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XXII Policy Roundtable: 
Women and Power: for a World with Equality

February 25, 2010
OAS Hall of the Americas


Department of International Affairs
Director: Irene Klinger
Fax: (202)458-6319

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The Department of International Affairs (DIA) plays an important role in establishing a presence, building awareness of, and encouraging concrete support for the activities of the Organization of American States (5.87 MB) as the premier regional political forum in the Western Hemisphere today. To this end, we strive to increase our visibility and to strengthen relations with Member States, Permanent Observer Countries, Regional and International Organizations, civil society, academic institutions and think tanks, and private sector entities in order to implement the inter-American agenda mandated by the Presidents and Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and the OAS Ambassadors in the context of the Summits of the Americas, the OAS General Assembly and the OAS Permanent Council.

  Haitian Diaspora Forum: Contributing to a Strategic Plan for Reconstruction and Development in Haiti
From Sunday, March 21 to Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Washington, D.C.

Announcement » | Informative Bulletin »
Program »  | Online Registration » | Press Release » Background document

The Department of International Affairs is organizing a DIALOGUE BETWEEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE CANDIDATES FOR SECRETARY GENERAL AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE OAS. The objective of this Dialogue is to provide CSOs the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions with the candidates for OAS Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General in relation to their vision of the Americas, its challenges and their proposed plans, projects and programs for the next five years from 2010 to 2015.
Agenda in Spanish
Agenda in English

The Department of International Affairs together with the Inter-American commission on Women is organizing the XXII OAS POLICY ROUNDTABLE to launch the Inter-American Year of Women: Women and Power: for a World with Equality. This roundtable will feature a discussion panel with renowned academic and parliamentary women from the hemisphere. Program (Enlish)- Program(Spanish)- BIOS of the panelists
Please RSVP by clicking on this link or sending an email to SER-DIA@oas.org


The Director of the Department of International Affairs, Irene Klinger, presented to the Member Sates the draft strategy for strengthening civil society participation in OAS activities. This presentation was delivered during the meeting of the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC) that took place on January 22 in the Simon Bolivar Room, OAS main building. The purpose of this strategy is to increase and strengthen CSO engagement in the work of the OAS in order to enhance dialogue between CSO representatives and Member States’ officials and increase CSO input in policy design.
Power Point Presentation
Draft Strategy

Photo gallery


On December 17, 2009, the Organization of American States and the European Union signed into agreement a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the OAS. 

This agreement serves to create a framework for the development of dialogue and cooperation in areas of common interest within Latin America and the Caribbean.  Specifically, the overlapping priorities established by both sides include the protection of human rights, the advancement of integral development, the strengthening of democracy and other issues of transnational relevance. 

October 30, 2009

An agreement was reached by the Hondurans as a result of the dialogue process established a couple of weeks ago during the OAS mission to that country, which included SG Insulza and the Foreign Ministers. The agreement was signed already by the Commissions representing both sides, and it was sent to the Honduran Congress.  A public event to celebrate this major breakthrough will take place on November 2nd.



Coming Event: October 22nd to 24th, 2009
Plenary Session on Democracy and Development

The European Development Days is a yearly event that showcases the European Union’s continuing and enduring commitment to development. It is hosted annually by the European Commission and the EU Presidency, which is currently held by the Government of Sweden, one of the Permanent Observers to the OAS. The 4th edition of the European Development Days will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from October 22nd to the 24th, 2009.  The event brings about 4,000 people and 1500 organizations from the development community together to share ideas on how to make development aid more effective, particularly in the fight against poverty and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. 

On October 23rd a Plenary Session entitled “Democracy and Development: Interregional Dialogue on Democracy Building” will be held. Dr. Irene Klinger -Director of the Department of International Affairs- will participate and make a presentation on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, Mr. Jose Miguel Insulza.  Invited speakers for this Plenary Session include the Secretary General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Vidar Helgesen, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa; former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark; Liberia´s first female president and Africa´s first woman head of state, Ellen Johnson’Sirleaf; the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek; and the Chair of the African Union Commision, Jean Ping, among others.  The session will address the topic of how development is more sustainable in countries that are democratically governed.  The promotion of democracy is indicated as one of the objectives of the European Consensus on Development.

