Media Center

Press Release


  April 8, 2009

The Model General Assembly of the Organization of American States (MOAS) opened yesterday at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. bringing together more than 350 university students and teachers from 19 universities in the United States, 10 in Latin America and 1 in the Caribbean, who will engage in a series of debates to discuss hemispheric issues and learn about the OAS, its mission, its member states, and its importance in the context of hemispheric relations.

In his opening remarks during the Inaugural Session of the 2009 Washington MOAS for university students, Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, welcomed participants and presented a brief overview of the evolution of the institution and the central pillars of its work: democracy, multidimensional security, integral development, and human rights.

Referring to the relevance of the various documents adopted under the OAS system, Insulza pointed out that “this is a region which, fortunately for a long time has been at peace and which tries to solve its problems by negotiation or by legal means, and the only way in which you can solve your problems by legal means is going to the law of the Americas and that law is written basically at the Organization of American States”.

Insulza encouraged students to use their leadership, and their diplomatic and negotiating skills to reflect the reality of the continent and to come up with innovative ideas on how to address some of the problems that the region is currently facing. “We sincerely hope that discussions that are going to take place here, reflect the mission of this organization, which is to foster democracy, cooperation and peace in the region. I hope that you will work in that direction with a very active spirit and regard for the affairs of this region” he concluded.

Issues to be discussed during the Washington MOAS include: promotion and strengthening of democracy; youth as torchbearers of democracy; the impact of trade agreements on agriculture in the Hemisphere; protection of human rights; international law and climate change; strategies for ensuring food security in the Hemisphere in an era of global climate; support for the work of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism; promotion of social corporate responsibility for green initiatives in the hemisphere; increasing civil society participation in activities of the OAS and in the Summits; and multilateral cooperation, among others.

This year, the Washington MOAS (WMOAS) is celebrating its 30th anniversary; this is an effort that has grown over the years to give students the opportunity to develop their diplomatic skills. Students represent each of the 34 OAS member states and defend their assigned country’s policies and interests. The main purpose of the MOAS is to promote democracy among the youth of the Hemisphere by familiarizing students, faculty and academic institutions of the Americas with the OAS as the premier political forum, as well as with the current issues affecting the Americas.

The WMOAS is organized by the Inter-American Institute for Diplomacy (IAID) with the support of the Department of International Affairs of the Secretariat for External Affairs of the OAS. The IAID is a non-governmental organization, comprised of university professors from throughout the United States, who have implemented programs of study based on the MOAS as a tool to teach courses on Latin America, the Inter-American system or other political science or government issues dealing with US-Latin American relations.

Since the year 2000 the MOAS began its expansion beyond Washington and is also held in any country of the Hemisphere that offers to do so. There have been Models in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.

In a few weeks, on April 27-30, of 2009 university students from all over the hemisphere will participate in a Model OAS General Assembly in San Pedro de Sula organized jointly with the Government of Honduras and the University of San Pedro Sula. The purpose of this MOAS is to create awareness among the youth and general population of Honduras, about the main topics of the inter-American Agenda in anticipation to the real OAS General Assembly that will take place on of June 1-3, in the same city. To date 320 students have already registered to participate in that exercise.

Reference: E-119/09