University students explore international concerns at a Model Organization of American States competition hosted by Baylor

Baylor’s Model Organization of American States team, November 2022

By Dr. Joan E. Supplee, The Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History (emeritus) and director of the Baylor Model Organization of American States Program

On Nov. 3-5, 2022, Baylor University’s Model Organization of American States (MOAS) team hosted 18 teams from universities across Texas and Mexico. This was the 26th Annual Eugene Scassa Mock Organization of American States (ESMOAS) and the fourth time Baylor has hosted the competition. Students represented member states from the Organization of American States (OAS) and presented and defended resolutions that covered issues such as modernization and strengthening the OAS as an organization, connecting energy innovation and security to sustainable development, improving food and water security and accessibility in the hemisphere, and utilizing education to strengthen democratic participation.

In addition to the MOAS competition, there was a Moot Court competition where eight teams presented a case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) concerning the issues of right to family, adoption practices and the value of protecting indigenous culture.

In the MOAS competition, Logan Butler (senior history major from Evansville, Indiana) served as President of the Model and was assisted by rapporteur Oscar Camarillo (senior political science major from Irving, Texas) in running the General Committee (GC) where head delegates debated. Logan Butler also crafted the crisis scenario involving human trafficking, drug running, and the Panama Canal.

Baylor students represented two countries: Argentina and Chile, led by head delegates Mari Benavides (junior history and Latin American studies major from Los Indios, Texas) and Vanessa Cham (junior neuroscience major from Rockwall, Texas), respectively. At the end of two and a half days of intensive debate and diplomacy in the Student Union Building, the delegates, their faculty advisors, and the judging committee convened in the Barfield Drawing Room for dinner and the awards ceremony.

Team Chile

The Chilean team received three awards. The judging committee recognized Abhi Puppala (junior biology major from Waco) for his resolution on food security in the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS), and awarded Katherine Henric (senior history major from Blue Ridge, Texas) the outstanding resolution from the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) for her proposal to expand research on the use of hydrogen power. Members of the SMS committee also recognized Abhi Puppala for his work in that committee.

Other Team Chile members included: Kenton Shieh (freshman history major from Cupertino, California), Jazmine Fajardo (freshman, political science major from Cape Coral, Florida) and Matthew Warrell (junior international studies major from Alexandria, Virginia).

Team Argentina

Team Argentina also had success at the conference. Committee members from the SEDI committee and the Secretariat for Political Affairs (SPA) voted to recognize the work of Brandon Clarke (sophomore business marketing and political science major from Charlotte, North Carolina) and Jasmine Miranda (senior sociology major from Houston, Texas), respectively. Head delegates on the General Committee voted Mari Benavides as the Outstanding Head Delegate. The judging committee also awarded her for her Outstanding Crisis Speech and gave her the prestigious Director’s Parliamentary Award.

Other Team Argentina members included: Marilyn Gomez (senior health, kinesiology and leisure studies major from Cypress, Texas) and Alejandro Villegas (senior health sciences major from Dallas, Texas).

Moot Court Team

Baylor had two teams in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Moot Court competition. Michael Jordan (junior University Scholar from Harker Heights, Texas) represented the petitioner, with Samantha Joyce (sophomore international studies major from McKinney, Texas) as state. Benton Cleveland (freshman pre-business major from San Antonio, Texas) represented the petitioner, with Aanya Pidiath (freshman political science major from Hillsborough, New Jersey) as state.

The judging panel, consisting of former participants in MOAS and IACHR competitions who are practicing lawyers from across the country, gave the Outstanding Memorial Award to Samantha Joyce, Michael Jordan the Distinguished Memorial Award, and the Outstanding Combined Memorial Award to the team of Jordan and Joyce. They also won the Distinguished IACHR Team Award.

There were many former Baylor students who also attended and helped make this conference possible. The Executive Director of ESMOAS is Joshua Hyles, who received an MA from Baylor’s history department. Others sat on the various judging committees: Daniel Hoover (MA in history), Dianne Draper (BA in history), Alexandra Gutierrez, (BA Honors), May Atassi (BS in business and finance) and Arianna Gomez (BS in community health). Many more served on the judging committee virtually.

The Baylor teams were coached by Dr. Joan E. Supplee, History and Dr. Mark McGraw, Modern Languages and Cultures.

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