Ombud’s Corner: Respect@CERN - the discussion has started…

The on-going campaign Respect@CERN was re-launched this year on Tuesday 5 May with a discussion forum led by Alan Richter, an expert consultant in ethics and diversity. Seeing so many colleagues in the Council Chamber for this kick-off event was a clear indication of interest in the topic as well as a willingness to engage in promoting a respectful workplace. Now, the discussion continues through the dedicated website.


“Accelerating Respect @ CERN” was the thought-provoking title of the kick-off event of our campaign and, indeed, the speaker presented several ways of achieving workplace respect with a selection of models that provided us with a springboard for the conversation to start.

Participants were invited through an interactive survey to consider four of the building blocks that serve to shape a respectful working place: swift and deep trust; awareness of possible unconscious bias; awareness of cultural differences in ways to address conflict; and an appreciative inquiry process by which to build on success rather than focusing on what went wrong.

Of course, a one-hour forum could only serve as a taster of these topics, but the speaker provided us with food for thought and a basis on which to start reflecting on their relevance in our daily working lives.

Conversation was buzzing over the coffee break that followed and, from the exchanges that were taking place, it seemed that people had a real need to share their experiences and thoughts on this subject…

You are all invited to visit the webpage dedicated to the Respect@CERN campaign and to continue sending through your suggestions. You will see that a first series of posters based on your contributions have already been designed and you may download them for yourselves as you wish.

As your Ombud, working with colleagues in Host State relations, diversity, education, health, safety and communications, I will continue to build on your input to further this campaign and reach out to a wider CERN audience.

Look out for future actions - our Respect@CERN campaign has come alive. It is now up to all of us to keep it going…

All previous Ombud's Corners can be accessed in the Ombud's blog.

by Sudeshna Datta-Cockerill