Model OAS Handbook

Roles and Responsibilities | Resolutions | Declarations | Model OAS Rules of Procedures | Awards

Congratulations on being a part of the Model Organization of American States!

Now entering its third decade, this UW-Parkside program is the oldest
regional simulation in the United States. The ongoing success of the Model
OAS rest to a great extent on the interest and enthusiasm of generations
of high school students and their faculty advisors.

Here are some tips to help you gain the most from your participation in
this year's model:

  1. Learn and practice the OAS Rules of Procedures
  2. Study your 'country' and become familiar with its strengths and problems
  3. Try to represent 'your' country's interests, rather than those you hold as a citizen of the United States
  4. Never support another delegation's proposals just because they are friends of yours
  5. Read the Agenda (the list of topics that will be addressed in committees)and become familiar with the issues that you will be discussing in your committee
  6. Become an active member of your committee

Also, please remember that in this simulation, you hold the diplomatic post of Ambassador. It is important to dress and behave in a manner that reflects that high rank.

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Roles And Responsibilities

Delegations | Head Delegate | President of Model | Committee Officers | Vice-Chair | Rapporteur


Each delegation is made up of at least five delegates, so that there is one delegate representing its country in the five committees of the General Assembly. No more than five alternates may accompany the delegation.

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Head Delegate

The delegation and/or faculty advisor appoints the Head Delegate before the simulation. There are several duties for this position:

  1. Spokesperson for the delegation present Head Delegate statement to the General Assembly
  2. Votes for the delegation during Plenary Sessions
  3. Distributes credentials on the first day of the simulation
  4. Represents country in the General Committee

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President of the Model

The President is elected during the first Plenary Session. Candidates for this position are asked to send the Secretariat Staff a statement or resume outlining their qualifications for the position, by Monday prior to the simulation. Candidates should meet the following requirements:

  1. Participation in at least two political simulations
  2. Knowledge of Parliamentary procedure
  3. Public speaking skills
  4. Leadership skills gained through such activities:
    • Prior experience in running meetings
    • Working in student government
    • Officer positions in clubs

The President has three duties:

  1. Serve as Chair of the General Committee
  2. Preside over Plenary Sessions
  3. Write a statement for the final report

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Committee Officers

At the beginning of the individual committee sessions an election will be held to select the officers for that year.

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Elections for Vice-Chair are held in all committees, excluding the General Committee. Candidates are to be selected from the members of the committee. Candidates must be nominated by at least three other delegations, and each delegation may only support one candidate. The Vice-Chair has three duties:

  1. Assist the Chair
  2. Assume the duties of the Chair at least by the second day
  3. Be able to make knowledgeable decisions concerning the agenda topics and Parliamentary procedures

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A Rapporteur is elected in all committees. Candidates must be a member of the committee. The Rapporteur has several duties:

  1. Serve as the committee's liaison to the Secretariat Staff
  2. Record the speaker's lists
  3. Time speeches
  4. Record amendments to resolutions
  5. Assume the duties of Vice-Chair, if necessary

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What is a Resolution? | How is a Resolution Presented?
Preparing Resolutions | Heading | Preamble
Operating or Actuating Clauses | Resolution Format

What is a resolution?

Resolutions are formal documents that address specific agenda topics. If passed they become policy statements of the OAS. A resolution begins as a proposal made by a delegate in a committee. The resolutions must be in a proper form, pertain to the agenda topic in the committee, and have the signatures of five other delegates in the committee. By signing, those delegates oblige themselves to vote in favor of the resolution unless the said amendment is amended. If the resolution is amended, they are no longer obligated to vote on it.

