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Students Represent St. Lawrence at 2013 Washington Model OAS

Fourteen students and a faculty member spent a week in Washington, D.C., representing St. Lawrence University at the Washington Model General Assembly of the Organization of American States (WMOAS).

St. Lawrence’s head delegate was Patrick Vernallis ’13. Other students taking part included Ben Bills ’13, Ethan Bishop ’13, Alexander DeParde ’14, Lillian Donahue ’13, Hayley Humiston ’16, Sergiy Kuchko ’14, Claudia Lopez Costa ’13, Nikki Mayville ’13, Christine McCartin ’13, Katherine Murray ’14, Laura St. Andrews ’14, Kayla Trainer ’16 and student coordinator Elizabeth Tiffany ’13.

At the WMOAS event, held March 26-30, St. Lawrence represented the delegation of Chile. In preparation, the students took a half-credit course with Assistant Professor of Government Shelly McConnell to learn about the OAS operations and particularly about the Chilean perspective on various issues on the OAS agenda.

“The Washington experience was as invaluable as it was multi-faceted,” said Kuchko. “At the beginning of the model, we met with the Chilean ambassador to the OAS, his Excellency Darío Paya, in order to better understand Chile’s position on policy issues on hemispheric affairs. We then presented and defended our proposed draft resolutions on behalf of Chile and participated in lively debates and diplomatic exchanges on the committees. We were able to meet and interact with our peers from 33 universities, over one-third of which were from Latin America.”

St. Lawrence participates in the only Model OAS program that if officially affiliated with the Organization of American States. The opening and closing ceremonies were held at the Hall of the Americas at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza addressed participating students and faculty.

In addition to their work with WMOAS, St. Lawrence students met with representatives from non-governmental organizations and the U.S. Department of State to get a better sense of possible future career paths and opportunities.

“Meeting with St. Lawrence alumna Heather Lanigan (class of 2002) at the State Department was among the most memorable experiences we had,” said Kuchko, who also noted they had the chance to meet with someone from the National Security Archives.

The WMOAS “is a collaborative effort between the Organization of American States and the Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas (IDDA). 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.

“The simulation of the OAS General Assembly is a five-day event designed to accomplish several goals, including learning about the structures and processes of the OAS itself, in-depth learning about topical issues facing the hemisphere and a Member State of the OAS, and mastering the art of diplomacy.”

Posted: April 26, 2013


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