Ombuds Day

What is Ombuds Day?

In 2018, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution declared the second Thursday of October Ombuds Day to recognize the ombuds profession, which has existed for centuries yet remains relatively unknown and underutilized. The 2021 theme is Ombuds: Exploring Options to Resolve Conflict Together.

The primary goal of Ombuds Day is to improve public awareness of ombuds.

Our actions are intended to: 

  1. educate the public about the role of ombuds, 

  2. explain the wide variety of services that ombuds provide, 

  3. encourage greater use of ombuds programs and services, and 

  4. highlight the value ombuds bring to the institutions and constituents they serve.

The secondary goals of Ombuds Day are to connect ombuds in their respective communities and to recognize their important work.

What is an Ombuds?

Ombuds, also known as ombudspersons, ombudsman, ombudsmen, 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.

Learn more at

  • Mark your calendars! The fourth annual Ombuds Day is October 14, 2021.

  • Still not sure what an ombuds is or what they do? Learn more about the various roles of Ombuds at

  • Are you an ombuds looking for ideas to celebrate the day and raise awareness? Check out the Ombuds Day Tool Kit at

Stay tuned for event information on social media including Twitter (@OmbudsDay, @ABA_Ombuds, and @ABA_DR) and LinkedIn (ABA DRS Ombuds Committee and ABA Section of Dispute Resolution).


Ombuds Day activities and plans are coordinated by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Ombuds Day Subcommittee as well as volunteers across the nation. We encourage you to join one or more of the following virtual events and webinars.

Have questions about Ombuds Day?  Please go to under Contact Us.

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