Belizean government to protect wildlife species and people in declaration to conserve the critical Maya Forest Corridor
Leading conservation organizations, including Global Wildlife Conservation, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and World Wildlife Fund, alongside The Belize Zoo, Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Field School, and the University of Belize and its Environmental Research Institute, have joined together to applaud the government of Belize for declaring new plans to protect the Maya Forest Corridor – a critical link in Central America’s largest forest and a vital wildlife pathway.
Official legal protection of Belize’s Maya Forest Corridor is expected in the near future as the government and conservation partners work with key stakeholders, including communities and the private sector, to secure the corridor’s future.
Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize Minister of State within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration, stated, “We recognize that the window of opportunity for us to secure connectivity in the Maya Forest Corridor is closing fast. A team of local and international conservation biologists and professionals recognize the importance of this, and shoulder-to-shoulder are providing valuable support to secure the integrity of this area.”
Figueroa continued, “One thing that has identified us as a country, as a people, is a desire to maintain and to protect the natural beauty of this country. The government, and my ministry in particular, stands committed to enshrine in legislation whatever we need to do to maintain the integrity of the Maya Forest Corridor well into the foreseeable future.”
The Maya Forest Corridor, which is in central Belize, serves as a gateway connecting and ensuring the survival of many wildlife species. As highlighted in the recent United Nations global biodiversity report, wild habitat and its protection, including that of the Maya Forest Corridor, is crucial for the well-being of people, providing sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services, including clean air and water security, healthy soil for agriculture, and drought and flood control for local communities.
Yet, without protection, the Maya Forest Corridor is critically imperiled, having already been reduced by more than 65 percent over the past decade due largely to deforestation for large-scale agricultural developments, including sugarcane. Since 2011, the Maya Forest Corridor has faced deforestation rates almost four times the national average, and major clearings in the last few months indicate that without action like that announced this week, Central America’s largest forest block will be severed from its nearest forest block to the south, the Maya Mountain Massif.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, the University of Belize’s President, stated, “With a shrinking environment for Belize’s wildlife, I applaud this initiative by the Government of Belize for giving our diverse and native wildlife, our environment and our people an opportunity to thrive. This is a significant and vital step in Belize’s development for generations to come.” He went on to note, “I particularly want to applaud the University’s Environmental Research Institute, who has been at the forefront of educating, researching and promoting sustainable use, management and protection of Belize’s environment and natural resources.”
The Maya Forest Corridor is home to the iconic jaguar; the critically endangered and culturally significant Central American river turtle, known locally as hicatee; the critically endangered Central American spider monkey; and the endangered Baird’s tapir, among many other animals that require connected forest to move across their habitat in search of food and breeding opportunities.
Cut down to a mere 5-6 mile stretch, the corridor is one of the last remaining squeeze points for jaguars to enter the Selva Maya to the north and to move south to the rest of Central and South America. It is also the only area connecting Belize’s two Jaguar Conservation Units: The Maya Mountain Massif in Southwest Belize and the rest of the Selva Maya to the north, which extends into Mexico and Guatemala. Losing the genetic connectivity of the Maya Forest Corridor would be a step toward extinction for the jaguar and many other terrestrial wildlife species with cultural significance in Belize.
The wetlands of the Maya Forest Corridor also have an important role to play as a climate change refuge and flood retention zone. Unlike some Central American countries that have opened their doors to drastic deforestation, by securing this corridor, Belize is maintaining climate resilience for its people and animal species and securing a position as a climate leader in the region.
On the tailwinds of the government’s declaration, this coalition of non-governmental partners is committed to the protection of the Maya Forest Corridor and is continuing to secure resources needed to protect the critical 10,000 hectares of corridor in perpetuity.
Elma Kay, science director and co-founder of the University of Belize Environmental Research Institute, stated, “There’s never been a threat so imminent to an area that is so elemental to the long-term persistence and health of generations of wildlife and people in Belize and the Selva Maya. Protecting the Maya Forest Corridor is urgent but still within reach if we work together, and the government has taken the important first step to do so this week.”
The University of Belize, Belize’s national and premier degree-granting University, conducted its Twenty-Sixth Commencement Ceremony on June 15th, 2019 at a colorful and packed Belize Civic Center. It conferred degrees with pomp and ceremony on 1041 students at the Associates, Bachelor and Master levels from the following faculties:
Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA): 289
Faculty of Nursing, Allied health & Social Work (FNAHSW): 182
Faculty of Science and Technology (FST): 236
Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS): 334
This weekend’s commencement exercise was also historic as the University conferred sixteen (16) MBA Degrees to its first cohort of graduate students. This Master’s program was launched eighteen (18) months ago through the University’s Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS).
In his Presidential Address, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat reminded the grandaunts to “continue to equip yourself to follow your dreams. Graduation is not the end but the beginning!” He further added, “the road ahead is long and winding, but with the preparations [UB has] given you… you are positioned to make the right decisions and navigate your journey so that it is easier and successful bringing you to the destination of your dreams.”
Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, President of Valdosta State University, was the Commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. Dr. Carvajal started his address by recognizing UB as a first rate institution of higher learning in Belize, capable of educating a new generation of Belizean leaders. He went on to encourage the graduates stating, “You are the outcome of all that has been done to turn Belize and its national university into the leaders that they are today; and because you have done your part to earn your degree… there is no limit to what you can be.” Concluding, he noted “As was said earlier, graduation is not a finish line. It is a starting line… Therefore, work hard; become leaders in your career and help Belize to take its next leap into a prosperous country for your children and future generations to come. Strive to become not only the class that changed UB or even Belize, strive to become the class the changed the world.”
A momentous moment at the ceremony saw Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of UB’s Board of Trustees, bestowing its first Honorary Doctoral Degree to His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize. He was recognized for his leadership in Belize’s educational, public service and cultural spheres. As noted by the President, “I am delighted that the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, was chosen for this well-deserved honor and that he accepted.”
The University also awarded the Oak Foundation of Switzerland with its inaugural Outstanding Philanthropy Award in recognition for their significant contribution to the University. The Vice President of the University, Dr. Mariot Simon, noted that the Oak Foundation was selected for their significant financial contributions to UB, namely its Environmental Research Institute (ERI), and because they “share in UB’s mission to build capacity and dignity for Belizeans and for research and service to national development.”
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the administration, staff and faculty of the University of Belize, the President of the University of Belize, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat would like to once again congratulate all graduates on reaching this milestone. The University is incredibly proud of each of you and we wish you all the best in everything you do!
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and University of Belize (UB) formalised their relationship by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 30th of May, 2019. This partnership will see the two institutions develop joint training, research projects and technical programs to enable knowledge transfer and research collaboration focused on delivering world-class marine science for the benefit of local, regional and global communities.
The signing of the MoU formalises an already positive and productive partnership. The two institutions have been working in close partnership for the last 18 months under the UK government-funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CMEP), which has seen extensive habitat mapping and river sampling, with the objective of developing a greater understanding of the complex relationship between changing uses of land and how these changes affect the coastal ocean, from which the country derives a significant proportion of its income.
