“The South African government was encouraging all public colleges and universities to create ombuds programs,” Blair said. One school, the University of Cape Town (UCT), already had a program, and looking at the data, they saw that they didn’t have as many issues as other schools and tied that directly to their ombuds program.”Blair was a keynote speaker at the IOA annual conference last month. (UNC Global.)
* * *These courses were initially targeted toward university employees who would be assuming roles in the newly created ombuds offices, and included participants from the University of Mpumalanga, the University of Stellenbosch, and other schools. Participants also came from municipalities, court systems and branches of the South African military, including the City of Johannesburg, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice.
* * *“There is an expectation that all public institutions be transformative and that’s written right in the constitution,” he said. “Many people expressed the hope that other African countries close to South Africa would role model the country’s efforts in ombuds work, especially as it relates to conflict resolution and conflict management.”
* * *“It was such a fantastic experience, and my first time in Africa,” Blair said. “I remember sitting there, eating seafood and chatting with the locals. Many things I saw and heard reminded me of Jamaica. It was so interesting to see the difference in culture but also the commonalities.”
Related posts: Second Newsletter from University of Cape Town Ombuds is Full of Updates; Ombuds at UNC Marks Decade of Service; IOA to Offer Ombuds Training at University of Cape Town; IOA Posts Agenda, Opens Registration for 2016 Annual Conference.