordan Steffen, Deputy Ombudsman, Office of Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman
Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted child welfare systems across the country. Child protection ombudsman have been at the forefront of this pandemic helping children and families navigate this crisis. Please join us to learn how child safety and well-being has been impacted and how ombudsman offices are working in their communities to mitigate the impact of this deadly virus for vulnerable families.