 For further details, visit http://eudevdays.eu/about_the_event/introduction_en.htm


October 21, 2009

The Permanent Council denounced and strongly condemned the hostile action by the de facto regime against the embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa and the harassment of its occupants through deliberate actions that affect them physically and psychologically and violate their human rights. Click here to see full press release. This resulted in the adoption of the Declaration: “Condemnation of the Acts of Intimidation against the Embassy of Brazil in Honduras” by the Permanent Council in its session on October 21st, 2009.



On October 14, 2009, the OAS and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a Cooperation Agreement relative to activities in the area of migration in an effort to achieve the maximum benefits for their Member States. The Agreement focuses mainly on International Migration Law, Labor Migration, Combat Human Trafficking, Human Rights of Migrants, Democracy Strengthening and Education for Migrant Youth and Children.

The OAS-IOM Cooperation initiatives will foster the advancement of each organization’s  objectives and goals and may include conduction of workshops and activities on labor migration, counter- trafficking, migrants’ human rights and democracy strengthening; preparation of research and projects of cooperation and information exchange on issues of common interest for both Organizations; follow up on migration-related resolutions of the Summits of the Americas; organizing inter-institutional coordination meetings; attending each other’s meetings; and exchanging information and documentation to facilitate work on matters of mutual interest.

The Cooperation Agreement was signed at the Hall of Heroes by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza and the IOM Director General Mr. William Lacy Swing. Also present were Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos, Permanent Representative of Colombia and Chair of the Permanent Council; Ambassador Duly Brutus, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS and Chair of the Special Committee on Migration Issues; and Mr. Richard E. Scott, IOM Regional Representative for North America and the Caribbean as well as several OAS officials and Permanent Representatives of its Member States.

Talking points by Secretary General Insulza
Photo Gallery
Press release
Press clips:


The Grupo Vidanta Foundation has announced the call for submissions for the Prize “Contributions to the reduction of inequality and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean”. This is a new and exciting initiative of the Grupo Vidanta Foundation that the Organization of American States endorses and supports in coordination with the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB). The Grupo Vidanta Foundation is a non-profit institution with private sector financing, whose main purpose is to promote science and technology for the common good. The “Contributions to the reduction of inequality and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean” Prize has been created with the purpose of recognizing and providing support for outstanding projects carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce poverty and inequality and combat discrimination. It has the further aim of spreading awareness of these often unheralded efforts, so that their contributions may be shared and disseminated across the Hemisphere. This important award is aimed at individuals or community-based civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations that by their nature or work are involved in the fields of poverty reduction and inequality and fighting discrimination in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially those which have mobilized the necessary resources by their own or through community efforts. For further information, please visit the Prize webpage.


Micheletti reveló el viernes que se había reunido con Insulza en una base militar de Palmerola.

October 5, 2009: HONDURAS

Secretary General Insulza met last week with Mr. Micheletti to initiate discussions to begin a dialogue process (“mesa de dialogo”) to reestablish democracy in that country. Last Friday a preparatory OAS Secretariat Mission went to Honduras to start work, and a high level mission with the participation of Secretary General Insulza and various foreign ministers will be going there on Wednesday October 7 in the morning and will be coming back on Thursday early afternoon.  The mission will be integrated by the Secretary General, the Foreign Ministers of Costa Rica (current President of SICA), Ecuador (current President of UNASUR), El Salvador, México and Panamá; the Secretaries of State of Canada and Jamaica (CARICOM); the Vice- Minister of Foreign Relations of Guatemala, and the Permanent Representatives of Argentina and Brazil to the OAS. Also, the mission will be accompanied by the Secretary of State of Spain for Iberoamerican Affairs and a representative of the Secretary General of the UN.   

Press clips







October 1, 2009

The OAS and the African Union sign Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on issues for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights

The Commission of the African Union (AU) and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 1, 2009 to strengthen the cooperation between both regional organizations.  The document was signed by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Mr. Jean Ping.

Secretary-General Insulza emphasized the historic character of the agreement in his remarks, stating that this was the “first such agreement that has been signed” between the two organizations since inter-regional cooperation took root two years ago.  