Both the NOC and UB recognise the crucial role of marine science in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the sustainable use of clean energy, minerals and other resources, protecting people and property from natural disasters, wealth creation, environmental protection and sustainability, and enhancing the quality of life for the people of the country.
Professor Kevin Horsburgh, the NOC’s Chief Scientist for International Development, commented: “The NOC is committed to forging mutually beneficial international partnerships with other forward-thinking institutes. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our already positive relationship with the University of Belize, to assist them in achieving their ambition to develop Belize into a centre of excellence for the region, to advance marine science for the benefit of the region, and ultimately for society at large.”
According to UB’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, “A partnership such as this is a powerful and necessary one for both UB and Belize. As the national university, this partnership will enable the UB to build its marine research capacity and will assist in providing a supportive learning environment such as laboratories and technology transfer, including training for students, faculty and staff. More importantly, it will enable the University to build on its intellectual stature as a repository for the country’s knowledge so as to improve policymaking that treats with our country’s natural resources, especially our natural environment.”
Collaboration will focus on both marine technologies and expertise, as well as scientific knowledge on coastal protection, water quality and sustainable environmental practices. Outcomes from collaborative multidisciplinary research will address some of Belize’s current marine challenges, including sustainable management of marine resources and marine pollution.
Students Present Their Research Findings at Sixth Biology and Chemistry Symposium
The Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) hosted its sixth Annual Biology and Chemistry Symposium on May 17, 2019. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat complimented the students, faculty and staff of the FST for the excellent work in their projects and noted that most of them fit within the context of climate change, environmental science and waste management issues. He further stated that this is the century for the green revolution and graduates from Biology and Chemistry programs in particular would become the leaders to help treat with matters relating to the green environment and the sustainability of our development. He further advised that they should continue to pursue their studies at the Master and even at the Doctoral level and to publish the results of their research with their academic Supervisors. He reminded them that UB will be launching the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) by Research for the new academic year, and some who are so motivated, may wish to apply for admission.
The keynote address at the symposium was delivered by UB alumnus Ms. Ruth Gutierrez. There was also a research poster competition where Clinton Cho, Wilmer Guerra and Sabrina Blanco were awarded first, second and third place respectively. The prizes were sponsored by Belize Vector and Ecology Center. Congratulations to all!
UB Attends Closing Ceremony for EU Project on Productivity Enhancement of Banana Farms
The President, represented the University of Belize at this impressive closing ceremony of the project entitled “Productivity enhancement of Banana farms through integrated soil fertility management in the Banana Belt of Belize”, held in Independence Village at the Banana Growers Association (BGA) on May 16, 2019.
The closing ceremony was meant to celebrate the successful completion of this 18-month project funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and executed by partners like the University of Belize and the BGA. The ceremony was addressed by Mr. Nicolaus Hansmann from the European Union, Mr. Elroy Foreman spoke on behalf of BGA, and Mr. Jose Novelo represented the Government of Belize. Dr. Gabriel Rodríguez Marques, Dr. Abimbola Abiola, and Mr. Derek Charles, Dr. Chaney St. Martin and Mr. Lloyd Day represented IICA. In preparation for the ceremony President also met with Dr. Gabriel Rodríguez Marques, representative of the IICA delegation in Belize at the UB.
The University of Belize came in for considerable commendation because of its work in the refurbishment of the Micropropagation Laboratory at the Central Farm campus and most importantly for delivering 3, 500 plantlets last year to two farms in Independence. The bananas from these plants have been harvested. They are Cavendish bananas (Williams variety) and have been well accepted by BGA. President Sankat raised in his speech the matter on the sustainability of this project from UB’s perspective and challenged the BGA to enter into a contractual arrangement with UB to supply approximately 75, 000 plantlets next year at an agreed price. He also commended the UB Central Farm staff especially those from the Micropropagation Laboratory lead by Mr. Marco Cordova for their dedication to this Banana project – another success story for UB.
H.E. Remus Chen, Ambassador of Republic of China (Taiwan), Delivers Presidential Lecture at UB
H.E. Remus Chen presented his lecture entitled “Friendship of 30 Years and Beyond” to students, faculty and staff on May 3, 2019. He elaborated on the past, present and future of the strong relationships between ROC (Taiwan) and Belize.
UB Lady Black Jaguars Are ATLIB Football Champions for the Fourth Time
On Friday morning of March 6th the Lady Black Jaguars left Belmopan en route for the Island of San Pedro to play in their 4th straight ATLIB female Football Nationals. Four teams had qualified to play in the Nationals. Saint John’s Junior College (SJJC) from the Central Belize City, Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College (CEMJC) from the North, Independence Junior College (IJC) from the South and University of Belize (UB) from the West.
UB played their first match against EMJC Friday evening at 4:00 pm which they won by a score of 3 goals to 0 with 1 goal coming from Camryn Howard and 2 goals from Sabrina Eiley. This game put the Lady Black Jaguars in the finals. The second female game was between SJJC and IJC in which IJC came out with the 1 to 0 victory over SJJC and were going to match up against the UB lady Black Jaguars at 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon for the championship match.
The game was a very exciting game to watch as both teams had numerous squandered opportunities at goal without any luck in regulation time. The game was then going to be decided by penalty kicks where 5 players from each team were selected by their coaches and would get a chance at scoring a goal to put their team closer to a victory.
UB won the toss and selected to go first and put the pressure on the opponents by scoring the first goal. The UB goal keeper Delta Flores increased that pressure by stopping the first penalty shot that went her way. At the end of the penalty shootout, UB had scored 3 goals and IJC 2 which gave UB the victory and their 4th straight ATLIB Female National Title. The 3 penalty goals came from Ada Cordova, Sabrina Eiley and Libney Mojica. Ada Cordoba was named the National’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The President, Vice President, Dean of Student Affairs and the Sports & Recreation Department congratulate our Lady Black Jaguars and their coach, Mr. Joseph Waight on their fine win.
Meet our Lady Black Jaguars:
Isolene Bailey, Ada Cordova, Camryn Howard, Libni Mojica, Kathian Juan, Delta Flores, Ruth Pinedo, Julia Puerto, Jasmin Andrades, Esmeralda Ramirez, Sabrina Eiley, Myra Sibrian, Leydi Pagoada, Mildred Calderon, Nayeli Waight, Yvette Garcia and Yazmin Mena.
Males Win Relathon and Look Forward to 20-20
Prizes were presented at the ceremony held at the ITVET Compound in Belize City, where there was also entertainment and refreshments available.
The President commended all the athletes who participated in the long distance racing event, the sponsors who supported and of course the many staff who volunteered and worked to make the annual event a success.
UB Joins in International Day of Forests Celebration
The University of Belize (UB) joined the global community on March 21st, 2019 to celebrate the International Day of Forests. Under the theme “Learn to Love Forests,” the University held its 7th inaugural and tree planting ceremony with the Minister of State with responsibility for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Dr. Omar Figueroa, as the Key note speaker.
As noted by its theme, this year’s celebration emphasized forestry education to achieve the goal of sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation; and at UB, also this is particularly important as it relates to embedding our young people with a sense of responsibility and love for our country’s forests and natural environment.
