IOA International Outreach Committee

About the International Outreach Committee and Their Mission

The mission of the IOA International Committee is to support the goals and priorities of IOA by engaging ombuds professionals throughout the world with particular emphasis on those working outside of the United States. The committee seeks to promote the establishment of the role of the ombuds in industry and organizations; provide professional development to support and advance the profession; monitor legislation, regulations, and trends which impact the profession; increase leadership participation and representation of the Association via regional advisory committees; and promote partnerships that support and sustain the profession.



  • Fred Wright, United Nations

Board Liason 

  • Willem Kweens, CO-OP, Co-Chair, West European Ombudsman, Mars, Inc.

Committee Members

  • Jose Martinez-Aragon, CO-OP®, World Health Organization
  • Francisco Espejo Elgueta, Chair Regional Ombudsman for LAC UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services
  • Dolores Gomez-Moran, CO-OP®, Pan American Health Organization
  • Sophia Qiao, CO-OP®, Pfizer, Inc.
  • Steven Cordery, United Technologies
  • Jennifer Mahony, FairWay Resolution Limited
  • Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, CO-OP®, University of Cape Town
  • Aline Veronica Paz do Nascimento, GEAP Saude

Regional Advisory Committee Chairs

  • Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, CO-OP®, University of Cape Town
    RAC Africa Chair
  • Sophia Qiao, CO-OP®, Pfizer, Inc.
    RAC Asia Pacific Co-Chair
  • Fred WrightUnited Nations
    RAC Asia Pacific Co-Chair
  • Steven CorderyUnited Technologies
    RAC Europe Chair
  • Margarita GómezUniversidad de los Andes
    RAC Latin America and the Caribbean Chair


  • Support the development of the IOA Global Marketing Plan
  • Support the implementation of IOA training to international contexts, outside the U.S.A.
  • Support the Regional Advisory Communities work in advancing the profession through contacting recently appointed ombudsman, relevant associations, networks, and organizations in priority countries

Accomplishments 2019-2020

  • Awarded 3 scholarships enabling attendance at 2020 IOA Annual Conference and Foundations Course
  • Professional gatherings held by European, Latin American and Asia Pacific Regional Committees
  • Supported planning for Foundations Course in Colombia


Past Accomplishments 

  • The IOC contributed to the development of an international database with information about organisational ombudsman and related offices in Asia and the Pacific region, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa. This data was merged into a similar database from Europe developed by the National Bank of Greece Ombudsman’s Office.
  • IOA Scholarships were awarded to Mr. Khairul Anuar of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pejabat, Perundangan and Mr. Fred Wright, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Level, Melbourne, Australia.
Reports from the Regional Advisory Communities (RACs):
  • Asia Pacific: Fred Wright, ombudsman for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Australia and Sophia Qiao, CO-OP, regional ombudsman for Pfizer Inc., were elected as the co-chairs for Asia Pacific RAC in June 2016. They conducted an internal survey which showed that the main interest of RAC members were professional networking, knowledge sharing, development of the profession, and educational/training opportunities.

  • Africa: In the midst of university strikes and demonstrations, the IOC supported a national workshop (11 November 2016 ) for organisational ombudsman to address the following questions: Can there be certainty and clear ombudsman parameters at the time of crisis? What is the risk? What’s mine (ombudsman) to do at a time like this?” Mandated from this workshop, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, CO-OP, met with Chief Mabizela from the Department of Higher Education and Training, who is responsible for the development and implementation of higher education policies in South Africa, including ombudsing, to further emphasize the need for developing organisational ombudsmen on all campuses. Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, CO-OP, as IOA RAC Chair.

  • Europe: On 17–18 March 2016 the group met in Athens, Greece, and were kindly hosted by The National Bank of Greece Group. Fourteen people discussed the following topics: delivering value to the NBG; the ombudsman role; redefining the ombudsman function, wind beneath our wings. The event was addressed by Mr. Dimitris Pavlakis, the Hellenic ombudsman for Banking and Investment Services (HOBIS) who in his capacity as the chairman of the E-Ben Hellas (European Business Ethics Network Hellas) Ambassadors Club advocated for the value of ethics in business transactions and Mrs. Dimitra Triantafyllou, LLM, Mediator, Trainer of Mediators and CiARB Arbitrator who proposed alternative ways of delivering value to the organization. During the event the NBG Ombudsman Mrs. Konstantina Vitoratou presented aspects of her practice and shared some thoughts about the possible effect of the evolving ADR landscape in the EU on the ombuds function. On 6–7 October 2016 the group met in Berlin, Germany, and were kindly hosted by Transparency International. Thirteen people discussed the following topics: presentation by Transparency International (TI); the internal mediation system of the German Foreign Office; ombudsman function at TI; diversity in European/international ombudsman roles; listening and asking the right questions; self-improvement (communities of practice, knowledge management, communication).

  • Latin America and the Caribbean: The members of the LAC RAC participated in webinars and teleconferences on topics such as impact of harassment in the workplace; best practices for running the office of the ombudsman; history of Brazilian Association of Ombudsmen (ABO), among others. The RAC organised the 1st Regional Conference of the Ombudsman, hosted by Eaton in Puerto Rico, October 12–13, 2016. The conference was supported by the IOA. Dr. Leoncio Lara, professor of the law's faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico UNAM, presented the history and the evolution of the ombudsman role. Dra. Mildred Negron, professor of the Law's School of University of Puerto Rico and the Master's Program in Law of the Law’s Faculty of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico presented “Emotional Intelligence as a tool for the Ombudsman role.” Mrs. Dolores Gómez-Morán, CO-OP, ombudsman from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) in Washington, DC, covered: “Promoting the value of respect in our organizations”. Mr. Francisco Espejo, Ombudsman & Mediation Services United Nations, located in Santiago, Chile, presented “Using empathic conversations in the workplace.” Mrs. Gennette Tripari, CO-OP, ombudsman for Eaton in Puerto Rico, resigned her role as chair after a very successful tenure. Mr. José Ignacio González, ombudsman for the Catholic University of Chile, was elected as the new chair.

To Join the Committee

The International Outreach Committee will be capped at 15 maximum members.
The IOC promotes its goals by seeking members who are:
  1. Committed to contributing service by playing an active role towards the development the organizational ombudsman profession in particular of new programs or offices, with an interest in the work of Ombudsman networks or groups such as the Regional Advisory Communities (RAC).
  2. Full-time Organizational Ombudsman, working for an international organization. Up to 3 exceptions can be made, i.e. they can work for national organizations. 
The IOC composition will have a good balance in regional and sectoral diversity of its members. Overall, the IOC will be capable of working in several languages, and able to represent a variety of sectors (corporate, governmental, university) and geographic regions.
The IOC membership subcommittee may consider exceptions to the above criteria, in alignment with the IOC’s strategic objectives.  

View Volunteer Job Description
Volunteer Interest Form

Last Updated 5 August  2020