The MOU establishes a higher level of cooperation between the two organizations specifically on issues relating to the promotion of democracy and strengthening of democratic institutions and processes, conflict resolution, protection of human and peoples’ rights and social and economic development, as well as any other areas of common interest that may be defined in the future by the parties. Click here for more info.

September 24, 2009

The OAS and the Ibero-American Secretariat (SEGIB) sign a Cooperation Agreement

The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the Ibero-American Secretary General, Enrique Iglesias, signed a Cooperation Agreement to strengthen relations between the two organizations and jointly develop regional initiatives in areas of common interest. This Agreement was signed during the framework of the Sixty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, that took place in New York on September 22-26, 2009. Click here for more info.



September 22, 2009


On September 22, at the OAS headquarters in Washington D.C., the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and member of the Club de Madrid, Jennifer Mary Shipley; and the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, signed an agreement (Spanish version) to collaborate in the areas of support, technical cooperation, implementation of joint projects, and dissemination of knowledge, in the area of democratic transition and consolidation. Click here for more info.

August 28, 2009

The Academic Council of the Lecture Series of the Americas was established Friday and held its first-ever meeting with the attendance of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and its first seven members.

The Academic Council is chaired by Dr. Raúl Bao, rector of the Universidad San Martín de Porres (Peru). The first members of the Council are the rectors of Arizona State University (United States), Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Mexico), International Organization of Higher Education (Organización de Universidades Interamericanas OUI-IOHE), Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) “José Simeón Cañas” (El Salvador), Universidad Diego Portales (Chile), and University of the West Indies in Mona (Jamaica).

Members of the Council will be invited by the OAS General Secretariat to become participants at their own cost with a rotating bi-annual membership. The Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE) will also participate as member of this Council but with a permanent member status.

The Academic Council, with an advisory role to the OAS General Secretariat, will work throughout the year, meeting annually with several goals, such as extending the reach of the Lecture Series and the topics in the Inter-American agenda within the academic community, promoting greater participation of universities in the hemispheric dialogue, facilitating the relationship between the OAS and the academic community in the region, and identifying and securing prestigious high-level speakers for the conferences.

The first meeting of the Council was inaugurated by Secretary General Insulza, who insisted on the value of these debates focused on important topics of the Inter-American agenda and provided by very high-profile speakers.

Secretary General Insulza highlighted that the aim of the Academic Council should be to “widen the reach of the debates taking place at the Lecture Series of the Americas and make it useful as academic material and as a contribution to the design of public policies.” Click here for more info.







Courtesy of Caribbean Net News, August 1, 2009

WASHINGTON, USA -- The Organization of American States (OAS) is holding its 4th Model of the Permanent Council for OAS Interns (4th MOAS/PC) at OAS Headquarters. The MOAS Program is designed to promote democratic values among the youth of the Hemisphere through simulation exercises of the OAS main political bodies, in which students represent the Organization’s Member States and negotiate resolutions to promote democracy, human rights, hemispheric security and development in the Americas.

The purpose of this 4th MOAS/PC is to familiarize the 77 interns from throughout the Hemisphere that are doing their Summer internship at the Organization, with the work of the Permanent Council of the OAS, so that they can acquire an integral view of the mission, functions and work of the organization. This is an official activity of the OAS Internship Program.

The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony this morning, was the Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the OAS, Ambassador Anthony Johnson, who provided an overview on the development of democracy in the Hemisphere from the imperial period of the 18th and 19th centuries, to the founding of the Pan American Union in 1889, and how after WWII the OAS was established.

He also summarized the chronology of the Caribbean countries joining the OAS in the 1960’s, as well as the suspension of Cuba during that decade, as well as the derogation of its suspension 2 months ago and suspension of Honduras less than 1 month ago.

Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs, which together with the Department of Human Resources of the OAS organizes this event, gave an overview of the OAS and its role as the main political body of the Hemisphere, highlighting the main events and actions taken by the OAS regarding Honduras. She reiterated that the Member States applied articles 20th and 21st of the Inter-American Democratic Chart in their decision for suspending Honduras.

