International Ombudsman Association Annual Conference 2016

I attended and presented at the IOA 2016 conference a couple of weeks ago in Seattle with over 400 attendees. There were several excellent keynote speeches including one by noted conflict resolution field author Bernie Mayer.

Mayer explained that dealing with conflict is all about dealing with paradox. His recent book – The Conflict Paradox – posits that our notions of separating concepts like Cooperation from Competition or Emotion from Logic may not be the most production approach. Instead, we should ask those in conflict to think and explore cooperation and competition or emotions and logic together in order to find common ground toward resolution. Mayer was an excellent speaker and I hope to incorporate some of his ideas into the NC State Faculty Ombuds Office.

Additionally, my session on “Opening an Ombuds Office – the NC State Faculty Ombuds Office” came as one of the opening concurrent sessions and was well attended with about 30 in number. Most had just finished three days of the IOA Foundations course and had many nuts-and-bolts questions about the workings of an ombuds office. My goal was to share the NC State Faculty Ombuds Office from start to its current status so that participants could take home ideas for their own offices.  Judging by the session questions and comments, I’ll deem the program a success!

See you next year at the IOA in Minneapolis!