The Faculty of Science and Technology held events to commemorate Earth Day and Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global movement aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of natural resources to our daily activities. It highlights the issue of climate change, its causes and effects and what we as individuals can do to decrease our carbon footprint. On March 30th at 8:30pm – 9:30pm, the University of Belize along with the residents of the City of Belmopan joined the global community in commemorating Earth Hour 2019.
The night was filled with reflections about the goods and services we receive from our natural resources as well as how anthropogenic activities are degrading our ecosystems. Speakers including the University President reminded students and community residents that our country, Belize, also depends on its natural wealth as an income earner through the tourism sector. The President congratulated the students from Faculty of Science and Technology and the faculty and staff who supported the event including Ms. Cecy Castillo and Dr. Pio Saqui.
Then, on April 12, UB held an early Earth Day where environmentalists spoke to the students on the importance of action. The speakers included Janelle Chanona from OCEANA Belize, Photographer Tony Rath and Jamal Galves who has been instrumental in manatee conservation.
Mexican Team Visits UB to Speak about Partnering in Agriculture
The Belizean Ambassador to Mexico, H.E. Oliver Del Cid, based in City of Mexico, Mexico brought a delegation of Mexican personnel as well as some representatives from the Belizean agricultural sector including Mr. Andrew Harrison, Chief Agriculture Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture to a meeting with UB including the Central Farm Campus to enquire on the training needs for agriculture in Belize that may be delivered by Central Farm and the Faculty of Science and Technology. There was consensus that one of the pressing needs for Belize is to create new value addition to our primary agricultural production through the use of food science and technology. Urgent assistance for training of small scale food processors was one area that was highlighted.
President attends Travellers’ Launch of Don Omario’s
The President congratulated Travellers for putting another fine Caribbean rum on the global map and thanked them for their steady support to the University of Belize.
Preparations are Underway for the Fifth Binational Research Seminar
The Fifth Binational Seminar Mexico-Belize will be held in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico on October 23-25, 2019. The theme will be “Water as a strategic resource: multidisciplinary perspectives for a shared region”. The planning team met on March 25, 2019 in ECOSUR, Chetumal to finalize the Call for Papers and other logistics. Those interested in presenting papers should send an abstract as soon as possible to Mr. Arnulfo Kantun of the Office of Institution Advancement at email@example.com.
President meets with Dr. Ismael Hoare
President Sankat met with Dr. Ismael Hoare, former Provost of the University and now Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, USA. They spoke on collaborative prospects between the two universities in areas of mutual research.
Safety and Security Forum with Commissioner of Police
Students from the History Club organized a Safety and Security Forum at the Belmopan Campus to sensitize students on the importance of security on March 28, 2019. The Keynote Speaker was Commissioner of Police Mr. Chester Williams who emphasized to students the role everyone has to play in safety and security. He also assured students that he will do his part in ensuring that the laws are enforced so as to lessen the risk factors that lead violence.
Presentations were also made by Mr. John Salam, Ms. Tanya Santos, Ms. Michelle Carrasco, and Ms. Lynmara Rosado.
UB Lecturer Honored: 2019 Outstanding Woman Awardee, Ms. Raisa Pipersburgh!
UB’s President – Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Vice President – Dr. Mariot Simon and Dr. Bernard Watler – Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences join the entire UB Community in extending our congratulations to Ms. Pipersburgh on her remarkable recognition.
Divergent Discussion on ICJ
The National Student Union invited different speakers to UB where each one presented on their views of Belize going to the International Court of Justice that was held on March 27, at the Jaguar Auditorium.
UB student Kevin Berganza is the current President of the National Student Union.
Belizeans Present Researches on Belize’s Security
The University of Belize hosted the Second Belize National Research Conference on April 3-4, 2019. The conference was held under the theme “Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities, and Threats”. The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez of the Jose Marti Institute in Cuba.
The University of Belize was represented by Dr. Christopher DeShield, Dr. Philip Castillo, Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Ms. Ivory Kelly, Osvaldo Cantun and Viola Tuyud.
Applying Mathematics in the Real World
The fourth Math Symposium entitled “Mathematics in the Real World” was held on April 2, 2019 at the Jaguar Auditorium. The objectives of the Symposium were to:
(a) Emphasize the fact that Mathematics is applicable to so many facets of our lives.
(b) Highlight current Mathematical research being done in Belize and elsewhere.
(c) Inspire faculty, students and the general community to engage in Mathematics-related research/careers.
The President explained in his address the importance of knowing mathematics in every day life and congratulated the Chair, Mr. Steven Lewis and the Faculty for the their efforts.
Spanish Students Celebrate Hispanic Day
Students in the different Spanish level courses commemorated Hispanic Day with songs, dances, music, food and art on March 28, 2019.
The Psychology of Learning Exhibition
The Psychology of Learning class of the University of Belize hosted its Symposium on Thursday, April 25, 2019 on UB’s Bookstore Verandah. The key organizer of the event was Lecturer Douglas Morrison.
The symposium is an outreach community activity where students create presentations and displays on various learning theories and strategies used in classrooms. Topics that were displayed included: Classical Conditioning, Instrumental/Operant Conditioning, Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, Edward Thorndike’s Theory of Connectionism, Gestalt’s Theory, Benjamin Bloom’s Types of Learning and Retention in Learning.
International Students Host Cultural Fair
The Regional Language Center helds its annual international Multicultural fair on April 4, 2019. The students of the many Central American countries and Colombia, Mexico, Haiti and Republic of China (Taiwan). provided the audience with a taste of their home countries’ food, music, dress and dances.
Chemistry Students visit UQROO
The University of Belize (UB) has close ties with the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) through collaborative efforts via the UB RLC center and through various activities such as the Mexico-Belize Binational Seminar. On March 29th, UQROO opened up its doors to provide a tour to UB’s first Bachelor’s in Chemistry (BCHM) cohort of students. As part of their programme, the BCHM students are being taught courses of various specialties to expose them to the vast array of possibilities available in applied chemistry. Students take courses such as Food, Soil and Forensics Chemistry. The visit was arranged to give the students a peek at what is going on in their neighbouring country, and UQROO in this field.
After arriving at the University, UB students were first given a tour of the library and laboratory facilities on the main campus.
Dra Patricia Fragoso, a professor at UQROO, then spoke at length to students about the work she is doing on soils. She is particularly interested in the biodiversity of edaphic organisms in the Mesoamerican (Mexico, Belize and Guatemala) Biological Corridor. Students were given a tour of her labs and a glimpse of the work she and her students are involved in.
Students were then escorted to Forensics Lab at UQROO’s Health Science Division. There, they were given a tour of the facilities as well as demonstrations of some of the tests done on samples. Students were also shown the various instruments used in the lab including an IR spectrometer and a GC-Mass Spectrometer.
It is hoped that in the future, we will be able to have closer ties between the science departments of the two Universities so that our students have greater access to the opportunities in research and career building available in this field.