The newly appointed Ambassador of Panama to the OAS, Guillermo Cochez, was a special guest and he briefly addressed the interns to wish them luck in their deliberations pointing out that the work of negotiation and compromise that they would practice throughout the day will serve them well for their professional and personal life.

By the end of the 4th MOAS/PC, this afternoon the interns will have approved 2 resolutions on the following topics: “Strengthening border control among OAS Member States to combat illicit drug trafficking in the Americas,” and “Combating arms trafficking in the Americas.” The interns received technical assistance from OAS experts on these topics, and also from diplomats regarding the policies of the countries they are representing at the MOAS. The Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Ambassador Adam Blackwell, and the Director of the Department of Human Resources, Rosa Maria Barreiro, were due to be the speakers at the closing ceremony on Friday afternoon.



The XXXVII Special Session of the OAS General Assembly, which had started on June 30, was resumed on July 4th, and the OAS Member States adopted AG/RES. 2 (XXXVII – E/09), "Resolution on the Suspension of the Right of Honduras to Participate in the OAS", at the second plenary session, held at OAS Headquarters, Padilha Vidal room.

The worsening of the crisis in Honduras had led the Permanent Council to convene in the XXXVII Special Session at the OAS headquarters on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 4:00pm. The result was the adoption of Resolution AG/RES. 1 (XXXVII – E/09) “Resolution on the Political Crisis in Honduras"

The Permanent Council met when this crisis was development on June 28, which resulted in the adoption of Resolution CP/RES. 953 (1700/09) "Current Situation in Honduras".


The Inaugural Session of the 39th OAS General Assembly takes place at the Club Social Hondureño Arabe in San Pedro Sula- Honduras
June 2, 2009

Photo Gallery


June 1st, 2009
San Pedro Sula -  Honduras

On June 1, representatives from 35 Permanent Observer countries met for a luncheon at the Hotel Intercontinental in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with the Heads of Delegation of the 34 Member States of the OAS and the Assistant Secretary General to dialogue on the cooperation between the Permanent Observers and the Organization, as well as to discuss points of interest relating to this topic of this year’s General Assembly, “Toward a Culture of Nonviolence.” The Dialogue began with introductory remarks by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras, Patricia Licona Cubero, who offered her welcome on behalf of Honduras and invited the Permanent Observer participants to exchange opinions and points of view with the Member States and Assistant Secretary General on themes of the Inter-American Agenda. Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, then provided a brief overview of the role Observers play in the Organization, noting that the Permanent Observers in 2008 contributed a total of US$25.8 million in cash, and US$354,732 in kind – an increase of 21.4% from 2007 – and provided contributions in all areas of the OAS, ranging from democracy promotion, security, human rights and development. For more info, click here.



Dialogues of Civil Society
May 31st
and June 1st
San Pedro Sula-Honduras

Nearly 200 representatives from more than 100 civil society, private sector and workers’ organizations participated in the XXXIX OAS General Assembly.  The Informal Conversation between the Secretary General of the OAS and the Representatives of Civil Society Organizations and the Dialogue of Heads of Delegation with Representatives of Civil Society, which took place in the headquarters of the General Assembly “Centro Social Hondureño Árabe” on May 31st and June 1st respectively, offered spaces for dialogue, in which the participants exchanged opinions regarding the theme of the General Assembly “Toward a Culture of Non-Violence” and the four priority areas of the OAS, democracy, human rights, multidimensional security and integral development.

These dialogues contributed to strengthening citizen participation in the Inter-American agenda and in the policymaking process, highlighting the importance of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which defines civil society organizations as agents of democracy, and promotes the continued cooperation between civil society and Member States in the economic, social and cultural development of the region.

