Promoting Cooperation and Development in the Western Hemisphere

Integral development is extremely important to the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States. We hope that after reviewing this section of the website, you will have a better understanding for and appreciation of the ways in which the U.S. Mission to the OAS supports and envisions development in the Western Hemisphere.

The Organization of American States (OAS) conducts a significant amount of development work through various initiatives and programs – often as an extension of a political view or decision. OAS development programming ranges from offering academic scholarships to furthering trade liberalization and from encouraging tourism development to implementing sustainable environmental policies.

The Organization of American States’ approach to development work highlights cooperation programs. A guiding principle is that cooperation between member states will not only strengthen bonds, but also lead to improvements in many vital sectors. OAS-endorsed development programs aim to combat poverty, strengthen national capacities, and improve health and education standards. Please explore information on U.S. involvement in OAS development work through the links on the sidebar to your left.

Economic prosperity and sustainable development are essential foundations of stable democratic governments and are significant U.S. policy objectives in the Western Hemisphere. The development assistance cooperation programs allow the OAS Member States to advance in these fields.

By advancing Summit of the Americas and other high level mandates to promote economic growth, foster trade liberalization, and improve the quality of education in the hemisphere, the United States is able to demonstrate its commitments to the region and improve overall economic conditions.

The U.S Permanent Mission to the OAS is dedicated to cooperative development throughout the hemisphere and is proud of the accomplishments that the OAS has made thus far.

Social Development, Labor, and Employment

The United States Mission to the Organization of American States is extremely involved in developing hemispheric programs on the topics of Social Development, Labor, and Employment. To implement policies, the U.S. Mission cooperates with countries, NGOs, and other organizations through several OAS mechanisms and committees, which already exist.

The OAS Department of Social Development and Employment provides assistance to Member States on their efforts to advance on development with equity, through the promotion of policies and programs of poverty reduction, decent work and employment creation. The Department fulfills its goal by promoting dialogue between the member states, promoting partnerships for development and employment, and coordinating with other sectors of society.

The United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American states is always investigating new ways to invest in hemispheric programs that focus on science, technology and innovation. Through OAS networks and meetings, the U.S. Mission engages in a wide variety of activities and programs in these sectors.

From an administrative perspective, the OAS Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI)works with Member States to strengthen policies and strategies for science, technology, engineering, and innovation. The Department also serves as the Secretariat for the Inter-American Commission of Science and Technology, created to formulate policies for scientific and technological development. The Commission’s objective is to coordinate, follow-up, and evaluate the partnership for development activities in the science and technology sector. The Department also organizes hemispheric ministerial-level meetings on science, technology, and innovation.

The promotion of education in the Western Hemisphere is a top priority for the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (USOAS). Along with the other OAS member states, USOAS recognizes that education is essential to strengthening democratic institutions and the Mission is committed to promoting a culture of democracy and success through formal and non-formal education. To implement policies and programs, USOAS cooperates with member states, NGOs, and other international organizations through several OAS mechanisms and committees.

The Organization of American States explains that: “Culture and cultural diversity is a fundamental element of an organization like the OAS whose 35 member countries span across the two continents located in the western hemisphere. Bringing cultures together while preserving the integrity of each unique culture is important to fostering cooperation and the continued success of the OAS. The OAS has many programs designed to expand understanding and awareness of its member’s cultures as well as safeguarding their distinctive heritages.” For more specific information on the OAS role in cultural promotion and protection, please see their website.

Culture is extremely important to the United States and one manifestation of this is in US support for OAS development work on culture. The United States always sends exemplary delegations to the Ministerial meetings on Culture and other related meetings. The United States also fully participates in many related events and sponsors a host of development programs in culture.

Academic Scholarships

The Organization of American States provides for a limited number of academic scholarships each year. These OAS-funded scholarships are awarded to students who will undertake undergraduate or graduate studies that lead to a degree and/or graduate research at a university or higher learning institution in a member State. Studies may be carried out by on-site or by distance education or a combination of both, and must always be undertaken on a full-time basis. The scholarship is awarded for a maximum of two academic years.

To read more on OAS Academic Scholarships and the application requirements, please see the OAS website.

Professional Development Scholarships

Professional development scholarships are also available through the OAS. These scholarships are granted to persons who meet the requirements for professional development through courses in specialized areas of training. They cannot be applied to study within an applicant’s country of origin. These scholarships are organized through cost sharing arrangements with OAS Member States and other partners. These unique training and educational opportunities help to meet the development needs of OAS Member States by providing a vital investment in human capital. Participants return to their home countries and pass what they have learned on to others, thus maximizing the benefits of the program.

