Potomac Andrea Manchester has extensive experience in diplomatic relations, debating, creating solutions and setting public policy — and she is only a junior in high school. In 7th grade, she took part in the Model United Nations in New York City. She was the first Holy Child freshman involved with the Model Organization of American States — and this December, she was elected to the position of president of MOAS at the Model Assembly held at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington DC.
Manchester ran against other students from the U.S., Puerto Rico and numerous Latin American countries. To run, she had to collect endorsement signatures from five countries; each country could only support one candidate.
She was also required to deliver a speech about the qualities that make her a good leader. “I was surprised and very pleased to have been chosen,” she said.
Manchester explained: “As president, I will be the chairperson for the General Committee, moderator of the discussion and debates, serve as a liaison between the student representatives and the people who run the MOAS, help set guidelines and serve as a diplomatic role model for the many students who attend the Model Assembly.”
She has set her goals for the following year: “I hope to improve the overall experience for students who participate in the Model, and to help students better understand how it works. I want to make it a realistic and meaningful experience for each student who attends.”
She also hopes to improve the efficacy of the process and plans to expand and promote the on-line platform along with communications between MOAS and the OAS.
Twelve students from Holy Child made up the delegation to the Assembly which represented the country of Brazil. They met after-school and on Saturday mornings to discuss Brazil and what their research had uncovered. They studied its politics, leadership position on human rights, security, democracy, economic development and more. Once they arrived at the Assembly, the team participated in role-playing, representing diplomats and political officials of the member states of the OAS. They debated and approved resolutions dealing with current issues on the Inter-American agenda. Through negotiation, team-work and problem solving, the students developed leadership skills and learned the processes of the OAS.
The OAS was established to achieve “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and their independence.” Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 67 states, as well as to the European Union.
Manchester speaks fluent Spanish and has a high level of French fluency. She has developed a strong interest in Latin American issues since she has family in Venezuela and has vacationed there. Her career interests are varied: “I actually think I want to be a forensic anthropologist and work for the FBI. I also have an interest in political science but i like the idea of international relations and diplomacy. I love studying current events.”
She is looking forward to her leadership position with MOAS and will attend training in the fall before she leads the Model Assembly next December.