Photo Gallery

The opening ceremony of the 27th Model OAS General Assembly (MOAS) for Universities of the Hemisphere took place this morning in the campus of Universidad de San Pedro Sula (USPS), Honduras. This Model, held from April 27- 30, 2009, is organized jointly by the Department of International Affairs (DIA) of the Secretariat for External Relations of the Organization of American States (OAS), the USPS and the Government of Honduras. This MOAS brings together approximately 400 students and 50 teachers from 15 universities in Honduras, as well as 13 universities from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. The participating students will represent the 34 OAS Member States and 5 Permanent Observer countries of the OAS. This Model is financed by the OAS, the USPS and the Government of Spain, and seeks to familiarize the youth and general population of Honduras, as well as the youth of the Hemisphere, with the priorities in the inter-American agenda in anticipation to the celebration of the 39th Regular Period of Sessions of the General Assembly of the OAS, to be held in that same city from June 1-3, 2009. The main purpose of the MOAS Program is the promotion of democratic values among the youth of the Hemisphere, through this role-playing exercise, where the students represent each of the 34 OAS Member States. For more information about this Model please visit www.moea.usps.edu. For more information about the MOAS, please visit www.moas.oas.org


The Department of International Affairs (DIA) has developed a series of activities in preparation for the Fifth Summit of the Americas:  “Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability," which took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
A Post- Summit Briefing: "A New Beginning in Inter-American Relations?” will be held at the OAS Hall of the Americas on May 1st, 2009, at 10:00am. For more information, please click here. For more information on the V Summit, please visit the V Summit Website. Information on the Summit process is also available at http://www.summitsoftheamericas.org/.

_04-16-2009-1346 The Civil Society Forum was held aboard the Carnival Victory Cruise Ship in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on April 14-16, 2009, in the framework of the Fifth Summit of the Americas. The results of the Forum will be shared with the 34 OAS Member States in a Dialogue between Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Social Actors, to be held aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship on the morning of April 17, 2009.
_04-09-2009-0434 On April 9, the OAS Secretary General Insulza met with more than 39 representatives from 35  Permanent Observer countries.  This meeting took place at OAS Headquarters Guerrero Room at 10:30AM and offered a unique opportunity for Permanent Observer representatives to exchange views with the Secretary General on the developments in the region and on the  V Summit of the Americas, as well as on the 39th Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly.

The Thirty-Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States will be held from June 1 to 3, 2009, in the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The theme of this year’s General Assembly is: “Toward a Culture of Nonviolence.” Please visit the 39 OAS General Assembly website for more information on the Assembly, as well as OAS General Assembly Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure’s webpage for the most recently updated documents available. For information on the Dialogue on Cooperation between the Heads of Delegation, the OAS Secretary General and the Heads of Delegation of the Permanent Observer Countries please visit http://www.der.oas.org/Contributions/dialogo_ga_june_09.html

 Organization of American States:  "Democracy, Justice, Peace and Prosperity"
 (.pdf ENGLISH) (.doc ENGLISH)



 Organización de los Estados Americanos:  "Democracia, justicia, paz y prosperidad"
 (.pdf ESPANOL)


The Department of International Affairs, as part of the Secretariat for External Relations (Executive Order No. 08-01 Rev.1), is responsible for advising and making recommendations to the Secretary General and the OAS Secretariat, as well as to the Organization's policy-making bodies on external relations, resource mobilization, as well as developing the Lecture Series of the Americas.

About DIA:

Advises the General Secretariat, through the Secretary for External Relations, on matters regarding relations between the Organization and permanent observer countries and multilateral organizations.

Coordinates relations with the Permanent Observers so as to provide them with information on the role of the Organization and the priorities of the hemispheric agenda, and to secure substantive and financial support for OAS activities.

Implements policies on external institutional relations, including relations with United Nations agencies, inter-American institutions, international financial institutions, the private sector, and study and research centers, according to instructions from the Secretary General.

 Recommends means of strengthening the General Secretariat’s ties with the permanent observer missions and with specialized organizations and institutions, both regional and international.

 Assists the various areas of the OAS in their efforts to maintain effective substantive contacts with other intergovernmental institutions, both public and private.

Coordinates, promotes, and carries out the necessary activities to hold the Lecture Series of the Americas and similar programs, including their conceptual development, seeking speakers, and disseminating  it in the Member States so as to reach out to every citizen in the Americas.

Develops, promotes, organizes, and carries out the Model OAS General Assembly in the member states to inform and educate students of the Americas about the Organization and its role.

Prepares and implements projects and programs to strengthen ties between the General Secretariat and other public and private institutions in the host country.

Develops and implements a program of briefings on OAS affairs and priorities in the Inter-American Agenda for various audiences interested in the Organization.