What is the Model OAS General Assembly?
The Model OAS General Assembly (MOAS) is a program of the Organization of American States (OAS) that is designed to promote democratic values among the youth of the hemisphere. Organized by the Department of International Affairs (DIA) of the OAS Secretariat for External Relations, the MOAS comprises a simulation exercise in which students represent a member state of the OAS General Assembly and negotiate resolutions to promote democracy, human rights, hemispheric security and development in the Americas. This hands-on experience seeks to familiarize students, faculty and academic institutions with the work of the OAS and its member states, while reinforcing the Organization’s role as the premier political forum in the hemisphere.
The MOAS program began in 1980 as a purely U.S.-based event, and has since expanded to include students from countries of the Americas. Participating in this exercise gives students the tools they need to develop negotiation, leadership and communication skills, which are key components in the practice of representative democracy.
The MOAS program seeks to reach as many students as possible through the organization of model assemblies in OAS member states. There are two kinds of models, one for high schools and another for universities. The high school MOAS is held annually at OAS headquarters in Washington DC, at the end of November. Participation is open to high schools of OAS member states. Meetings are conducted in English.
The MOAS for universities is more widespread, with several now being annually:
- The Washington MOAS (WMOAS) is held in Washington DC every April and is conducted in English. Participation is open to universities of OAS member states.
- The MOAS abroad can be held in any OAS member country that offers to host it, and can be sponsored by a government, a university or an NGO. Generally, it is conducted in the language of the host country, unless the sponsoring entity is able to provide translation services. MOAS abroad may be national, international (invitations are sent to all OAS member states), or sub-regional (for universities in a particular region such as North America, Central America, Southern Cone, Andean Region or CARICOM).
The MOAS is held immediately before the OAS General Assembly, with the purpose of familiarizing the youth and the citizens of that country or region with the priorities of the Inter-American Agenda. The MOAS may be national or international.
Recent MOAS for universities have been held in Edmonton, Canada (2000); San Martin de los Andes, Argentina (2001); Queretaro, Mexico (2003); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2006); Barranquilla, Colombia (2006); Buenos Aires, Argentina (2007); Medellin, Colombia (2008-National); Santiago, Chile (2008); and San Pedro Sula, Honduras (2009).
Some MOAS Accomplishments:
- An average of 1,500 students per year attend the MOAS exercises.
- Many colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Latin America have developed a rich course curriculum based on the MOAS. Some universities borrow the model’s name for their courses, while others offer seminars based on the MOAS within their faculties of Latin American studies, international studies, political science, government, history or other related programs. Universities offering these courses include: Université de Sherbrooke (Canada); Grant MacEwan College (Canada); College of Charleston (U.S.); Baylor University (U.S.); College of Notre Dame of Maryland (U.S.); Frostburg State University (U.S.); Plattsburgh University (U.S.); University of the District of Columbia (U.S.); University of Maryland University College (U.S.); Universidad Francisco Marroquin (Guatemala); Universidad del Norte (Paraguay); Universidad Nacional de la Matanza (Argentina), among others.
- The MOAS for universities held immediately before the OAS General Assembly in the host country have enjoyed extensive local media coverage, thereby successfully raising the MOAS profile among the youth and the general population of those countries and highlighting the main issues in the hemisphere and the role and mission of the OAS. In addition, they provide a “rehearsal” for the host countries as they prepare to host the actual General Assembly.
- The MOAS program is a valuable tool for the development of negotiation, leadership and communications skills, as well as a networking source for teachers and students in the Americas.
- Resolutions approved by the students during the MOAS are presented during the OAS General Assembly by a student chosen by his/her peers, thus making the youths’ perspective known.
- For more information regarding the MOAS program, as well as past and upcoming models, visit www.moas.oas.org. A tutorial CD to help faculty and students prepare for the MOAS is also available on the site.
Director, Department of International Affairs (DIA)
Secretariat for External Relations (SER)
Organization of American States
17th & Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
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