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Apr 13, 2015

O.A.S. Recognizes Students in Model Summit

A Belizean delegation participated in a simulation summit for the O.A.S. at the end of last month in the Caribbean. They joined over a hundred delegates for sessions to role-play as diplomats and political officials of the Member States of the Organization of the American States and followed parliamentary proceedings to debate and approve resolutions dealing with current issues, including decriminalization of marijuana and climate change. The model summit is aimed at promoting democratic values among the youth of the Hemisphere by familiarizing students, faculty and academic institutions of the Americas with the work of the O.A.S. and its Member States, as well as with the Organization’s role as the premier political forum in the Hemisphere. Andrea Polanco joined the students today where they were recognized for their participation.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Six Galen University students were recognized with certificates for their participation in the thirty third model O.A.S. General Assembly for Universities of the Hemisphere in St. Kitts and Nevis. One of those students, Bryton Codd, says the simulation exercise was eye opening.

 

Bryton Codd,

Bryton Codd, Student, Galen

“For me it was definitely a learning experience; definitely a culture shock where they were promoting democratic values, diplomatic skills and how is it that countries can come together and formulate proposals, formulate resolutions pertaining to hemispheric issues that are plaguing the hemisphere. It makes me become more aware of the issues that are present in the hemisphere and how is it that our diplomats go to these conferences and attack these issues. First and foremost, I think I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Nestor Mendez and this is definitely an opportunity for Belize to get its voice heard at the O.A.S. conference. So definitely it has changed the way I see the O.A.S. within our community and the way they go about tackling these issues.”

 

These opportunities provide exposure and build capacity, which is a worthy investment in the Belizean youth, says Starret Greene of the O.A.S.

 

Starret Greene

Starret Greene, O.A.S. Rep., Belize

“This is so important. We must bear in mind that these young people are going to be the men and women of tomorrow. They are going to be our Secretary Generals, our Assistant Secretary Generals. They are even going to be even our Prime Ministers, our Deputy Prime Ministers. Their future role in government, in their society and in their community is already set. So, it is important—as far as the O.A.S. is concerned—to give these young people the support, the training and the exposure they need so that our world tomorrow will be a better world because we invest in our young people.”

 

And for Codd, the discussions certainly shaped his perspective on the decriminalization of marijuana, one of the topics covered at the summit and one that is being dealt with locally.

 

Bryton Codd

“A lot of young people in Belize are being incarcerated for grams of weed that cannot be weighed on a scale. And so we definitely need to take into account from an anthropological perspective the culture of persons that take part in the use of marijuana or cannabis—whether it is for recreational purpose or medicinal purpose. We need to take into account the different religions that people live by, we need to take into account what is it that our society wants to see; do we want to decriminalize or legalize marijuana or do we want to have it as an illegal drug and have these issues present within our country. It is definitely a topic for debate and definitely needs to be addressed.”

 

Greene says the objective was achieved.

 

Starret Greene

“That is exactly why I’m so delighted that students from Galen University can go to the O.A.S. Model General Assembly because they were exposed to the debate and they were part of the narrative, shaping the debate, giving their ideas on the crucial and critical issues of the day—whether the decriminalization of marijuana or democratic governance or matters pertaining to the role of corporate companies and their social responsibility. Women, indigenous people, the need to address issues related to their vulnerabilities. I am so overwhelmed and pleased that they were part of this narrative because they can now inject their ideas and their opinions and let what they say be heard and be part of the formulation of policies and the implementation of those policies as well.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

Belizeans Gustavo Carillo and Bryton Codd were elected as Chairman and Assistant Secretary General, respectively, for the next model summit in 2016.

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