June 08, 2018

United Nations Appoints American to be Next Ombudsman

Shireen L. Dodson, the Ombudsman of the U.S. State Department, has been tapped as the next UN Ombudsman. She succeeds Johnston Barkat who served two five-year terms in the role. Dodson has been the State Department Ombuds since 2010. In her new role, she will run the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services office, which provides dispute resolution, coaching, change management and leadership training for nearly 75,000 people around the world from the UN headquarters in New York.

The appointment caps a long career in dispute resolution and non-profit administration for Dodson. Before the State Department, she was the Special Assistant to the Director, Office of Civil Rights for the US State Department (2006-2010), City Museum Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of The Historical Society of Washington (2004), Interim Director of the Non-profit Roundtable of Greater Washington (2001-2002), Senior Strategist, Netsuation Division of Starpoint Solutions (2000-2001), Associate Director for Administration, Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution (1995-2000), Associate Director for Administration and Planning, The National African-American Museum Project, Smithsonian Institution (1992-1995), and Comptroller, Smithsonian Institution (1986-1992). 

Dodson graduated from Morgan State University and earned her JD from Seton Hall University. She has not been actively involved with IOA, but is an International Coach Federation certified coach. Dodson is also the author of two books: The Mother-Daughter Book Club and One Hundred Books for Girls to Grow On. (UN Press Release.)

With Dodson's departure, the State Department has now lost all of the Ombuds who worked there 500 days ago. (State Dept Directory.)


  1. That's an interesting observation about attrition. Congrats Shireen! It was good seeing you in Richmond :)

  2. Congratulations to Ms Dodson on new appointment.

    Kindest regards,


    Paulyn Marrinan Quinn,S.C.

    MOB: +353 87 257 2166

    Founding Ombudsman for the Defence Forces - Ireland (2005-2012).
    Founding Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland (1992-1998).
    Founder/Coordinator Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies, ISE-Trinity College- Dublin University.Adjunct Professor Mediation & ADR Studies (2000-2014).