Ombud's Corner: Respect @ CERN

Since 2010 CERN has been a member of the Geneva-based association "Le respect, ça change la vie". Four years later and in conjunction with CERN’s celebration of its 60 years of ‘science for peace’, it is time to launch a new respectful workplace awareness campaign under the auspices of the Ombud.


Mutual respect is a basic pillar of peace. At CERN, we pride ourselves on our history, which started when a handful of Europe’s visionary scientists saw the opportunity that an international laboratory for fundamental research would present in bringing nations together. That idea has worked very well and, today, our success can be measured not only in terms of unprecedented scientific achievements but also in terms of training and education, and exemplary collaboration across borders, cultures and an extensive range of differences.

In order for history to continue along these positive lines, and coming back to the awareness campaign we are launching with this article, it is important to underline the fact that mutual respect needs to be constantly fertilized in our everyday life. In other words, it is important to be proactive and to be continually attentive to making sure that we maintain this spirit of respect, in the first place towards each other as colleagues, but also notionally, by ensuring that we extend the same respect towards other professions, across all levels and hierarchical roles, keeping in mind that everyone has a part to play in this ambitious adventure that is CERN. In addition to that, it is also important to extend that respect to our workplace, the rules that provide us with the framework within which we work, together with the equipment and the infrastructure we use, and which belongs to us all.

The CERN-Respect joint logo.

In this context and four years after  it was used for the first time, it has been decided to renew our committment to the  “Respect changes your life” initiative. Working in collaboration with colleagues in the fields of diversity, communication, health and safety, we are now launching a new awareness campaign that will include the CERN-Respect joint logo, and various actions such as specially branded items to be on sale at the shop, an event to be organised toward the end of the year, and awareness raising posters to be distributed in various places at CERN, as appropriate.

We want these initiatives to belong to you. For this reason, we would like to ask you to propose the messages you would like to see included in the posters. What does a “respectful workplace” mean for you? Send your suggestions to - and of course we will reward the authors with exclusively designed and Respect@CERN-branded items. So, whether it's respect in relation to interpersonal interactions, noise, safety, the environment or anything else, we look forward to receiving your ideas. Do not hesitate – send that email now!


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As a reminder, all previous Ombud's Corners can be accessed in the Ombud's blog.

by Sudeshna Datta-Cockerill