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Students Participate in Model Organization of American States in D.C.

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04/28/17 -  

Queens students continued— what's become an annual tradition— in their participation in the Washington Model Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. Participation in the Model OAS requires students to develop significant knowledge about the Western Hemisphere.

This year, eleven Queens students worked together to represent El Salvador. They prepared for the competition by learning about the social, political and economic history and current status of the country; they also had to become well-versed in understanding the same of other countries with which they must work with in the Model. The students were tasked with learning about international organizations—what they can and cannot accomplish, and specifically learn about the history and role of the OAS. They developed skills in both diplomacy and parliamentary procedure, so that they can influence the deliberations and proposals considered in their committees.

This year's team was strong. Each committee had its proposed draft resolution accepted, which is an exemplary accomplishment. Our head delegates, Lindsey Golden '17 and Charlie Michelin '17, were instrumental in the general committee's work on the "crisis scenario" (the development of nuclear weapons in Argentina and Brazil). Crockett Sewell '17 worked as the president of the Model, and was widely praised by both students and faculty attending.

Dr. Margaret Commins, professor of political science, mentored the students and joined them in Washington. The students felt they were better equipped than other participating schools—including an Ivy League team.

According to Alondra Garcia-Mendoza '18, "The most significant benefit I got from participating in the Model was a newfound appreciation and passion for diplomacy. Beforehand, I knew what the OAS was and what it stood for, but with being part of the Model, I was able to be in the position that delegates are in with the actual OAS. I learned to speak diplomatically to others, always taking into consideration their countries' needs and interests."

In addition to participating in the Model for three full and two half days, the group took advantage of time in Washington, D.C. They shared a Salvadorean dinner with eleven alumni working and studying in a variety of fields in Washington, D.C.; the meet-up presented an opportunity to network, and our students soaked in the advice about translating a Queens education into professional success. In the past, students have used these connections to find jobs in Washington post-graduation. The students met with Dr. Tania Dmytrackenko, director of Central American programs at the World Bank, to learn about support for development programs in El Salvador. The group also ventured to the Department of State, U.S. Capitol, U.S. House of Representatives, Salvadorean Embassy and the National Mall.

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