(Kansas City, Missouri) - Founded in 1948, the Organization of American States is the world's oldest regional organization, a group of 21 countries in the Western Hemisphere joined together to strengthen cooperation and advance common interests while recognizing the individual autonomy of each member nation.
Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, the U.S. representative to the OAS, discusses the importance of the organization in a presentation titled The United States and the Western Hemisphere: Challenges and Opportunities on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The idea of inter-American cooperation dates back to the 1820s when revolutionary Simón Bolívar envisioned a region "united in heart." In 1890 nations of the region formed the Commercial Bureau of American Republics, which evolved into the Pan American Union and later into the OAS.
Since 1948, the Organization of American States has expanded to include the nations of the English-speaking Caribbean and Canada, giving the OAS a broader perspective that encompasses the entire hemisphere.
On November 20, 2009, Carmen Lomellin was confirmed by the United States Senate as permanent U.S. representative to the Organization of American States, with the rank of ambassador.
During the Clinton Administration she served as White House liaison for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as director of that agency's Office of International Affairs. She was an advisor on Hispanic affairs to the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach.
The event is co-sponsored by the Pan-American Association of Kansas City.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.