Students gain valuable policy-making experience during Costa Rica’s Model O.A.S. meeting hosted at EARTH

Filed Under: EARTH News
Date: September 5th, 2012

September 2012 – For four days last week, The MasterCard Foundation Scholar Didier Bolaños González (‘15, Colombia) imagined himself in “the shoes of Nicaraguan citizens,” trying to “think how they might think.” He did so as an active participant in Costa Rica’s fourteenth annual Model Organization of American States meeting, which EARTH University hosted for the first time this year from August 28-31. Didier was one of 80 students selected for the conference; 10 were from EARTH, and the rest came from the National University, the event’s organizer, and other Costa Rican institutions. Student commissions focused on key issues such as public security, drug policy, human rights and information technology and communications (ITC).

As Nicaragua’s representative on the ITC commission, Didier worked diligently for 15 days before the conference to prepare a proposal on the creation of an inter-American multimedia communications network. While the measure lacked just one vote needed to pass, Didier feels proud of what he learned about policy-making throughout the process.

He shares, “I’ll never forget it. I hear the name [Organization of American States] now, and I know its importance for the Americas. …I had never understood its importance before, and this gives me a knowledge base. The experience has been really fulfilling for me, because the processes apply so much to my region. … It’s an excellent model, because you really need to know how organizations like these work to become a leader.”

His level of confidence in discussing global policies with other students in such a context also surprised him, since he studies agronomic engineering – not political science, as many of the other participants did. What helped him was his openness to learning through the experience, something he believes EARTH’s global and holistic educational model encourages. His favorite component of the conference, in fact, was the Commission on Ethics and Values, a group that EARTH president Dr. José Zaglul organized within the conference.

Now, he feels even more inspired. “You must have a vision in life,” Didier shares. “What motivates me is remembering the people in my town. If I’m a true leader of change, they’ll enjoy the same learning opportunities that Costa Rica and EARTH have given me.” By embodying ethical, socially-responsible leadership in his home community, he dreams of opening doors for others, as well.

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