UB, NICH and Cuba Meet on Forging a Partnership
UB was pleased to partner with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) in Dr. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez of the Jose Marti Institute in Cuba at the second Belize National Research Conference. They also welcomed Dr. Rodriguez together with the Ambassador of Cuba, H.E. Lissette Perez Perez to a meeting along with members of the History department so as to forge collaboration links with Cuban universities especially in the area of Belizean, Cuban and Central American History.
UB and NSCC International Explore Partnership in GIS and Coastal Management
Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), which was represented by Mr. Michael Purcell, Academic Chair, School of Trades and Technology and Mr. Zoran Kondali, Manager, NSCC International, visited the University of Belize to explore partnership opportunities primarily related to GIS and coastal management. NSCC has extensive research and teaching experience and expertise in GIS that will be valuable in the implementation of the Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat was joined by Dr. Santos Chicas and Mr. Jair Valladarez from the Faculty of Science and Technology.
UB Conducted Workshop on Multispectral Remote Sensing
The University of Belize conducted a 3-day workshop in collaboration with the Forest Department and Vancouver Island University on LIDAR and Multispectral Remote Sensing that train 16 persons from Government, Non-Government and Education institutions in an effort to build national capacity in the utilization of these technologies.
President meets with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)and Attends the SAGE Workshop
Dr. Linda Cooke and her colleague Ms. Milica Njegovan from College and Institutes Canada met with Professor Sankat on April 9, 2019. Dr. Cooke presented to the President the draft proposals for supporting Belize in terms of Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE).
The President was subsequently invited to a validation workshop in Barbados to help prepare proposals with the collaboration of the Institutes for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) through the Ministry of Education (MOE). Dr. Margarita Gomez from the MOE also attended. The President noted that the workshop was very focused and hopefully will bring new opportunities to Belize, UB and Central Farm Campus in particular. UB would be able to benefit in preparing skills training to support climate smart agriculture and food processing for example.
We expect to hear more about SAGE and the final proposals for Belize in the months ahead.
Dr. Enriquez Participated in the International Dean’s Course
Dr. Sherlene Enriquez-Savery of the Faculty of Science and Technology participated in the International Dean’s Course, Latin America 2018/2019. The training course is part of the DIES programme (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies) which is jointly coordinated by The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the Universities of Saarland (Germany) and Alicante (Spain) for Latin America since 2001. The course consisted of three modules and a series of webinars.
Module 1 (35 hours): 24 to 28 September 2018 in Saarbrücken, Germany
Module 2 (37.5 hours): 01 to 05 October 2018 in Alicante, Spain
Module 3 (35 hours): 25 to 29 March 2019 in Lima, Peru
Module I and 2 covered the issues Strategic Planning, Financial Management, University-Industry Cooperation, Internationalization, Quality Management, Research Management, and Human Resources Management. Module 3 focused more on soft skills such as Communication Skills and Networking, Media Strategy, Leadership and Diversity Management.
Participants were required to submit and defend a Strategic Action Plan for their respective Faculties at the end of the course.
FMSS Holds Ninth Research Conference
On April 25th, 2019, the University of Belize’s Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) once again demonstrated research as the imperative to foster innovation, growth and social progress when it held its 9th Annual Research Conference, under the theme ‘Engaging Mind, Empowering Success.’ Notable research presentations included:
• Impact of Microfinance on entrepreneurial development in Belize
• Alcoholism at the University of Belize in Punta Gorda
• Social Security and Belmopan market day vendors
• Relevance of B. Sc in Hotels and Resorts
• The enemy within: Selective governance practices, Belize Greatest Security Threat
Students and faculty members presented practical and policy oriented research on a range of issues and topics of national importance, revealing just how deeply contextualized development is; that is, how it is largely based in particular sectors, in particular geographies, in particular skillsets and capacities, in particular networks and in particular industries. In other words, the University demonstrated, through its Research Symposium, that development isn’t simply about investing in education and leaving it to the markets. Instead, development in its broader context is focusing on how to build capability in particular spaces to achieve desired outcomes.
Dr. Castillo Analyses GOB’s Budget for 2019-2020
Dr. Philip Castillo, Asssistant Professor in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, presented an analyses of the Government’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020. The students also had an opportunity to ask questions and suggestions on where the budget could be balanced.
Marketing Students in Belmopan Hold Expo
The Marketing Students of the Belmopan Campus demonstrated their creativity, packaging, and marketing skills when they sold their products at the Belmopan market on April 25, 2019. The students were guided by their lecturer Ms. Gayle Ozaeta.
UB Monument – Tourism Marketing class project
Introduction to Tourism Marketing class project of “a UB monument” at the Belize City campus is now completed. The students definitely gained knowledge and hands-on experience in the areas of: teamwork, strategic planning, budgeting, leadership, civic pride, marketing, social duties and responsibility to name a few in building this monument. The students were guided by their lecturer Ms. Eda Chang-Arzu.
We look forward to having our UB community and visitors enjoy our new monument and President Sankat expressed his warm congratulations to Ms. Arzu on this excellent initiative and fine achievement at the Belize City Campus.
Overseas Academic Training Supports Belize Scientists Studying The Aquatic Environment
Two University of Belize scientists have recently completed an intensive two-week programme of training in the UK, to enhance the capability of the University of Belize to study the aquatic environment.
This training forms part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme, which aims to help Commonwealth Small Island Developing States make the most of their natural maritime advantages, to enable sustainable economic growth and alleviate poverty.
Some of the intended outcomes of this training include supporting Dr Joaquin Urbina and Ms Esthersita Hernandez from the National University of Belize, as they investigate the impact of land management on water quality in the Belize River watershed.
Hosted by the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), this intensive programme involved laboratory-based training around ocean acidification, water quality, and microplastics, as well as training in land cover mapping and statistical programming.
When asked about their Fellowship experience, Dr Urbina said “This is a powerful relationship for Belize’s National University. The training I received in state of the art instrumentation and research skills will allow me to better inform policy at the highest level in Belize, and strengthen the research capacity of the nation”.
Ms Hernandez commented “Working with the CEH and NOC teams has not only allowed me to see the scientific process come to life, but has also provided essential laboratory instrumentation experience to execute my thesis project, and advance further research at UB [The University of Belize]. A partnership such as this between the University of Belize and NOC/CEH is a powerful and necessary one for Belize, a young nation in the research field at a time when research is desperately needed for improving policymaking concerning our natural resources”.
IT Students Prove their Knowledge and Skills During Internship
The Department of Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology carried out its internship program this semester and saw 23 Associates students (CMPS2992-Project) and 14 Bachelor students (CMPS4992-Professional Practice) successfully complete the courses. The associate’s course offers students a chance to gain real world working experience in various IT related areas, some of which included, junior developer, network administrator, and computer technicians among others. The students were placed at various host organizations for work over 9 weeks; every Tuesday and Thursdays.
The professional practice course at the bachelor level is more rigid and requires students to perform full time jobs, as would a regular employee of the host organization. Students work over 12 weeks (Mon-Fri) in positions such as Software Developer, System Administrator and Database Administrator among others.
