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Texas State students win top prizes at OAS competition

Posted by University News Service
December 2, 2008

Students from Texas State University-San Marcos won two of five first-place awards at the 12th Model Organization of American States (MOAS) competition held recently at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Rick Zuniga and Kaitlyn Luck won Outstanding Delegate (first place) for Team Jamaica in the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation & Development Committee, and Javier Reyes and Daniel Palomo won Outstanding Delegate (first place) for Team Colombia in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Committee.

Twenty-eight political science students represented Texas State at the competition. The students participated as delegates from the countries of Brazil, Colombia, and Jamaica, using parliamentary procedure and debate techniques to represent their countries' assigned positions on issues ranging from human rights to integral development. 

The Texas State MOAS teams will compete nationally in April 2009, in Washington, D.C., against teams from prestigious institutions such as the University of Notre Dame, the Air Force Academy, and the University of Maryland. Texas State is one of only three universities in its region to compete in Washington. The other universities are Baylor and Tulane.

"The MOAS provides valuable opportunities for our students," said Ben Arnold, MOAS faculty sponsor. "I cannot even begin to describe the growth in leadership qualities I observe in these students throughout the semester-long process leading to competition. Many students leave with the knowledge that they can tackle challenges that, at the beginning of the semester, they did not think possible." 

Arnold added that students who are considering careers in diplomatic service have the opportunity to meet and talk with former U.S. diplomats and U.S. Department of State diplomatic service recruiters at MOAS meetings.

MOAS is a credited academic course through which students learn how the Organization of American States (OAS) operates. Students study procedures for parliamentary debate and caucusing, learn how to function in groups of countries that share common interests, and learn how the committees that report to the general assembly operate. Students also study the economic, social, educational, political, and security issues facing the Americas today.

The teams' participation was sponsored by the Texas State Parents Association, The College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board, and the Department of Political Science.