The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Modeling Good Students


On the second of the December, 30 WIS students missed the last half of lunch as they travelled to the building of the Organization of American States (OAS) to participate in the 34th three-day model conference based on the OAS actual conferences. Most of these delegates were about to experience their first model conference, and there was a slightly stressed air to the group as they stood on the steps in front of the Hall of Peace, waiting for their bus. This group of students have been preparing for their conference ever since late October, learning the art of debating in parliamentary procedural style and writing resolutions.

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The MOAS itself is a three-day simulation, sponsored by the actual OAS and held in the building, which is located in Northwest Washington DC. Students role-play a politician of a member state as they delegate for a country, debating for its foreign policy and representing its interest. The conference is constituted of students from schools in North, South and Central America. In the words of the organization’s website, “The MOAS for students of the [Northern] Hemisphere, is a program of the Organization of American States (OAS), designed to promote democratic values among the youth of the Hemisphere by familiarizing students, faculty and academic institutions of the Americas with the work of the OAS and its Member States, as well as with the Organization’s role as the premier political forum in the Hemisphere”.

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Pauline Sow, a junior at WIS says that this was a “pretty good experience” for her first conference, “I was a little nervous at the beginning but everyone was friendly and really relaxed, it made it easier to put myself out there.” A lot of students came back with equally positive experiences. She continued, “it wasn’t scary or intimidating as much as it was just fun. I represented Jamaica in the Third General Assembly, and even though it could have been disastrous, it wasn’t. This was such a new and great experience, I don’t know, I feel like I came away knowing more”. The only downside was the homework that they had to get to after missing three days of school during one of the busiest portions of the year.

The majority of the students that participate in MOAS/MUN/MAL do so to fatten their college applications, which ends up being the most common criticism of the program. Even though the students show commitment, the truth is that a lot of students do not do MOAS for the sake of fun debate. However, 11th grader Manali Kumar-Neek said she enjoyed it more than she expected. “I don’t know, I wasn’t expecting much fun when I first joined the club, it was just something I was doing. But I had fun and I learned something and for a while I was doing something because I enjoyed it, not because it looked good”. Most kids went away feeling a little more experienced, and a little relieved that their work for the conference is over.

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The faculty did not leave the conference empty-handed either. WIS received a Participation Award, for participating since 1987 and representing all MOAS states with their delegates. The award was presented to Mr. Markus, while Mr. Boehm and Mr. Bourke received a token of appreciation from the MOAS program Coordinator, Mrs. Nelly Robinson.

By Erika Undeland


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