Call for Papers and Panels — The Ombuds: Foundations, Best Practices, and Development

Proposal window: 12 December 2023 - 12 January 2024

The Annual Symposium of the Centre for Informal Dispute Resolution (CIDR) at Saint Paul University — The Ombuds: Foundations, Best Practices, and Development — will be held on 6-7 May 2024, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and simultaneously online. The 2024 symposium is organised in collaboration with the Office of the Ombudsperson at the University of Ottawa. This international event will bring together practitioners and researchers in conflict resolution and the ombuds field from many global regions to discuss the evolution of ombuds practice.
The Ombuds role is increasingly crucial amid growing organisational complexities, demands for inclusivity and diversity, and the need for early and more effective conflict mitigation. In an era emphasising fairness, transparency, and ethical conduct, ombuds act as an independent, impartial, and confidential resource in supporting all stakeholders. This event aims to offer meaningful discussions and opportunities for researcher-practitioner collaboration in all ombuds practice areas.

We invite panel and paper proposals in English or French on ombuds practice and related topics in Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR). Our goal is to foster collaboration between researchers and practitioners, and to disseminate knowledge on the ombuds role and the value of ADR. Proposals from experienced professionals, new ombuds, other ADR professionals, and university students aspiring to pursue careers in practice are encouraged.

Papers and panels delving into the diverse perspectives on ombuds practice, particularly those connected to the themes below, are of particular interest to the conference committee. We also welcome proposals on other ADR topics.

  • Professionalisation: risks and rewards
  • The growth of outsourced ombuds practice
  • Organisational ethics and systemic change
  • Public awareness initiatives
  • Organisational conflict management and fairness
  • The role of the ombuds in fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)
  • Health sphere complaint management
  • Higher education dialogues on global issues (e.g., wars, refugee crises, contested elections, policy debates related to climate change, etc.)
  • Internationalisation and diversity
  • Cross-sector and cross-cultural practices
  • Ombuds in the Global South and in new sectors / industries
  • Future of Ombuds research
  • The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in ombuds practice and ADR
  • All aspects of ADR in ombuds practice

Evaluation Criteria:
Proposals for panels and papers will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to ombuds practice
  • Potential to further the ombuds field or broader ADR areas of practice
  • The overlap between practice and research
  • Method and organisation of presentations with a preference for proposals that include opportunities for audience engagement.

Presentation Format - We welcome the following types of proposals:
1. Panel topic
2. 50-Minute Presentation: An in-depth presentation on a pertinent ombuds / ADR topic.
3. 15-Minute Presentation: Brief presentation on ombuds / ADR practice that introduces innovative ideas or techniques.

Proposals for panels and papers (in English or French) should be sent to Professor Brent Epperson at [email protected] and Professor Jean-François Rioux at [email protected].

Proposals must be submitted by 12 January 2024 at 11:59 PM EST to be considered by the Symposium Review Committee. Presenters will be notified of the committee’s decisions by 19 January 2024.

Please note that Saint Paul University will publish conference proceedings electronically for presenters who wish to contribute their papers following the event, but this does not preclude publication of revised papers elsewhere.

Registration Fees:
In-person (full symposium): $250 CAD
Online (full symposium): $200 CAD
Student in-person (full symposium): $50 CAD
Student online (full symposium): $30 CAD

Registration details to follow via Eventbrite.

En francais

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