Pan American Week is marked every year on the week where April 14 falls and this year it will be held from to 20. The week aims to celebrate the Organization of American States (OAS), an organization formed to improve cooperation among its member states. The OAS has 34 member states, and most of these countries celebrate Pan American Day, while Pan American Week is primarily observed in the U.S. The week’s events take place in schools, colleges, and communities with parades, speeches, and discussions.
History of Pan American Week
Pan American Week is an annual celebration and both the week and the day are marked across countries in the American continent and all the member states of the Organization of the American States.
The Organization of American States was founded to improve cooperation among the member states and bring them all together in solidarity with each other. There are 34 member states of the OAS and all of these states are independent countries in the American Continent. When Panama was still under Colombian rule, the political and military leader Simón Bolívar suggested bringing the American countries together in a collective league. The meeting that resulted was eventually a failure. However, the idea stayed in people’s minds and came up again at the first International Conference of American States. At the Conference, among the countries that attended, 18 decided to form an International Union of American Republics. This organization was the precursor to the modern-day OAS.
The organization has its headquarters in Washington DC and has adopted a system of collective security, a determination to fight communism, and a treaty of reciprocal assistance. Today, the primary function of the OAS is to monitor elections, and audit the elections of member states when the elections are accused of being fraudulent. The organization is headed by a Secretary General.
Pan American Week timeline
The International Conference of American States takes place in January in Washington D.C.
Leaders of American states come together after the World War in agreement to stick together.
The American States protests communism.
President Trump declares Pan American Day and Pan American Week.
Pan American Week FAQs
What is Pan American Day in Honduras?
In Honduras, Pan American Day is celebrated as a national holiday on April 14 to honor the formation of the OAS.
Is the Organization of American States still active?
Yes, the OAS is active and primarily focuses on election monitoring for its member states.
Is Cuba in the OAS?
Cuba got banned from sending representatives to the OAS till 2009. When Fidel Castro died, they could send representatives to the OAS again.
How to Observe Pan American Week
Watch the celebrations across the continent
Pan American Week's highlights vary from speeches, parades, and other festivities across the continent. Watch how all the different member states celebrate this week.
Organize a parade
Get with your community leaders to organize a parade around the unity of the Americas. Keep it themed to include all the member states.
Learn about the OAS and its duties
Get yourself informed about the OAS to know the importance of this week. Make sure you share with your friends and family what you learn.
5 Surprising Facts About The Organization Of American States
The formation faced challenges
The killing of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a Colombian leader, delayed the switch from PAU to OAS.
It adopted the world’s first rights instrument
The OAS adopted the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
It has two sources of funding
The OAS has access to the funds for specific projects and the General Secretariat.
All member states host the General Assembly
Member states take turns hosting the General Assembly on a rotating basis.
Canada has an unusual relationship with OAS
Despite being a founding member, Canada did not join the OAS until the OAS was settled.
Why Pan American Week is Important
We want to celebrate unity
We love that the Americas have each other’s back. We want to celebrate the unity of the American continent this week.
We appreciate diversity
We think it’s great that so many countries with diverse cultures have come together to support each other. We want to appreciate the variety and diversity of cultures coming together.
We love parades
We love parades and love the excuse to participate or put one up. We think parades are a great way to signal the unity and strength of the Americas.
Pan American Week dates