A Better Understanding of International Diplomacy: MOAS Class Travels to Washington D.C.
by Max Waite ’21
This past week, 10 Providence College students in the Model Organization of American States (MOAS) political science class travelled to Washington, D.C. for their headline simulation.
Accompanied by Dr. Casey Stevens, the 10 students who represented the College were Peter Rindfuss ’20, Emili Castro Rodriquez ’21, Madison Clark ’19, Cierra Duclos ’20, Christopher Iadeluca ’21, Megan McGunigle ’19, Rachael Minassian ’19, Maya Neski ’21, Tara Noble ’20, Caroline Olsen ’19, and John Riccio ’19. This delegation of 10 students, which is composed of five committees with two representatives each, was assigned to represent St. Lucia at this year’s conference.
Throughout the semester, these hard working students spent their time in class researching St. Lucia, a small, developing state impacted by problems such as sustainable development, climate change, and security with limited resources from its tourist economy.
The MOAS simulation provides students with an idea of how diplomacy works and how to find creative resolutions to problems in the world today.
To prepare for the conference, the delegation wrote draft resolutions similar to bills that you would see at the real Organization of American States, the organization which the students were simulating.
Riccio stated, “These resolutions are designed to identify key challenges related to certain topics and propose creative and pragmatic solutions which all member states in the region can apply. The goal is to get your resolution passed, which requires a simple majority of votes from member states after it is formally debated in the committee.”
Specifically, the delegation focused on topics related to St. Lucia’s foreign policy goals, particularly freedom of press, food security, climate change, and political minority rights.
The delegation did more than just debate the proposed solution. Clark said, “In the general committee, where I was working as a secretary, we had to respond to a randomized crisis scenario brought before our committee and we had to work together in order to provide a successful solution to the problem.”
PC was accompanied by 26 other schools at the MOAS spanning across the country, and into foreign countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico.
The atmosphere of the simulation tended to be lively and intense at times, with lots of different ideas being tossed around at the Crystal City Marriott. Riccio said, “Personally, I think maintaining good diplomacy and a consistent attitude was the biggest challenge of the conference as it was easy to become rattled in the face of opposition and procedural limitations.”
Though the MOAS simulation is not a competition, the Friars passed three out of five resolutions relating to journalistic freedom, clean energy, and protecting political minorities. Despite the action-packed days spent at the simulation, the delegation of PC students was able to find some time to enjoy the local food of Washington D.C, explore the monuments, and even got to meet the St. Lucian Minister Counselor to the OAS, Mrs. E. Juliet Mallet Phillip, at the St. Lucian Embassy.
As part of the week’s itinerary, the students attended a delegate dance where they had a chance to interact with fellow students from other schools attending the simulation, and got to learn a few new moves on the dance floor from Latin American students.
In all the excitement of the week, Clark expressed her favorite moment: “Everybody there is so open and excited to talk to you that it is very easy to make connections and friends. I have friends that I have met at the model who I speak to on a regular basis that I find myself very close to, so the connections that can be made at the model are amazing.”
Riccio stated, “Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of the trip was being able to spend time with my classmates at dinners, excursions, and the delegate dance, and really get to know them all. My co-delegates are some of the most talented, creative, passionate, and personable people I’ve met during my four years at PC, and they are the reason that I will always smile when I look back on this trip.”