Since its inception this internship has enabled our students to perform at the highest level, and show case to our stakeholders the type of skills they are gaining here at UB through our IT program. Every year students are held in high regards based on performance during the internship period and at the end of the course they are sought after by host and other organizations for permanent employment. The MPIT department, FST and UB wishes to thank all the host organizations for their continued collaboration with us and our internship program.
Students and Faculty Appear on Open Your Eyes Morning Show
On Tuesday – April 2nd, our esteemed UB Lecturers Dr. Priscilla Lopez, Dr. Christopher De Shield and Ms. Ivory Kelly along with UB student, Osvaldo Cantun and Mr. Gerardo Polanco – Lecturer at Sacred Heart College appeared on OYE to discuss their most recent research, which was presented at the 2nd Annual Belize National Research Conference on 3-4th April 2019.
The following day, UB students from Faculty of Science and Technology, Britney Hulse, Gianne Vasquez, Roberto Ramirez and Jaime Mejia went on OYE to share their views, as first time participants in the electoral process, on everything from the effectiveness of the campaign messaging, publications and signage and spoke of how it impacted their decisions for the ICJ Referendum.
CEO of SAGICOR Mr. Donald Austin Learns about UB’s Transformational Plan
The CEO of Sagicor Life Inc. Eastern Caribbean and Belize, Mr. Donald Austin, Ms. Karen Godfrey, Branch Manager, accompanied by Mr. G.A. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, visited the University of Belize on May 3, 2019 and heard from the President on our Transformational Plan. Mr. Austin noted Sagicor’s support for tertiary education in the Caribbean and would consider UB’s proposals for support to transform the University and immediately pledged a number of internships for students from the Faculty of Management and Social Science for example to work with Sagicor.
UB Meets with Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
President Sankat paid a courtesy call to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and met with Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, and his team on May 2, 2019. The meeting explored mutual collaboration in the areas of teaching and research and it was agreed that a larger meeting especially with colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Office of Institutional Advancement will be convened.
Public Safety Department Conducts Fire Drill and Central Farm Campus Raise Awareness on Safety and Security
The Public Safety Department under the leadership of Mr. John Salam has been raising awareness on the importance of safety and security at UB. The department and the Early Childhood Stimulation Center coordinated a fire drill where the students had the opportunity to learn hands-on how to react in case of a fire.
Mr. Salam also visited the Central Farm Campus where he presented to students, faculty and staff on “How safe is your campus”.
HR Trains Faculty and Staff
The Human Resource Department held training workshops on Self-Management for leaders of the University and on Stress Management for secretaries. The Self-Management training was facilitated by Ms. Dionne Chamberlain from Chamberlain Consulting and Staff Counselor Ms. Anna Sambula conducted the stress management training.
Faculty and Staff Enjoy a Day of Fun, Games and Massages – Faculty and Staff Day
The faculty and staff of the University from the different campus came together at the Belmopan Campus to rest from their regular work and have fun on April 26, 2019. The day started with a fun ride from Mile 31, George Price Highway, to the Belmopan Campus. It was then followed with games like lime and spoon, needle and thread, sack race, balloon toss, track and field and volleyball. Staff were also able access treatments of manicure, pedicure, and massages.
The President congratulated the Human Resource Department and all who participated and attended to make this day a success.
Update on the IBCE
Indian High Commissioner, Ambassador Muktesh Pardeshi, accompanied by H.E. Arun Hotchandani – Honorary Consul of India in Belize and Mr. Aliawati Longkumer, First Secretary, visited the University of Belize and toured the India Belize Centre for Engineering (IBCE). The Ambassador who was on a farewell visit commended the University of Belize for seizing the opportunity presented by this IBCE project to build the capacity for the department of Engineering and for Belize
The work on installing and commissioning equipment for the Centre continues. This will be followed by the training of suitable personnel.
The President congratulated and thanked Ambassador Pardeshi for the deep interest showed in advancing the cause of the IBCE Project and the development of UB. He wished him well on his new diplomatic posting to New Zealand.
Construction of Conference Centre Building has started
We are witnessing the construction of the Conference Center Building at Belmopan, under the watchful eye of Mr. Francis Burns of Physical Plant and the President. The work is being done by GRun Construction, and progress since they very recent start has been very satisfactory. We expect a finished lovely facility, ready for the new academic year 2019/2020.
The New Faculty of Health Sciences – Medical Program and Building Coming Soon
The work continues on the planning for the new Faculty of Health Sciences and its proposed new Medical program. UB received bids from seven contractors to build new facilities for FHS to house the medical program. From these bids a successful contractor has been approved by the Board of Trustees. The next step is to secure adequate funding through a loan to support this project.
UB Student Zayna Flowers Joins Citizen Science GIS
Zayna Flowers is currently an undergraduate student of the University of Belize pursuing her degree in Natural Resource Management. She is so excited to be spending the summer with the University of Central’s Florida Citizen Science GIS team in Belize. She was introduced to GIS in her first semester as an undergrad student and she mentioned that it was quite a challenge at first but turned out to be rewarding in the end. She said ‘I am constantly pushing myself and challenging myself with new things because I believe that the greatest lessons and outcomes come from challenging experiences.’ She is seeking to gain additional experience in GIS and research while incorporating what she knows to positively impact her country through this community- based research opportunity. Zayna will work with the National Science Foundation (NSU, USA) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) team on the Open Reef drone mapping work (funded outside of the NSF grant).
Courtesy of Citizen Science GIS
Commemoration for Kevin Frutos
Kevin Frutos is the third student we, as a UB family, have lost in such a short period of time due to violence. The President had remarked
His death is a loss to our University; the matter of criminality continues to create grief for our University and for our society, particularly our young people. I must reiterate these killings of our young people must stop and this matter must be addressed. As well, as a UB community, we must also be mindful to our own personal security and have the necessary consciousness and information to make safe choices with respect to our own security on and off the campuses.
The University held a commemoration ceremony on April 24, 2019 for Kevin where his family and friends gathered to share memories they shared with Kevin.
The CXIII Ordinary Session of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centro Americano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council), hosted by the University of Belize (UB), concluded yesterday April 11th, 2019.
During the two-day session, the Central American Council for Higher Education received the Secretary General’s Report on his activities for 2018 and approved the Auditor’s Report on the Council’s finances for 2018. The appointment of an Assistant Secretary General for Student Affairs was also approved. The Council engaged in critical yet ambitious priorities for strengthened cooperation and deeper integration amongst and between member universities. Discussions proved ultimately fruitful and as a group, the council agreed on a direction for the coming academic year, 2019-2020.
Given the current global context, the key topics discussed at this year’s session were:
1. The harmonization of the cost of tuition between the universities to allow for easier access to higher education for nationals of CSUCA members within CSUCA Universities
2. The internationalization of CSUCA Universities; and
3. The need for the CSUCA Universities to expand its reach and role within the region for deeper integration to not only ensure access to tertiary education, but also to ensure CSUCA Universities offer programs that are relevant, innovative and applicable to the needs and priorities of the various societies in an effort to drive the development of our region.
Also discussed were programs of out-reach that make Universities of Central America more socially responsible to our rural populace.
Another significant outcome of the meeting was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Belize and the University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-M), which will allow for further collaboration on mutual interest, particularly the development of a Medical program for the University of Belize.
