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Organization of American States
17th St. & Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006, USA,
The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world. The OAS is the region's principal multilateral forum for strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, and confronting shared problems such as poverty, terrorism, illegal drugs and corruption. It plays a leading role in carrying out mandates established by the hemisphere's leaders through the Summits of the Americas.
With four official languages - English, Spanish, Portuguese and French - the OAS reflects the rich diversity of the hemisphere's peoples and cultures. It is made up of 35 member states: the independent nations of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The government of Cuba, a member state, has been suspended from participation since 1962; thus only 34 countries participate actively. Nations from other parts of the world participate as permanent observers, which allows them to closely follow the issues that are critical to the Americas.
The member countries set major policies and goals through the General Assembly, which gathers the hemisphere's ministers of foreign affairs once a year in regular session. Ongoing actions are guided by the Permanent Council, made up of ambassadors appointed by the member states.
Phone: (202) 458-3000
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