the second Thursday in October (since 2018)
Ombuds Day recognizes the ombuds profession, which has existed for centuries but is underutilized and relatively unknown. The main goal of the day is to improve the public's awareness of ombuds, also known as ombudspersons or ombudsmen. The public is educated about the role of ombuds, the wide variety of services they provide is explained, a greater use of their programs and services is encouraged, and the value they bring to institutions and the constituents they serve is highlighted. The secondary goals of Ombuds Day are to recognize the important work of ombuds and to connect ombuds in their respective communities. It is set on the second Thursday of October to coincide with Conflict Resolution Month and Meditation Week. Each year there is a different theme. For instance, in 2021 the theme was "Ombuds: Exploring Options to Resolve Conflict Together."
According to the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, the founders of Ombuds Day, ombuds are "confidential, impartial, and independent conflict management professionals" who do alternative dispute resolution (ADR) work in government, universities, healthcare facilities, and other organizations. They may work with constituents within an organization, such as with students or employees, or with constituents outside of an organization, such as with visitors to it. Some work as advocates, while others investigate complaints. One reason ombuds are often misunderstood is there are so many types of them. Similarly, compared to other approaches to conflict resolution like mediation, litigation, and arbitration, the role they play and the services they provide is relatively unknown. Because of their relative obscurity and the importance of their work, ombuds are recognized today with Ombuds Day!
How to Observe Ombuds Day
Celebrate by learning more about ombuds and educating others about them. Attending or organizing an in-person or online Ombuds Day event is a great way to do so. Make sure to explore and utilize the resource-filled Ombuds Day Tool Kit as well. Viewing proclamations that have been made for the day, checking out podcasts and information from prior observances, and following Ombuds Day on Twitter are some other ways to take part.