The Ibero-American Institute of the University of Salamanca in western Spain and the Organization of American States, or OAS, starting on Monday in this city will offer lectures to train 70 election observers for Latin America.

The School of Electoral Observation will offer a series of lectures from June 17-21 and more than 20 professors from Europe, Latin America and the United States are slated to participate.

The aim of the school is to train potential observers in the tools needed to participate in an electoral observation mission and improve the way the missions are organized and run, both internationally and domestically.

Among the participants will be Kevin Casas-Zamora of Costa Rica, the OAS secretary of political affairs, who will present the inaugural lecture entitled "50 years of electoral observation: an apprenticeship for democracy."

Also participating will be Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, the director of the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation at the OAS, and Isabel Menchon, the head of the Spanish Foreign Ministry's Electoral Observation Service, along with members of Mexico's Federal Election Institute and the U.S. Carter Center.

"Electoral observation is one of the main contributions of the OAS to the democracies of the region," and thus it is seeking to "professionalize this task," Muñoz-Pogossian said.

The school is an "effort to offer comprehensive and professional training in diverse observation methodologies, monitoring of mass media and election campaigns, financing of political parties, electoral governance and the use of new technologies in elections," Ibero-American Institute head Flavia Freidenberg said. EFE