Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Tulane students 'diplomatically' explore careers in Washington, D.C.

January 13th, 2014

This story originally appeared on Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts website.

By: Mary Sparacello

For almost a decade, Tulane students have been putting their expertise in foreign policy to the test at the Model Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.

The Organization of American States brings together 35 independent states of the Americas, including countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean to further common goals. Ten Tulane students each year act out the General Assembly of the OAS, on behalf of the country they represent. They become well-versed in political and social issues, so that they can represent their chosen country at the assembly and debate resolutions from the country’s viewpoint. This March, Tulane will represent Brazil.

“The returns on this program are phenomenal—both in terms of learning about diplomacy, human rights and geopolitics and in developing confidence, poise and professionalism in our students,” says Edie Wolfe, assistant director for undergraduate programs at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Costs to Tulane students have been kept low, partly because of the generosity of donors, such as John Argenti. Argenti is a 1985 graduate who founded the John Argenti International Education Enrichment Endowed Fund in the School of Liberal Arts, which supports the study of international topics.

Also supporting the experience are the Stone Center, the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research, the Office of the Provost, Newcomb College Institute, Newcomb-Tulane College and the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching.

Wolfe says she is committed to keeping costs to students as low as possible so that Tulane students, who might otherwise not be able to afford it, can participate based on merit.

Participating in the Model OAS is a meaningful opportunity that can pave the way to a future career. That’s exactly what happened to Noah Montague, a 2013 graduate who is an intern with the Latin America Working Group in Washington D.C.

“It helped me figure out what I wanted to do and stand out when I entered the job market,” says the three-time MOAS alum. “The experience gave me a chance to come to DC and interact with students from all across the hemisphere, to really make connections and get that experience in diplomacy.”

As part of his job, Montague attends meetings and briefings on Capitol Hill related to U.S.-Cuba policy, updates social media and writes blog posts.

In addition to participating in the Model OAS, Tulane students who travel to Washington explore potential careers by meeting with officials from a variety of organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and Save the Children International.

For example, Wolfe said a highlight of the 2013 trip was breakfast in the World Bank cafeteria with two-time MOAS alumna Ashley Rhodes (‘10), who worked in the international Security Operations Center at the World Bank. Many MOAS alumni, such as Rhodes and Montague, have gone on to work in fields related to their MOAS experience.

“The events in DC are definitely transformative,” says Wolfe “and many students recall the Model as one of the most important experiences in their undergraduate careers.”

Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

To see the original story published on Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts website, click here.