Equally of importance was the implementation of a Master’s Program in Disaster Risk Management, whereby all CSUCA nationals would be able to access this training starting September 2019.
There was also a rich discussion on matters pertaining to Universities and University students in Nicaragua and CSUCA agreed to allow the process of reconciliation to take its course. CSUCA also accepted an invitation for the next meeting to be hosted by UNAN-M.
The President of the University of Belize and in his capacity as President of CSUCA for the 2018-2019 year, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, thanks the Secretary General Dr. Carlos Alvarado Cerezo and his team as well as the Presidents and Rectors of CSUCA Universities and CSUCA’s Secretariat for a successful, spirited and productive session. The contributions of our students through FEUCA were exceptional. President Sankat also thanks his team from the University of Belize for the exceptional work in hosting this historic meeting in Belize.
CSUCA is devoted to the deepening of our multilateral relations and to improving the quality of higher education in Central America in order to achieve the common good of Central America and the Caribbean to fully participate in the solution of national, regional and global problems.
The University of Belize (UB) is hosting the CXIII Session of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centro Americano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council). This is the first time this annual session is being held in Belize and is being hosted by the University of Belize
The CSUCA is one of the oldest regional organization of higher education systems in the world, where its members consist of public universities from the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. CSUCA aims to promote Central American integration, and particularly the integration and strengthening of higher education in Central American societies.
The objective of this two-day session is to report on the activities of CSUCA for the 2018-2019 year and to engage in information sharing of the work of CSUCA’s seven (7) sub-committees:
1. Sistema de Evaluación y Armonización de la Educación Superior (SICEVAES – Committee for Evaluation and Harmonization of Higher Education)
2. Sistema de Centroamericano y del Caribe de Investigación y Posgrado (SIRCIP – Central American and the Caribbean Commission for Research and Graduate Studies)
3. Sistema de Vida Estudiantil (SIREVE –Commission for Student Life)
4. Sistema de Internacionalización de la Educación Superior Centroamericana (SIESCA – Commission for the Internationalization of Higher Education Systems of Central America)
5. Sistema de Centroamericano de Relación Universidad-Sociedad (SICAUS – Committee for University and Society Relationship)
6. Sistema Integrado de Información Documental Centroamericano (SIIDCA – Integrated Committee for Documentary Information)
7. Sistema Editorial Universitario Centroamericano (SEDUCA –Central American University Editorial Committee)
Discussion for this session will focus primarily on policies relating to the internationalization of CSUCA Universities, graduate studies, student mobility between the Universities and standards for institutional accreditation for member universities.
One of the most significant outcome of this meeting for UB will be the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is to be signed with the University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-M). UB has partnered with UNAN-M to develop UB’s Medical Program and to aid in developing its Faculty of Health Science.
This two-day session, being held on April 10th – 11th, 2019, will be chaired by the President of CUSCA, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat – UB’s President and will be co-chaired by CUSCA’s Secretary General, Dr. Carlos Alvarado Cerezo.
CSUCA is to improve the quality of higher education in Central America through the creation and transmitting of knowledge and the dissemination of shared experiences in an effort to guide actions to achieve the common good of Central America in order to fully participate in the solution of global problems.
Central Farm Campus Successfully Micro propagates Banana Plantlets for Local Industry
The President wishes to bring to your attention this very good report on the field performance of banana plants produced at the UB Central Farm Campus (UBCF) Micro-propagation Lab, under a project funded by the European Union through Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The University fully supports and expresses its confidence in and by the growers. It is expected that the developed Micro-Propagation Lab will produce banana plants commercially to support the national industry.
The President thanks the management and staff of the UBCF for their efforts to date and as you will recall at our End of Year Social 2018, Mr. Marco Cordova, Ms. Kenny Balan and Mr. Selvin Vidal were recognised for their sterling efforts in the project as seen below.
Kindly see below the media report as presented by Channel 5 News.
UB Launches Master’s in Educational Leadership in Orange Walk
The University of Belize (UB) officially launched its new Master’s in Education Leadership at the Gala Lounge in Orange Walk Town on Friday, March 8th, 2019. This program was developed jointly with the Vancouver, Canada based Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.
The Master’s of Education Leadership aims to advance Belize’s existing framework in education, with a focus to incorporate broad contemporary concepts of leadership, which can be applied to the educational sector, especially our schools and colleges. Therefore, the program will develop the capacity of Belize’s existing and future teachers and administrators into competent and effective leaders who will guide our schools and educational institutions for national development. The addition of the Master’s program complements UB’s Education programs at the Associate and Bachelor level.
The launch saw the participation of UB’s many stakeholders, including the program’s first cohort of thirty-eight students, the Ministry of Education, and various government and quasi-government agencies. Informational and insightful presentations were made from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Education, the Mayor of Orange Walk, the focal point officer for the Commonwealth of Learning in Belize, the President and the Dean of Faculty of Education and Arts of the University of Belize.
UB Hosts ICJ Youth Forum
The issue of the ICJ is one of national importance and one which will impact every Belizean, present and future. As such, the University of Belize (UB), as the national university, recognizes the importance of ensuring all Belizeans are informed on this matter, particularly our young people.
Within this context, UB hosted an ICJ Youth Forum, where it made presentations to delegations of 300 students from junior colleges, the ITVETs and several youth- rehabilitation centers. The forum aimed to allow students of this voting age to become knowledgeable of the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute and to discuss the merits/demerits of submitting the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute to the ICJ.
Students were also able to vote in a mock referendum, where they were asked to vote in favor of or against, taking the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute to the ICJ.
Of an audience of 300 participants, a total of 120 voted. The votes were are as follows:
64 – YES
56 – NO.
The University of Belize is pleased to see students provide thought and direction on Belize’s path forward and would like to thank its partners in education for a successful forum as well as our sponsors, who saw the importance of ensuring our leaders of tomorrow have a space to voice their opinions.
As Belize’s national university, the University of Belize is committed to the principle of representative democracy and will continue to champion spaces such as today’s youth forum that will strengthen and provide a space to reflect the voices of Belize’s young people.
Indian High Commissioner Tours the IBCE
The Indian High Commissioner, Ambassador Muktesh Pardeshi, who is based in Mexico City, made a visit to UB’s Belmopan Campus to inspect the progress being made on the India-Belize Center for Engineering’s buildings and the receipt of the engineering equipment from India. The Ambassador was pleased with the progress made by UB to date to get the Engineering Centre developed. A work in progress.
UB President Participates in Prime Minister’s Forum
The President was invited to participate in the Prime Minister’s Forum held on February 21, 2019 at the Belize City Civic Center. The President was asked to speak on “The Digital Ecosystem Framework: The National University of Belize’s Commitment to Human Development”. The President noted that to propel innovation, “The prerequisite for creating an innovative society is education of its citizens. Investing in education, and tertiary education in particular will drive the innovativeness and competitiveness of a nation through training of high level professionals. Knowledge in their disciplines but ingrained with a culture of critical and creative thinking, with a spirit of inquiry and problem solving and who are empowered to implement change – to execute.