Example of a Resolution

The Reintegration of Cuba into the OAS

General Committee
Agenda Item 1
Presented by the Republic of Cuba and Mexico


PROMPTED by the resolution passed on January 21, 1962 that excluded Cuba from full participation in the proceedings of the Organization of American States, and

APPALLED by the continued denial of representation for 11,382,820 inhabitants of the Americas , and

KEEPING IN MIND the continued participation of Cuba and other communist countries in the United Nation as well as the continued diplomatic and economic relations between Cuba and other OAS countries, and

NOTING the presence of democratic elections within the Cuban government, and

DEEPLY CONFIDENT in the commitment of the member nations of the OAS to the democratic principle of equal representation, and

RECALLING that Cuba has suffered under an economic embargo since 1961, denying food and medical care to the citizens of Cuba , and

EMPHASIZING that in 2000, Cuban courts estimated that Cuba had suffered $121 billion in damages from the embargo:

, STRONGLY URGES the OAS to allow Cuba to resume its status as a fully functioning and participating member state, and

, PROPOSES the immediate reintegration of Cuba into the OAS with full recognition as a legitimate state and the reinstatement of all voting privileges and eligibility to hold positions in committee and in the General Secretariat, and

, REMINDS the assembly that, as a member state, Cuba currently continues to be held accountable for its obligations under the OAS Charter, and

, TRUSTS that the member nations will not permit the deprivation of Cuba 's right of representation to continue.

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How is a resolution presented?

A draft resolution should reflect your country's positions and interests as determined by your research.

Resolutions are almost always amended during committee debate. You should be prepared to consider modifying your resolution, combining it with others, or withdrawing it entirely in order to reach a consensus on a particular topic. Please bring 36 copies of each prepared draft to the Model for distribution to delegates.

The proposed resolution is presented to the committee for discussion. In that discussion, delegates may object to some aspect of the proposal. The task of a committee is to work toward consensus and develop resolutions that can achieve sufficient support to be approved in the committee and submitted for General Assembly approval.

For the resolution to pass out of committee, it must receive a majority of the votes of the Member States. Sometimes, proposed resolutions are substantially similar. In such cases, the proponents of these resolutions may consider drafting a resolution that combines their common elements, and then submit the resolution as joint sponsors. Resolutions that pass out of committee will be brought to the entire General Assembly. Each committee will have 20 minutes to present all of its resolutions for either individual or block presentation.

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Preparing Resolutions

Resolutions follow a pattern. It is expected that all delegations will observe the following outline in preparing their resolutions. All resolutions should be typed. A sample resolutions directly follows the explanations of the composite elements of a proper resolution.

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The heading should have the following items in the upper left-hand corner:

  1. Subject in bold
  2. The committee in which the resolution was proposed
  3. Topic of the resolution
  4. Delegation which is proposing the resolution

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The preamble describes the problem, recalls past actions on it, and explains the rationale behind the action the draft resolutions proposes. Perambulatory clauses consist of declarative statements beginning with words or phrases:

Acknowledging Convinced Realizing
Alarmed Distressed Recalling
Angered Disturbed Recognizing
Appalled Emphasizing Regretting
Aware Expressing Reiterating
Bearing in mind Having adopted Remembering
Believing Having examined Respecting
Concerned Keeping in mind Seeking
Confident Noting Stressing
Conscious Observing Understanding
Considering Prompted by Valuing

When you use the same beginning word or phrase more than once in a resolution, you can add quantitative words such as "Further", "Also", "Further noting", or "Also recognizing". For emphasis, you can add adverbs or phrases such as, "Deeply disturbed" or "Noting with deep concern".

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Operating or Actuating Clauses

These clauses are action statements; they express what action the MOAS will take on a particular problem. List the actions your country feels the MOAS should take. Continue to use clauses which begin with words or phrases:

Accepts Considers Expands Reaffirms
Addresses Constructs Expresses Recognizes
Adheres Continues Gives Recommends
Advocates Creates Guarantees Regrets
Affirms Declares Hopes Reminds
Agrees Decreases Impels Removes
Approves Deems Improves Requests
Asks Defines Increases Separates
Asserts Demands Insists States
Begins Denies Invites Suggests
Calls for Deplores Opens Supports
Calls upon Designates Praises Takes note of
Chooses Encourages Proclaims Trusts
Condemns Endorses Proposes Urges
Congratulates Establishes Provides

As in perambulatory clauses, emphasize a statement by adding an adverb: "Strongly supports", "Vehemently denies" and so forth.

