Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Tulane represents Panama at Model Organization of American States

April 19th, 2013

March 26-30 ten Tulane students traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the Washington Model Organization of American States (WMOAS) where they represented Panama.

Tulane delegates on the steps of the World Bank

As the organization’s website explains, “The WMOAS is a collaborative effort between the OAS and the Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas (IDDA) … The WMOAS is actively supported by the OAS Department of International Affairs and has been endorsed in a Resolution of the OAS itself. This unique collaboration allows students unprecedented access to the OAS and its member state missions. The opening and closing ceremonies are held at the Hall of the Americas at OAS Headquarters; these sessions are attended by ambassadors and the OAS Secretary General. … The WMOAS faculty works closely with the OAS Department of International Affairs to offer a realistic, academically challenging, and unique opportunity for students to learn about the OAS and its mission, its member states, and the important issues that face the Hemisphere.”

Universities participate from all over the Americas. Tulane students had the opportunity to interact with students from Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Quebec, Guatemala, and Haiti, in addition to students from a number of other universities in the United States. For participant Sarah McGoldrick, the highlight of the trip were the Agency visits. As a part of the program, Tulane students were able to visit a number of organizations in D.C. and to learn about their work. Sarah writes, “The agency visits to Save the Children, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, and the World Bank among others were incredible. We met so many people, and had the opportunity to ask them questions about their careers and how they have managed to accomplish such amazing tasks.” Bianca Falcon, another Tulane participant, agrees, describing the agency visits as “the most impactful experience” of the trip. She adds, “We were fortunate enough to have received career networking advice, learned about the missions of each agency, and able to connect with professionals who share similar interests.”

Model OAS provided students with valuable networking opportunities, and it also taught them broadly applicable skills that they will carry back to Tulane and into their future lives after graduating. Bianca writes, “Model OAS taught our delegation that through compromise and cooperation, our political differences can be set aside for the benefit of the hemisphere. Additionally, we learned about the importance of interpersonal communication in drafting and passing resolutions during committee.” For Sarah, the Model OAS experience helped her overcome her fear of speaking before a group. She explains, “Before Model OAS, I had a minor fear of public speaking, so this trip really helped with that. It also helped me to think on my feet in a debate setting.”

Model OAS is an opportunity to learn not just about the operations of an important international agency, but also to network, gain valuable life skills, and meet students from all over the Americas. Bianca sums up the experience: “I would highly encourage and recommend anyone interested to apply for future delegations. Model OAS is a phenomenal opportunity to not only learn the process of diplomacy but also to develop a bond with your peers. The Gala is a wonderful opportunity to meet other delegates participating the model and to get to know your fellow delegation on a more personal level. On behalf of the delegation, I would like to sincerely thank Edie Wolfe and Sam Greenspun for coordinating the trip and assisting us throughout the process and model.”