The ecosystem that supports higher education and innovation should encompass the public sector – the Government of Belize, the private sector – business, industries and the training, research and development institutions – with the national University of Belize being a critical element. This must be a partnership, as individually none can succeed alone for Belize’s advancement.”
UB receives BZ$ 900 from three Canadian Student Interns to Plant Trees on the Belmopan Campus
Canadian student interns Joe Renton, Paige Crowell and Joanna Dicks donated Canadian $200 each to purchase trees. This is part of a Canadian government initiative to purchase and plant trees in the University where the students intern. They were in Belize for a semester at the Environmental Research Institute, UB as part of the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP), funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The UB Campus Beautification Committee and the University’s President thank the interns for their generous and thoughtful donation.
UB’s History Students Participate on ICJ Panels
Our History Department had four (4) students representing the University of Belize in two ICJ discussions February 27th, 2019– one was held at the Bliss Institute in Belize City (broadcasted by Love FM) and organized by the Rotary Club and one at the Welcome Center in San Ignacio (broadcasted by KREM Radio). We had three student representatives in Belize City, one for the yes vote (Ian Young), one for the no vote (Christian Cansino) and one alternate (Kevin Berganza) if in case one student was unable to be a panelist. We had one student representative (Abbie Godoy) in San Ignacio; she was there as a University student and to be the voice for her generation.
Ms. April Martinez who coached the students attended the one at the Bliss Institute and twelve (12) History students accompanied her to support our panelists. These panelists were there to be the voice of the students, educate the audience and present their views on the ICJ. The interaction from the audience was a positive one and our students were well prepared for this discussion based on their statements and answers to the audience.
Students and lecturers from the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) and the Faculty of Education and Arts from the Belize City Campuses were in the audience accompanied by the Dean, FMSS and Chair (FEA) Belize and the Dean of Student Affairs. The University of Belize congratulates our History Department students on a job well-done.
UB Meets with CEO Dr. Percival Cho
Dr. Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration, visited our campus and met with Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon and Mr. Arnulfo Knatun of the Institutional Advancement Office. The meeting focused on how the Ministry and the University can collaborate on Research and Development projects that can impact on sustainable development and preservation of our environment. A suitable Memorandum of Agreement is being developed to foster this work and relevant Faculty will be informed more on this development.
UB Early Childhood Stimulation Center Celebrates Childhood Stimulation Month
“Hug Me, Listen to Me, Read with Me, Help Me Grow!” is the theme for this year’s Child Stimulation Month and the UB Early Childhood Stimulation Center is celebrating with fun activities for the young children.
Bird banding and Birding activity at UB Belmopan Campus
Bachelor Biology students in the Natural History of Vertebrates class were treated to the bird diversity of Belmopan campus on Saturday February 2nd. Ms. Abidas Ash from ERI, along with Mr. Eduardo Barrientos, Field Technician, Science Dept., Mr. Alson Ovando, NRM student and Dr. Latha Thomas, FST lecturer assisted in the activities. Birds were trapped using mist nets and after careful observation of their features such as sex, age, health; they were banded and released. A walk through the campus revealed around 25 species of birds including to the excitement of everyone, a group of early migrant visitors from USA, the Cedar Waxwings.
Students Celebrate International Mother Language Day
The Inno’on La Oh Student Club celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 27, 2019 at the Belmopan Campus. The event included stories in the Mopan Maya, Que’ Chi and Yucatec languages and also harp music. The attendants also had the opportunity to enjoy the traditional sweet tortilla.
HR Department Trainings – Supervisor and Customer Service
The session for supervisors was to assist them in recognizing and understanding their roles as Human Resource agents as a part of their regular functions. The session covered the basics of Human Resource Management and allowed for supervisors to take a deeper look into the University’s Faculty and Staff Handbook specifically as it relates to discipline and performance appraisals. The session targeted senior and middle managers and was conducted by our HR Director Ms. Hertha Gentle.
As it relates to customer service, the session was geared towards improving the customer service skills of our front-line personnel, including but not limited to secretaries, accounts personnel, Records personnel and general admin staff. The staff were exposed to topics like telephone etiquette, dressing for the office, handling difficult customer etc. The session was very interactive and saw staff involved in roles plays. The session was conducted by Ms. Sharett Yearwood – Lecturer and Chair from the Faculty of Management and Social Science -Belize City.
Meeting with Police Regarding Campus Security
The President and the Acting Chief Public Safety Officer, Mr. John Salam, have been following up on the matter of increased security in and around the Campus. The President, Mr. John Salam and Mr. Francis Burns have been touring the Belmopan Campus and evaluating potential areas of vulnerability. Increased lighting and traffic control through the Campus were identified as areas to be worked upon. The Department of Public Safety also had a meeting with Inspector Santiago Pott of the Belmopan Police Department and the President also met with him.
Semester Kick Off 2019
Semester “Kick Off” was held on Wednesday February 20, 2019 at the Gazebo commencing at 1:30 p.m. and culminating at 5:00 p.m.
The purpose of Semester Kick off is to contribute to the improvement of Student Life on Campus. Promoting Students Participation/Involvement in order to enjoy a memorable Student life on campus.
This event is held for the participation and the benefit of all students, faculty and staff of the University of Belize. This year we had the participation of 16 Booths displaying student organizations that students can join on Campus. The booths highlighted student clubs, services and opportunities at the University of Belize.
The “Kick off” was closed with an ice-cream eating contest sponsored by Christians on Campus along with hot dogs sponsored by Student Government.
UB Students Participate in Youth Mainstreaming Conference
On February 27 – March 1, the University of Belize was offered the opportunity to send youth representatives for the three day “Youth Mainstreaming in Development Planning” conference held at the Biltmore Hotel in Belize City. UB was represented by Tivi Ramos, Tara Scarborough, Danay Chavarria and Elaida Coc. Each participant acted as a consultant in the achievement of the overall objectives of the conference which were:
1. To arrive at an increased understanding and consensus on the principles, approaches and outcomes of youth-centric national planning.
2. To enhance participant capacities in the use of tools and techniques of analyses, planning and implementation and monitoring and evaluation for youth mainstreaming.
3. To arrive at a discussed and agreed strategic framework for youth mainstreaming in Belize, for initial directions for the Commonwealth Caribbean.
4. To identify key stakeholders and first steps for an accountability mechanism for Belize.
UBFSA holds ICJ Presentation
The presentation on the Belize-Guatemala dispute that occurred on February 20, 2019 was a collaborative effort between The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association(UBFSA) and the History Department. On April 10, 2019, Belizeans will be asked to vote on whether or not they want to go to the International Court of Justice to resolve the Belize-Guatemala Dispute. Consequently, the UBSFA felt that it was part of their obligation to ensure that faculty and staff were well informed on Guatemala’s claim to Belize and the proposed settlement of submitting the issue to the International Court of Justice. The presenters for the session were Mr. Cesar Ross, lecturer of the History & Anthropology Department at the University of Belize and Ambassador Alexis Rosado, Belize’s Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala. Following the opening ceremony, Ms. Erica Aguilar, director of ceremony, asked everyone for a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Joseph Sampson (UB’s history lecturer), Masaki Yanai and Dwayne Cummings (UB’s students).