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Resolution Format

The resolution should be single-spaced within the clauses, and double-spaced between sections. The first word or phrase opening the clause should end in a comma, followed by an "and", except for the last line in the preamble which should end in a colon, and the final actuating clause which should end in a period. (click here to go to the OAS website. On the menu along the left side of the webpage, look for Documents and Reports. Click on Resolutions. This will bring you to the table of contents and you can look at resolutions by clicking on any of those links.)

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What is a Declaration?

  • A Declaration is a statement of principles but does not contain actuating clauses.
  • Each Committee may develop ONE Declaration on an issue of concern.

Model OAS Rules of Procedure

Quorum | Proposed Resolutions | Amendments |
Withdrawal of Proposed Resolutions & Amendments

Speaker's List | Speeches | Time Limit - Speeches
Yields | Right of Reply | Points of Personal Privilege
Points of Order | Point of Parliament Inquiry
Point of Information | Appealing the Decision of the Chair
Suspension or Adjournment of the Meeting/Session
Caucus | Suspension of the Rules | Postponement/Resumption of Debate
Division of the Question | Voting | Roll Call Vote | Explanation of Vote
Reconsideration of Decisions | Order of Procedural Motions | Elections


A majority of the delegation that is attending the Model OAS shall constitute a quorum. To determine the presence of a quorum, a delegate may move for a quorum call.

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Proposed Resolutions

A resolution may be introduced as a proposal:

  1. When it deals with a topic on the agenda of that committee.
  2. When it conforms to the style of the Model OAS.
  3. When it bears the signatures of five delegates other than the proponents who are committed to support the resolution as originally presented.

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Resolutions may be amended through two different processes:

  1. Friendly Amendments: If the proponent and the five sponsors of the resolutions agree to an amendment to the resolution, then the amendment shall be incorporated into the resolution.
  2. Unfriendly Amendments: If either the proponent or any of the five sponsors of the resolution do not agree to the proposed amendment, then the amendment will be required to be introduced to the floor following the same procedure as if introducing a resolution.

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Withdrawal of Proposed Resolutions and Amendments

The proponent of the resolution or amendment may withdraw the proposal from the floor before the committee has taken a vote. Proposed resolutions or amendments may be resubmitted, so long as proper procedure is followed.

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Speaker's List

The committees and Plenary Sessions shall always have a speaker's list for discussing resolutions. Separate speaker's lists shall be established as needed for procedural motions.

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No delegate may address the committee sessions without having previously obtained the permission of the Chair. The Chair may call a speaker to order if remarks are not relevant to the topic or issue under discussion.

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Time Limit on Speeches

The Chair will set the time allowed to each speaker for both substantive and procedural speeches. When the speaker exceeds the time limit, the Chair shall call the delegate to order.

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A delegate may yield through the use of any of three processes:

  1. May yield to another delegate; the recipient may use the remainder of the delegate's time, but may not yield to another delegate.
  2. May yield to questions from the floor; only the delegate's answers to the questions shall be deducted from the delegate's remaining time.
  3. May yield to the Chair if the delegate does not wish to answer questions.

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Right of Reply

A delegate whose personal integrity has been impugned by another delegate may request a Right of Reply. The Chair's decision to grant this right is not subject to appeal.

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Points of Personal Privilege

Whenever a delegate experiences personal discomfort that impairs the delegate's ability to participate in the proceedings, the delegate may raise a Point of Personal Privilege to request that the source be corrected.

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Points of Order

During discussions of any matter, a delegate may raise a Point of Order, which shall be decided upon by the President or Chair. Any delegate may appeal the decision.

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Point of Parliamentary Inquiry

When the floor is open, a delegate may raise a Point of Parliamentary Inquiry to ask a question of the Chair regarding Parliamentary procedure.

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Point of Information

A delegate may ask a question of another delegate who has the floor. The question may not interrupt a delegate's speech and must be addressed through the Chair.

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Appealing the Decision of the Chair

Any decision of the Chair, except decisions made on the procedural motions, or as specified in the rules, may be appealed by a delegate. The Chair may speak briefly in defense of the ruling and then the appeal shall be put to a majority vote.

