Model OAS Works Through Second Virtual Simulation

June 9, 2021

The Model Organization of American States (MOAS) held its annual conference virtually for the second time – both last year at the height of the pandemic and again this year. For the last two years, the team has represented Argentina and Costa Rica. Typically, the week-long conference takes place in Washington DC at the historic Fairmont Hotel.

Mario Guerrero, political sciences chair and associate professor, expressed that the trip to Washington DC signifies the culmination of a semester’s long preparation by the students on subjects such as gender equality, civil and political liberties, and even tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Model OAS faculty advisor and assistant professor Robert Nyenhuis knows the benefits of having the students partake in the trip. “Being able to go to our country’s embassy and meet with their diplomats, visit the official OAS headquarters, and take students to our nation’s capital are all special. It’s extremely special to have students sit in the Hall of the Americas, listen to the OAS Secretary General, and take in all of the history and atmosphere,” recalled Nyenhuis

Although the students didn't’t get to participate in the trip, it didn't’t stop them from adapting and making the most of the annual event.

“Ultimately there is no replacement for going to visit DC in person, but one of the shining experiences that wouldn't’t have been able to occur if it was in person was the fact that the actual Organization of American States General Secretary, Luis Almagro, made an appearance at the virtual conference and gave a speech to all of the delegates regarding the nature and positive influence of diplomacy as well as taking and answering questions from delegates,” said Orlando Arbizu, political science major.

Joining the MOAS I was also able to meet a lot of different people on the team at Cal Poly Pomona that I would have otherwise been unable to meet and create connections with. I was able to get a taste of diplomacy and experience of International relations in action that cannot be replicated through a book. Finally, I was able to me students from around the world through the virtual conference that I would have been unable to meet otherwise; there were students from the East coast, Venezuela, Germany, Argentina, and more. Orlando j arbizu

The Model OAS also holds several benefits for students. It is one of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences’ signature experiences.  Students expand their public speaking and get in-depth knowledge of the inner-workings of diplomacy.

“Joining the Model OAS team has allowed me to grow my academic skills and public speaking skills. Researching different countries and putting yourself in the shoes of the country you are assigned to is not easy and requires plenty of practice. Speaking in front of a room of 50 people while presenting your resolutions is also intimidating but going through with it and getting it done is truly rewarding,” said Alex Carcamo, political science major, and alum, ’21.

 Model OAS was the highlight of my collegiate career. It is an amazing opportunity that I could recommend to everyone. Dr. Nyenhuis is an amazing professor who will ensure you succeed and represent Cal Poly Pomona to a high standard. DC is an amazing city, and the entire experience is astounding. You will not regret joining. alex carcamo

The students demonstrated resiliency, flexibility, and motivation. The team spent time in mock simulation, presenting their resolutions and gaining a deeper understanding of world views and reasoning.

“I’m always pleasantly surprised by the creativity and mental resilience of our students. They adapted in the platforms they used to communicate (e.g., discord) and in how they supported one another,” said Nyenhuis. “The collegiality of the team is always awe-inspiring.”

Applications for Model OAS will open in the fall of 2021.The team is composed of 10 students. Students interested should apply; applications will be available online

As an undergraduate student, joining the team helped to expand my worldview ...I definitely recommend that other students join Model OAS. It is a fun and rewarding experience. alex wong