"All about collaboration..."
by Ben Mosteller, Upper School Social Studies and Model UN/Model OAS Advisor
We've had another great experience at the Model Organization of American States this year! It's such a unique experience to convene in the Organization of American States (OAS) building on Constitution Avenue in DC. As the students work together in their committees and simulate the diplomacy among countries in the Americas, actual OAS members are doing the very same work all around them! Each committee also has an expert from OAS who works with them throughout the conference.
About 300 high school students and 30 faculty advisors from the United States, Central and South America gathered at the "House of the Americas" to reach consensus on key issues affecting the region. Twenty nine OAS member states were represented by student delegations from the USA, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Ecuador.
We had a strong number of Bullis students this year and were able to send two delegations. We represented Peru and Panama, and the students tackled a number of problems in the Americas. From gender equality to human rights, and from the drug epidemic to sustainable development, our students worked with other countries to address these issues and propose viable solutions. Several of our students had resolutions and amendments passed during the course of the conference.
The unique part of MOAS is that students work together in small groups to address individual issues. In most conferences, students stay in large groups, and the delegates give speeches to address issues. MOAS is all about collaboration. Instead of debating topics, students work together in small groups to reach consensus and put forward resolutions on how to solve key issues.
I have constantly been reminded of how MOAS provides clear connections to many of our Bullis core values. The students collaborate for the entire conference in small groups, and they have to use effective communication skills - both oral and written - to achieve consensus. They must also show respect for the students in leadership positions and for their fellow delegates. They demonstrate critical thinking in how to solve core problems, and they work with a diverse group of students from 5 different countries around the Americas. It has truly been a valuable experience!