Model OAS Current Events
Fall 2004 Conference:
Baylor Team Receives Awards At Model Organization Of American States Tournament
North Texas Daily: Students debate countries' fates
November 09, 2004 by, Gabriel Monte
Veronica Acosta, head of the Argentinean delegation to the Model Organization of American States, was about to meet with 20 other head delegates of countries in the Western Hemisphere at the conference's General Assembly. They were about to decide on the fates of the resolutions that were passed in the last two days when the news broke: Cuban president Fidel Castro had died.
His brother Raul had taken over the country and instituted a military dictatorship. The Cuban people, on the other hand, were rebelling against his dictatorship. And in the conflict that followed, 450 people had died.
It was up to them now to decide whether to push on with other resolutions or deal with the crisis that was thrown at them.
"We decided it was a pressing issue," she said.
Acosta, Flower Mound senior and president of the Model International Organization, along with 16 other NT students from the organization, competed in this year's Model Organization of American States' conference at St. Mary's University in San Antonio Thursday. They represented the South American countries of Argentina, El Salvador and Paraguay.
The conference is based on the Organization of American States, which could be described as the United Nations for the American Continent. However, it is not as powerful as the U.N. "The OAS cannot enforce any resolution they pass because the OAS cannot impede upon the national sovereignty of any country," she said.
The Organization's function is solely to recommend resolutions on the issues that each country may face.
The conference gives college students the opportunity to act the part of OAS delegates. At the conference, delegates debate and pass and block resolutions based on the perspectives of the countries they represent. "It's a big role-playing game," Acosta said.
According to the conference's Web site, 20 countries were represented this year. Over 200 students from 17 schools, including two from Mexico, participated in the three-day event. Each university can represent as many as three countries. Delegations consist of five committees: Security, Democracy, Drug control, Economics and Human rights. Each committee will pass resolutions on three topics given by the conference administrators. Acosta participated in the unit for the promotion of Democracy with topics of transparency in government, financing of political parties and conducting free elections.
Just like college sports, rivalries come into play, according to Acosta who said that Baylor University was their biggest rival.
According to Acosta, when Baylor's delegates, who represented Colombia and Panama, tried to pass a resolution to create a committee that would report on the elections in American countries, NT delegates did what they could to terminate it.
"We already have election monitors that report to the [Unit to Promote Democracy]," she said. Taking turns with NT's El Salvador delegate, Kenny Hegmann, Acosta was able to discourage other delegates from voting for the resolution.
"NT will take special measures to take time to find flaws and vocally point them out," she said.
According to Acosta, it all goes in line with their strategy: "get your placards up and speak even though you don't know what to say. Once you stand up, something always comes out." However, rivalries only come into play during the conference and are left there. "At the end of the day, we're the best of friends," Acosta said. "We hang out in our hotel rooms, push each other in the pool. It's a very friendly rivalry."
To prepare for the conference, delegates not only study the general information about the countries, but also the relationship their countries have with other countries. According to Acosta, Argentina, which she represented, traditionally doesn't get along with Brazil, and she had to take that into consideration.
"You have to come from the country's perspective and keep in mind what you can or can't do," she said.
Unlike some of the schools that participated in the conference as part of a class, Acosta said, NT delegates came because they wanted to. The pressure of being graded affects their performance. "We're doing this as an extra-curricular activity," she said. "We're not forced."
At the end of the conference, the best and outstanding delegates are recognized. Last year, NT received three awards. At this year's conference, NT came away again with three awards, including Best Delegation.
The crisis in Cuba resulted in two resolutions, one that involved taking immediate action and one that involved assessing the situation first before taking any action. Both resolutions were blocked in 8-9 votes.
Page last modified: 9:52 am, November 17, 2004
Copyright © Baylor® University. All rights reserved. Legal Disclosures.
Baylor University Waco, Texas 76798 1-800-229-5678