Media Center

Press Release


  December 18, 2006

The Organization of American States (OAS) today marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Art Museum of the Americas during a regular meeting of the Permanent Council. Delegates of the 34 countries used the opportunity to reflect on the support the museum has provided in bringing awareness of arts and culture to the inter-American system since its founding in 1976.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin called the Art Museum of the Americas – located at OAS headquarters in Washington – “a homage to freedom, democracy, inclusiveness and respect for human rights,” referring to the role it has played in promoting the values of the member states.

Ramdin, who as Assistant Secretary General oversees the OAS Office of Cultural Services, noted that the Inter-American Charter indicates that “we need to encourage culture.” The OAS Art Museum plays an important role in promoting the understanding of the many peoples of the Americas and as such is a “cultural pillar of the OAS,” he said.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulzaalso praised the many contributions of the Art Museum of the Americas and explained that its permanent collection has grown to over 2,000 pieces – far more than can be displayed at any given time. Insulza noted that one challenge in the years to come will be to see “how we may share them with the citizens of this country, with a better museum, and how we can take them to other countries in our hemisphere.”

During its last regular meeting of the year – chaired by Ambassador Marina Valere of Trinidad and Tobago, who ends her tenure at the helm of the Permanent Council – the Permanent Council also heard a report on the Inter-American Commission of Women’s Assembly of Delegates held in November in El Salvador.

The Council also said farewell to the Permanent Representative of the United States, Ambassador John Maisto, who has served as the U.S. envoy to the OAS since 2003. Following words of appreciation by several member states, Insulza noted that since he began his tenure as Secretary General, Ambassador Maisto has been the face of the United States at the OAS. Insulza noted that despite the disproportionate power of the United States in the region, he had never felt pressured in any way by the U.S. diplomat but on the contrary had received from Maisto only cooperation, understanding and wise counsel. “There is one job that is more difficult than being the United States Ambassador to the OAS, and that is being Ambassador of the United States after John Maisto,” Insulza said.

Reference: E-285/06