The office of the Ombudsman of Ireland successfully hosted the 12th World Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) from 26 – 27 May 2021. Unfortunately, due the Covid-19 pandemic conference delegates were not able to come together and meet in Dublin in person as originally planned. However, the Irish host delivered a professional online event, which made sure that participants enjoyed the full conference experience with remarkable speakers, interesting workshops and a wide possibility for exchange and shared learning.
The conference theme “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” proved to be even more important given the impact of the pandemic on those who were already disadvantaged. “The pandemic has not respected equality of opportunity. With this conference, the IOI encourages colleagues worldwide to give voice to the voiceless and to be vigilant on behalf of all citizens, but especially those, who belong to so-called vulnerable groups,” stressed Peter Tyndall, outgoing IOI President and conference host, in his opening remarks.
The online Conference featured Ombudsman offices from around the world, who shared international best practice in their work with groups of people who are most in need of the Ombudsman’s intervention. True to the conference theme, the numerous workshops discussed the Ombudsman’s approach in guaranteeing the best possible service and assistance to assure that the rights of vulnerable groups, such as the detained, the elderly, children and adolescents, refugees and asylum seekers, the non-sheltered, or persons with disabilities are upheld and respected. In light of the on-going pandemic, the Conference also dealt with the challenges faced by Ombudsman offices during the Covid-19 health crisis and how they have been overcome.
All contributions of this online conference have been recorded and will be made available to re-watch on the conference website in the coming weeks.
The end of the 12th IOI World Conference also marked the end of the Presidency of Irish Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, who held the position of IOI President from 2016 – 2021. It is due to Mr Tyndall’s excellent leadership and the outstanding and exceptional services he rendered to the International Ombudsman Institute that our organization further thrived during the past five years. The IOI would like to take this opportunity and thank Peter Tyndall for his able and wise leadership and for so successfully steering the IOI towards a future as an organization that is recognized and respected at the international level.
As of 26 May 2021, Mr Chris Field, Ombudsman of Western Australia, assumed the office of President of the IOI. Mr Field has been contributing his vast expertise and his wise and thoughtful council to the IOI Board of Directors since 2012 – first as Regional President of the Australasian & Pacific Region, then as IOI Treasurer and IOI 2nd Vice-President – and he will continue to do so during the next years of his Presidency.