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Students win top honors at simulation event

Nov. 17, 2010

By Meghan Hendrickson

Baylor Model Organization of American States competed in diplomatic simulation in San Antonio where they received four of the 10 honors awarded on Nov. 4-6.

Baylor brought 20 members of Model Organization of American States to compete this year, representing the countries of Brazil and Costa Rica. In total, 20 countries were represented at the simulation held at St. Mary's University, including more than 200 delegates from other schools.

Falls City junior Michael Lyssy, president of Model Organization of American States, explained the model as a gathering of college students from around the region who have an interest in western hemisphere politics or social issues. At the event, students gather to talk about social issues and brainstorm solutions to the hemisphere's problems, while using diplomatic skills.

"It doesn't matter how much you know or how much the person you're talking to knows; it just matters how you communicate with one another," Lyssy said. "Diplomacy is like putting to use good communication skills, leadership skills and global awareness."

Mexico City senior Daniella Romero served as head delegate of the Brazil team in the model. She has only been in the Model Organization of American States for one year but has participated in four models.

"The experience of being head delegate was really rewarding and I learned a lot from it, such as the importance of consensus, cooperation and working together," Romero said. "It's not about fighting against each other, or proving one country is more powerful than another, but really helping each other to find a way to reach a consensus on issues."

Each fall, Model Organization of American States competes in the simulation in San Antonio and each spring the team travels to compete in another event in Washington, D.C.

Occasionally, depending on funding, Baylor is able to send the team of delegates to an international simulation conducted entirely in Spanish.

This past summer Romero served as head delegate of the Baylor team that competed in Lima, Peru.

Baylor was the only university from the United States that participated in the international model.

At the model this fall, she was awarded Outstanding Ambassador out of all 20 ambassadors representing their respective countries.

Romero's team, Brazil, also received the highest honor a country can achieve, the award of Outstanding Delegation.

Lyssy was elected to be the president of the model event last year and one of his responsibilities, among many, was to serve as the chairman of the general committee during the model in San Antonio.

The general committee hosted all of the head delegates that served as ambassadors of the country they were representing. The ambassadors have the final say when it comes to a country's decisions.

Lyssy has been chosen to serve as the parliamentarian of next year's model, meaning he will be the enforcer and interpreter of the model rules procedure. He said he hopes to use the skills he has learned in Model Organization of American States in the future, perhaps in diplomacy.

"My ultimate value is peace," Lyssy said. "I just want to do my part to promote peace between people and, in this case, countries."

Romero's dream is to work for the United Nations or an embassy. She said the Model Organization of American States has furthered her interest in diplomacy.

"Last year I did a resolution about children's rights in the model in D.C., and now I'm looking into doing public policy with children's education, like UNICEF or Teach for America," Romero said.

Lyssy said the Model Organization of American States at Baylor has proved to be incredibly successful throughout the years and that the university's name is known both nationally and internationally.

"I really think Baylor should highlight programs like this that are such a success for Baylor and a great way to get our school's name out," Lyssy said. "Baylor is truly a leader in this."

He said the success of the Model Organization of American States is due to the commitment of the students and their adviser, Dr. Joan Supplee, associate professor of history.

Supplee said this year was a rebuilding year for the Model Organization of American States, as they had a relatively new team, so the fact they did as well as they did was both a reward and a pleasant surprise.

"They are a very dedicated group and worked very hard to prepare to represent two very different countries," Supplee said. "They all worked on resolutions and wrote position papers, which is what ultimately made the difference in terms of their winning both the outstanding and distinguished awards, which were the top awards determined by the judges at the model."