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
The Baylor Model Organization of the American States (MOAS) team returned to Texas this week after a successful performance at the Washington Model OAS (WMOAS) — the second conference the team has attended this academic year. In the fall of 2022, Baylor hosted the Eugene Scassa Mock OAS (ESMOAS).
Baylor MOAS represented the Republic of Argentina at this year’s WMOAS. The Washington model gives students the unique opportunity to debate critical international issues that the oldest regional political organization handles. The team forged diplomatic consensus and a spirit of Inter-American cooperation as they exchanged ideas and cultures with students from universities from the United States to Peru, representing 21 countries.
In addition to their diplomatic duties, Baylor students had the opportunity to hear an inspiring address by the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to start the conference. They also visited the Argentine Mission to the OAS and OAS Headquarters. At the end of the conference, Charis Nelson, Staff Assistant to Congressman Pete Sessions and a recent Baylor graduate, treated the students to a special tour of the Capitol Building. Students also found time to visit monuments, museums, and eat Argentine empanadas and alfajores at Las Lunas de Buenos Aires.
The Washington model is the culmination of months of in-class preparation and research into the OAS and Argentina. Each semester, our students prepare resolutions and a position paper on various topics related to the international goals and positions of the country they represent.
Logan Butler (senior history major from Evansville, Indiana) served as secretary general of the Model, and Oscar Camarillo (senior political science major from Irving, Texas) was rapporteur for the Committee on Political and Juridical Affairs. The team was ably led by head delegate Mari Benavides (junior history and Latin American studies major from San Benito, Texas) and co-head delegate Vanessa Cham (junior neuroscience major from Rockwall, Texas), respectively. Vanessa presented a resolution to create a pilot program to make Afro-descendants more visible in their communities.
All the team’s eight resolutions were approved by the faculty committee for debate, and all passed in committee. Baylor students also played lead roles in the crafting of joint-resolutions from each committee.
Michael Jordan (junior University Scholar from Harker Heights, Texas) and Sam Joyce (sophomore international studies major from Downer’s Grove, Illinois) served on the Committee on Political and Juridical Affairs. They crafted resolutions calling for a conference to discuss recommendations on term limits and a program to strengthen regional efforts to combat Transnational Organized Crime. Delegates from this committee elected Michael as their chair for the 2024 WMOAS.
On the Committee on Hemispheric Security, Jazmine Fajardo (freshman political science major from Cape Coral, Florida) and Matthew Warrell (junior international studies major from Alexandria, Virginia) passed resolutions calling for a program to support green energy and creating a new shared database to help law enforcement reduce violence in urban areas.
The Committee on Integral Development handled issues related to addressing issues related to the techno-productive labor transition, the continued impact of Covid on adolescents, and the environmental challenges presented by mining. Delegate Abhishek Puppala (junior biology major from Waco) presented a well-received resolution that would create a mental health education program to help adolescents deal with the effects of long-Covid. He also served as the coordinator of the Joint-Resolution on setting new standards for mining. In the committee’s last session, he was elected as vice chair for the 2024 WMOAS.
The topic of the Special Committee this year was environmental justice. Jasmine Miranda (senior sociology major from Houston, Texas) and Kenton Shieh (freshman history major from Cupertino, California) worked on this committee to pass their resolutions on creating a Declaration of Rights for Nature, and working to address the environmental damage directly attributable to Covid-19. Jasmine took the lead role in her committee in drafting a joint declaration to allow marginalized people to participate in environmental decisions.
Members of the team will also be participating in a Moot Court competition to be held at Baylor University April 28-29, 2023, in Morrison Hall. They will be simulating a hearing of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Teams include: Sam Joyce and Michael Jordan; Aanya Pidiath (freshman political science major from Hillsborough, New Jersey) and Ben Cleveland (freshman pre-business major from San Antonio, Texas); Victoria Shellenberger (sophomore political science major from Phoenix, Arizona) and Pedro Leonardo Enes (freshman economics major from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); Vanessa Cham and Mari Benavides; and Logan Butler.
Dr. Joan E. Supplee, The Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History (emeritus), coached the team.
The Baylor OAS team looks forward to sharing their experiences with fellow students, faculty members and administrators. It also wishes to thank the College of Arts & Sciences, the Center for Global Engagement, Lynae Jordan, Jorge Vielledent, Dr. Mark McGraw and the Baylor Department of History for their help, patience, and support of the team this semester.