Concordia Political Science Students Claim Major Wins at ESMOAS Conference

Jan. 08, 2020 by Adriana Thompson

Political Science students

Led by Concordia University Texas professor Dr. Brent Burgess, CTX political science students competed at the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court (IACHR) competition, the Summit of the Americas competition, and the academic conference, all of which are part of the annual Eugene Scassa Model Organization of American States (ESMOAS) summit.

This year, the conference took place at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. More than 250 students and faculty attended the event. Concordia University Texas is the smallest school to participate in the competition, but the University made its mark once again by clenching several victories!

What Is ESMOAS?

The ESMOAS program, which is the oldest and largest regional, collegiate simulation of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the world, hosts an annual conference that is the only hybrid conference on Latin American studies in the nation. The conference is composed of three components:

  • The IACHR is a competition in which teams of two students form written and oral arguments about a hypothetical case where a human rights violation has occurred in a hypothetical country.
    • Students must understand and use relevant international laws and cases to develop highly complex argument for each side
    • Students must know every facet of case
    • Submit written memorial brief
    • Face grueling questions about case from panel of judges
  • In the Summit of the Americas, teams are assigned a hypothetical country within the OAS. Head delegates from each team then meet and present resolutions on predetermined topics in various committees.
    • Students must have knowledge of parliamentary rules and procedures
    • Submit written work
    • Display public speaking and debating skills
    • Must be able to hold to assigned country's agenda and real-life political position
  • Academic Research Conference
    • Students submit research-based papers
    • Focus on Inter-American relations and Latin American politics, global relations, history and economics

Joshua Hyles, the executive program director of ESMOAS, said, "Concordia has enjoyed many years of success competing in our program, under the guidance of Dr. Brent Burgess and Dr. Mike Garcia. This year proved to be exceptional, even by their high standards, as Concordia students represented their assigned countries with distinction and, moreover, acted as ideal student ambassadors for their university."

Human Rights Court: Winning Against the Odds

The IACHR moot court is the most difficult of competitions for undergraduates because it requires extensive brief writing and the development of very challenging oral arguments.

"Judges are frequently impressed by how bright and effective our students are at their writing and ability to answer questions," Burgess explained.

This is the fourth consecutive year Concordia University Texas has won the competition. CTX students have defeated challenging teams from universities around Texas and Louisiana, including Angelo State University, Texas State University, St. Mary's University and Baylor University.

For the IACHR Moot Court Competition, Concordia won:

  • Distinguished Written Memorial, as the State (Kyle Benford and Luke Alexander)
  • Outstanding Work for Written Memorial, as the Petitioner (Jenna Pryor and Truitt Baldwin)
  • Outstanding Team Overall (Kyle Benford and Luke Alexander)

Kyle Benford's teammate, Luke Alexander, could not compete because he was ill. "Benford argued both sides of the hypothetical case and carried the team to a first-place finish in the tournament round," Hyles explained.

Concordia's Victories at the Summit of the Americas

This year, Concordia represented the country of El Salvador and achieved many victories, including best resolution, best written brief and best oral argument.
Caleb Iverson received top-three award for writing and research in General Committee
CTX student delegates with Committee for Multidimensional Security recognized for outstanding networking and diplomacy

Additionally, Concordia University Texas now holds two of the organization's three officer positions. Caleb Iversen was elected as the secretary general for 2020, a role in which he will serve as the student leader of the entire summit. Shawn Matthijetz was also elected as the parliamentarian of the organization.

Annual Academic Conference

CTX senior Krista Gehlhausen, an alumna of the moot court competition, presented a paper at the conference. Her paper was among those chosen to be published by Cambridge University Scholars Press.

We congratulate these hard-working Concordia students on their recent successes!

To learn more about Concordia University Texas' Political Science program, visit our website, or contact admissions@concordia.edu.

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