Information for Observers

Thank you for your interest in attending the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition as an observer. Observers are invited to attend all Competition events, including the oral rounds, the receptions, and visits to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Inter-American Human Rights system, receive guidance on how to form your own team and prepare for future competitions, and network with law students, academics, legal professionals, and human rights activists from around the world.

Observer Eligibility

Individuals who are neither registered as competitors nor coaches may attend the Competition as observers. Generally, deans, professors, and other law school officials attend as observers to learn about the Competition model and how to integrate it into their curriculum. In order to participate in the Competition, observers must demonstrate a legitimate reason for wanting to attend, as well as convey how this Competition will benefit their education or career path.

Teams can only register a maximum of two observers. If a team wishes to register more than two observers, there should be a written request sent to the Technical Committee justifying the need for more than two observers to be registered. It will be at the Technical Committee’s discretion to authorize the registration. Observers do not submit Memorials or present oral arguments, and are not allowed to assist competing teams in any way. 

Observer Registration

Interested individuals may submit their application to attend as an observer on our registration page. You must include your resume or CV and a short paragraph describing why you want to attend. The Technical Committee will evaluate the applications and select the observers who will be participating in this year’s event. Once selected, you will be notified and asked to submit your registration fee.

Competition Costs for Observers

The registration fee for observers is US$250 and is non-refundable.

Observers are invited to stay on campus in the AU dormitories. Please look under “accommodations” on the left for updated prices. Once an observer has been accepted, he/she will receive information via email on making reservations.

In general, Competition organizers estimate that participation in the week long competitions costs approximately $700 per person, not including the cost of airfare.

Important Dates

April 18

Observer Registration Deadline

April 25

Observer Payment Deadline

May 18-23

Competition in Washington, D.C.

Frequently Asked Questions – Observers

Can I volunteer for the Competition?

Absolutely! We encourage Observers to take advantage of the many volunteer opportunities available through the Competition to get a more hands-on experience. Observers, in particular, are encouraged to serve as bailiffs, allowing them to actively participate in the oral rounds as timekeepers. If you are interested in volunteering, please see our Information for Volunteers page, or email the Competition coordinator directly.

When should I arrive at the Competition?

All observers should arrive at the Competition on the Sunday morning before the Competition begins. Check-in will be held from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm, at that time you will receive you Welcome Packets. That evening, we will have an opening ceremony at the law school building.

When and how do I pay?

For registration: Participants are strongly encouraged to pay with a credit card through online registration. We accept Visa and Master Card. We also accept bank transfers, money orders, and checks.

For housing: Housing at the American University dormitories is a separate office and, therefore, all housing payments must be directed to the Housing Officer. Housing forms require that you use a credit card.

Is the registration fee refundable?


How do I get a visa to attend the Competition?

Changing United States government regulations are making travel visas harder to get. It is extremely important that all participants start the application process as far in advance as possible. Backlogs at United States consulates are causing delays of weeks and months to schedule interviews.

Contact the local United States embassy and apply for a tourist visa as soon as possible. Competition staff can provide you with a letter to take to the interview to aid you in describing your objectives when in the United States. However, each visa applicant is personally responsible for providing all other pertinent information to the consulate in accordance with United States regulations. Contact the consular officer at the American Embassy in your country for more information.

To obtain a visa, you must present documentation with your full name (include all of your last names) and an explanation of how your trip will be funded (travel, food, accommodations, etc). If your school or workplace is paying for all or part of your trip, you should obtain an official letter from the institution stating their financial contribution.

Please allow plenty of time for processing United States visa applications.

If I come as an observer this year, can I compete on a team in the future?

Yes, students that attend the Competition as an Observer may compete as a Team Member in a future Competition so long as they fulfill other eligibility requirements for a Team Member (see rule 2.5).

Do I need to read the rules?

Yes, several rules pertain specifically to observers, so it is a good idea to understand what your responsibilities and limitations are.  Furthermore, reading the rules will give you a better idea of the overall flow of the Competition, thus enhancing your experience.