206 Student Services Building
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
Working for WMOAS
Description of the Organization
The OAS (Organization of American States) is the world's oldest regional organization with 35 member states. Representatives of each country work together to promote peace throughout the hemisphere of the Americas, as well as continuously striving to promote diplomacy. IDDA (Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas) is a younger organization that works primarily with educational programs such as the WMOAS conference to promote diplomacy in international relations. This non-profit is dedicated to supporting WMOAS in many different ways. The Board of Directors for IDDA include a number of professors from different universities who are all incredibly devoted to their work.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
The OAS hosts an annual conference with the help of IDDA for college students across the hemisphere. In participating in this conference, WMOAS, students are able to apply their knowledge of the OAS and its past and current diplomacy work, through debates and crisis solving. My role in this conference was to help a special committee solve a simulated crisis between certain member states. I worked with this group of students throughout the week by facilitating discussion and providing pertinent research. I also worked closely with the Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary General, in a time-management sense, to ensure we would have enough time to completely solve this crisis.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
Through this experience I learned a great deal about the OAS itself. The crisis scenario taught all of us involved, just how important diplomacy is. In this specific situation the students I worked with represented their countries extremely well, never breaking character. Since many of these students were from other countries, some even from the countries involved in our crisis, we were presented with many different perspectives and opportunities to learn from one another. For as important as diplomacy is, we learned that attention to detail, cooperation, and even empathy at times, are just as crucial, and all need to be present for success.
Favorite Part of the Experience
My favorite part of this experience was the networking involved. This year I wasn't with a class of fellow Grand Valley students like the first time I attended WMOAS, it was just my professor and I. Right away I was thrown into a leadership position with a group of people I'd never met. By the end of the week, though, none of us wanted to leave. We all shared the same sentiment - the group of students I worked with all week and I became very close. Although none of us live in the same state, or country, even, I know that a number of us will stay connected for years to come. These contacts, or friends, rather, are irreplaceable. I greatly value the international perspectives I've gained, and will continue to develop, via my friends from Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, etc. I also really loved how much Spanish I heard throughout the week. I have a Spanish minor, and was impressed with how much I was able to understand. I often spent my lunch break with a few Spanish speaking friends who jokingly would only let me speak Spanish with them. It felt great to be encouraged to do so, even if they poked fun at a grammar mistake here and there... but they thought my accent was great!
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
This experience has seriously inspired me to get out in the world and do what I love. Working internationally has always been a dream of mine, which has been amplified by this internship. I would love to work for the Red Cross or Amnesty International in the coming years, and am currently looking into Teach English Abroad programs to hone my spanish speaking skills.
All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.
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