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Suspension or Adjournment of the Meeting or Session

Whenever the floor is open, the President, Chair, or any other delegation may propose that the session or committee suspend or adjourn. Such a motion shall be put to a simple majority vote without discussion. The presiding officer may rule such motions out-of-order; such decisions will not be subject to appeal.

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A Delegate may move to caucus at any time before closure of debate. The motion to caucus shall immediately be put to a majority vote. The delegate must specify a time limit for the caucus and briefly explain its purpose. The time limit is subject to the Chair's decision.

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Suspension of the Rules

A delegate may move to suspend the rules at any time after the General speaker's list has been opened. The motion is subject to the decision of the Chair and is not subject to appeal. If the Chair accepts the motion, a vote will be taken which requires approval by 2/3 of the committee.

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Postponement and Resumption of Debate

Whenever the floor is open, a delegate may move for the postponement of debate on a resolution or amendment currently on the floor. Two delegates may speak in favor and two against such a motion. The motion will then be put to a simple majority vote. No debate is allowed on any resolution or amendment on which debate has been postponed. A motion to resume debate on a resolution or amendment follows the same procedure.

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Division of the Question

After debate on a resolution has been closed, a delegate may move to divide the question. This is a procedure that allows Member States to vote on operative clauses separately. Perambulatory clauses cannot be divided. The Chair will recognize one speaker for and one against Division of the Question. The committee will then take a simple majority vote. If Division of Question is accepted, then the operative clauses will be voted on separately. If all operative clauses have been rejected by the committee, then the proposed resolution shall be considered rejected as a whole.

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Each Member State shall have one vote. Members who abstain from voting shall not be considered in determining the results of the vote. No delegation may interrupt the voting, except for a Point of Order relating to the manner in which the voting procedure is being followed. Placard voting shall be taken on substantive matters unless there is a motion from the floor calling for a Roll Call Vote.

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Roll Call Vote

After debate has been closed on any resolution, a delegate may move for a Roll Call Vote. Ten Member States must second such a motion. A delegate may vote "Yes", "No", "Abstain", or "Pass". Delegates may include the phrase "with rights" if they wish to have the opportunity to explain their vote. A delegate who passes during the first sequence of the Roll Call Vote must vote during the second sequence and can only vote Yes or No. The presiding officer shall then announce the outcome of the vote.

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Explanation of Vote

After voting has ended any representative may request a brief explanation. The decision is not subject to appeal.

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Reconsideration of Decisions

For a reconsideration of a decision taken in Plenary Session or by a committee, approval of the motion by 2/3 of a vote of the Member States shall be required.

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Order of Procedural Motions
  1. Parliamentary Points
  2. Procedural Motions, which are not debatable,

a. Adjournment of the Session or Committee
b. Suspension of the Session or Committee
c. Suspension of the Rules
d. Caucus

  1. Procedural Motions that apply to Resolutions
    a. Closure of Debate
    b. Postponement of Debate
    c. Resumption of Debate
    d. Division of the Question
  2. Substantive Motions
    a. Amendments
    b. Resolutions

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Election will be carried out by secret ballot. In cases where only one person is to be elected, if the candidate does not obtain the vote of the majority of the Member States on the first ballot, a second ballot shall be taken. If necessary, a third ballot shall be taken, this time limited to the candidates receiving the largest number of votes on the second ballot.

A candidate for Vice-Chair must obtain support from three delegations in addition to his/her own for the nomination to be valid. Delegations may not support more than one candidate. Head delegates may sign only one nominating petition for the President of the Model OAS.

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All participating students receive a certificate of achievement. Outstanding Delegates are selected from each committee. The decision is made by the MOAS Secretariat staff, based on nominations from the students and reports from the Chairs. An Outstanding Resolution award is selected by faculty advisors, with each committee selecting one resolution to be considered for the award. A special award is given for the Best Head Delegate's speech and for Best Orator. The delegation with the best overall performance receives an Outstanding Delegation Award.

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