The Leo S. Rowe Fund

The Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund was endowed through a bequest from its namesake, who served as Director General of the Pan American Union – the forerunner of the OAS- from 1920 until his death in 1946. The Fund grants student interest-free loans (up to $15,000) to citizens of Latin American and Caribbean countries to help them finance their undergraduate, graduate and professional studies in the United States. Recipients commit themselves to providing the services of their training to their home countries. The U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS strongly supports the work of the Leo S. Rowe Fund and is proud to welcome all recipients to the United States.

Who Can Apply

Undergraduate or graduate students from Latin American or Caribbean OAS member countries who are studying or have been admitted for studies in the United States to a program leading to a university degree in an institution of higher learning accredited by the corresponding regional or national council, and students and professionals who are either currently pursuing or wish to pursue advanced studies, research, or technical activities in the arts or sciences in institutions in the United States and who are able to demonstrate their need for assistance, the usefulness of their studies, and their ability to successfully complete them.

Please find more information on the Leo S. Rowe Fund listed on their website.

E-portal (On-Line Courses)

In 2001, the Educational Portal of the Americas was created in response to professionals’ needs to continue their education. As a result, a Virtual Classroom (PDF 98 KB) was created and it has grown to include more than sixty expert tutors who contribute to deliver high quality online courses. This interactive, virtual environment allows users to participate in training and educational activities and services similar to what one would receive at a traditional academic institution. The Portal was fundedin part by a U.S. grant.

For over 25 years, the Organization of American States (OAS) has helped member states incorporate environmental considerations into development projects. The biggest boost for the OAS’ environmental efforts came at the 1996 Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Santa Cruz Declaration and Plan of Action gave the OAS a strong mandate to coordinate follow-up to those decisions.

The United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States is integrally involved in projects and activities in the sustainable development sector. The U.S. Missions works closely in this field with the OAS Department of Sustainable Development (DSD), which supports OAS Member States in the design and implementation of policies, programs and projects for sustainable development. The Mission recognizes the value of the DSD; numerous other international development institutions have also recognized the organization’s in-house expertise and leadership role. The divisions of the Department comprise five general thematic areas:

  • energy and climate change;
  • natural hazard risk management;
  • integrated water resources management;
  • biological diversity; and,
  • environmental law and policy.

Trade and economic competiveness are two further focuses of the development work of the U.S. Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (USOAS). The U.S. Mission works in these fields in conjunction with the OAS Department of Trade and Tourism, which supports the efforts of Member States to expand trade opportunities, increase competitiveness, and encourage economic integration in order to reduce poverty and create jobs in the Western Hemisphere. From organizing private sector forums to running training programs for trade specialists in the hemisphere, the department is actively engaged in outreach, dialogue, and trade capacity building. The Department’s Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) provides Member States with the latest data and information on trade agreements, investment treaties and national regulations, as well as business directories and other sources of contacts.

Pan American Development Foundation

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a leader in economic development, enhancing civil society, and responding to natural disasters. Created in 1962 through a unique agreement between the Organization of American States and the private sector, PADF’s key to success is its ability to develop and maintain a network comprised of governments, companies, and local organizations.

PADF brings together public, private and multinational organizations to generate sustainable growth along four primary crossing points along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  By improving state presence in this relatively ungoverned territories, improving security by bringing together public authorities and involving regional groups in resolving long-running conflicts, PADF has helped the Dominican Republic and Haiti to set the conditions for economic growth. PADF has also supported bi-national conflict mitigation and economic development efforts along the border.

U.S. Department of Labor

The United States Permanent Mission to the OAS often works with the U.S. Department of Labor. In particular, The U.S. Mission often finds itself collaborating with the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).

ILAB has development programs all throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. For a list of their projects and reports, please visit their website.

The U.S. Department of Labor also regularly participates in the Inter-American Conferences of Ministers of Labor. The XVI Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML) was held on 6-8 October, 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Numerous members of the U.S. Department of Labor attended this conference and the head of the U.S. delegation was the Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis.

U.S. Department of Education

Like the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S Department of Educationcontributes to many OAS initiatives and activities. Among other things, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education attend ministerial-level Education meetings and other related conferences.

Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank, the oldest and largest regional bank in the world, is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its loans and grants help finance development projects and support strategies to reduce poverty, expand growth, increase trade and investment, promote regional integration, and foster private sector development and modernization of the State. The IDB Group is composed of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). The IIC focuses on support for small and medium-sized businesses, while the MIF promotes private sector growth through grants and investments.

Pan American Health Organization

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), created in 1902, has served as the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) since 1948. It coordinates hemispheric efforts to combat disease and promote physical and mental health. It has contributed significantly to eradicating communicable diseases and promoting improved sanitation and health conditions. The United States in a proud member of PAHO.