While students across the Western Hemisphere begin preparations to participate in the annual forum, the Washington Model of the Organization of American States (WMOAS), senior political science majors at Ship, Brenda Aristy and Seth Edwards are gearing up to lead this unique hands-on student experience in diplomacy.

The Organization of American States is a regional forum for political discussion, policy analysis and decision-making in Western Hemisphere affairs. The WMOAS is five-day simulation of the OAS General Assembly in collaboration with the Institute for Diplomatic Dialogue in the Americas, in which students from universities from around the region act as delegates for member states. Students learn about OAS, its member states, and issues that face the Hemisphere, all while mastering the arts of debate and diplomacy.

Aristy and Edwards have both served as delegates in past WMOAS simulations, but this year they’ve been selected as WMOAS officers.

Aristy is serving as Chair of the Special Committee. This year, the committee is focusing on the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As chair, she will ensure that regulations are followed and that all delegates remain diplomatic in their discussions.

“I have served as a delegate my past two years, so serving as a chair will be a new experience that I am excited about,” said Aristy. And she’s most excited to meet new people from Canada, South America and Central America.

As the Secretary General, Edwards serves in the senior-most position in the WMOAS. In this role he oversees all delegations and works to ensure smooth operations of diplomatic sessions. He is also tasked with distributing a crisis scenario, challenging student diplomats to interact rapidly to a real-world based event that requires urgent action.

“The most exciting part of the WMOAS is the enriching knowledge you learn in how the international world works, and the ballet of cooperation that takes place every minute of every day out in the world to ensure our societies can function,” said Edwards.

Both rank this experience as one of the top in their educational journey, and are thankful for the faculty that not only provide the opportunity, but prepare them to succeed in this unique hands-on experience.

“Dr. Alison Dagnes, Dr. Mark Sachleben, Dr. Sara Grove, and Dr. Niel Brasher have taught me skills that are necessary for the OAS and they challenge me in thinking of new ideas and solutions,” said Aristy.

“They teach dozens of invaluable classes here based on the ideas of diplomacy, international law and global relations,” added Edwards.

When the simulation kicks off virtually on March 29, Aristy and Edwards will be joined by nearly twenty of their classmates, serving as delegates representing Antigua and Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis. With two officers and two delegations, there is no denying Ship students are making their names known as future leaders on an international level.