As part of the informative session, Ambassador Rosado presented facts about Belize Guatemala dispute and Mr. Cesar Ross shared the historical context. Among others, the question and answer session included questions about the treaties, the legitimacy of Belize’s borders, the trustworthiness of the members of the International Court of Justice, and the risks and benefits about submitting the dispute to the ICJ. Overall, the session was very informative and interactive.
Creative Mural Painted at RLC Building
The National Student Union of Belize (NSUB), in conjunction with artist Everett Reynolds from Waukegan Illinois, decided to paint a mural depicting Belize’s Mayan and African Heritage. The artist has been living in Chicago for the past 11 years but grew up in Belize prior to. Everett is a self-taught artist who has gained international recognition for his talent and passion for art. He was visiting his home country for a period of two weeks when he painted this mural at the University of Belize Central Campus. The Student Union heard of his visit by word of mouth and thereupon made contact. Nonetheless, the mural serves as a prelude to a series of other murals that will highlight other aspects of Belize’s multicultural heritage and will be painted across other campuses in Belize. The Union hopes to collaborate with other Belizean artists that reside both in the country and abroad and to encourage students to express their artistic talents being a part of this activity. The NSUB believes it important to promote Belize’s national identity in an ever changing society. The union would like to thank the ISCR (The Institute for Social and Cultural Research) for financial support, the staff at the University of Belize’s Physical Plant Management and to all the students who participated in making this mural a reality.
UB students also displayed their creativity by painting the flags of the different countries that are represented at UB. The President congratulates all who made their creative displays on our campus possible.
President with Department of Youth Services and Commonwealth to Discuss Education and Crime
A team representing the Government of Belize and Commonwealth visited the University of Belize on February 25, 2019 to get the University’s perspectives on priorities for Youth Services in Belize. There was a strong focus on education and training for young people, especially those young males in our urban centres and who may fall prey to criminal activities. Education and skills training, employment opportunities, new housing opportunities for neglected communities were also discussed, from a Caribbean perspective also.
UB Meets with UT Tyler
A team from the University of Texas at Tyler led by Dr. Thomas Guderjan visited the University of Belize including the Department of Engineering in Freetown Road. The UB and University of Tyler have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is focused on partnering in key new developmental areas of Archaeology and Anthropology in the History Department and possibly Engineering, from Faculty of Science and Technology. It is expected that this MOU will be signed by the Presidents of Tyler and UB in May/June of 2019.
Recruitment Meeting to Review Strategies
The President summoned a meeting of UB’s team on recruitment led by Admissions Coordinator Mrs. Camilla Barker and Registrar Mrs. Rose Pineda on February 26, 2019. Recruitment strategies for all of our programs were reviewed. The President noted that all at UB are Ambassadors of our University and hence promoting our University.
Meeting with NICH to Follow Up on MOU
Having signed a MOU with National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) in 2018, there was a follow up meeting on February 26, 2019 with representatives of NICH to treat with pressing areas of collaboration in the Creative Arts and in History. Dr. John Morris, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, and Mr. Gregory Vernon, Director of Institute of Creative Arts represented NICH, with a representative from the Ministry of Education (Culture) also present. President Sankat, Mr. Arnulfo Kantun and Chair in the Faculty of Education and Arts represented UB.
President Meets with Representatives from University of Edinburgh Napier
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat and Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon met with Mr. Grant Mackerron, Academic Director of The Business School of Edinburgh Napier, and Mr. Andrew Cawley, CEO of Southpoint Education International on March 7, 2019. This meeting explored areas for potential collaboration with the Scottish University.
President Visits Agricultural Schools in the North
The President along with Mr. Arnulfo Kantun and lecturer Mr. Francisco Tzul paid a visit to the Belize High School of Agriculture (BHSA) in San Lazaro, Orange Walk and met with its Principal Ms. Lisbeth Delgado. The President also had the opportunity to speak to the Fourth form students and some Faculty members. He explained the importance of food and agriculture and encouraged some to continue their studies at the University of Belize, with opportunity from Certificate through Associate Degree to a Bachelor’s Degree. President also toured the faculties with the Principal, herself an UB alumna.
President, Mr. Kantun and Mr. Tzul also made a similar tour to the ITVET in Corozal, and met with its Principal, Mr. Elbert Worrell and some Faculty, at least one of whom was a graduate of the UB Central Farm Campus.
UB Meets with the Resident Representative of JICA in Belize
The purpose of the meeting was to follow up on the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) supported programme at the Regional Language Center, in Spanish Language Education. This facilitates the training of Japanese students who come to Belize. The President thanked JICA for its support of our RLC Language Program.
Taiwanese Ambassador Visits UB
The new Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Remus Chen, brought a delegation from the Taiwanese Hospital Group, including Li-Chen Liu – Director, Chi Mei Medical Center International Affair Department; Yu-Feng Tian, MD – Medical Deputy Superintendent and Ying-Chieh Su so as to give them an appreciation of the University of Belize and its current and future work as a Faculty of Health Sciences. The Group heard from the Dean of the Faculty, Ms. Leolin Castillo and Dr. George Gough, President of the Belize Medical Council. Dr. Fred Shyu, member of the UB Board of Trustees facilitated the visit, and for this the University of Belize is very appreciative.
Ambassador of Cuba Pays Courtesy Visit to UB President
The Cuban Ambassador H.E. Lissette Perez Perez along with Counselor Orestes Hernandez made a courtesy call on the President of UB on March 12, 2019. Future areas of collaboration between UB and the Cuban Embassy were discussed, beginning with the Cuban movie entitled, “Forbidden Flights” which was screened at UB at the Jaguar Auditorium on March 14, 2019 as part of the NICH’s “VIII Traveling Caribbean Film Showcase”.
The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is arguably one of the world’s longest and most taxing river competitions. Among the sixty-one participating teams in this year’s competition was the University of Belize’s Black Jaguar Paddlers – Anselmo Rash, Pablo Manzanero and Kenneth Ferguson, who along with their coach, Claude Jones, placed 2ndin the Intramural category in which they raced with an overall time of 19 hours and 52 minutes.
“This achievement of our students in this competition is impressive and the consistency of their success over the years is even more commendable,” UB’s President Professor Emeritus Dr. Clement Sankat said. “It speaks well of the quality and performance of our students’ athletic ability and the importance of team work and determination in accomplishing goals, as our students have consistently placed in this highly competitive and internationally esteemed event.”
The President of UB – Professor Emeritus Dr. Clement Sankat, the Vice President of UB – Dr. Mariot Simon join UB’s Senior Management, the Faculty and Staff, students and the entire UB community in congratulating Anselmo, Pablo and Kenneth on their remarkable achievement at the 2019 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Their win is not just a win for the University of Belize, but more importantly it tells the story of their tireless effort and indomitable spirit and resilience in this grueling 4-day race.
The University of Belize would also like to thanks Koop Sheet Metal and all our sponsors. The University’s participation would not have been successful without their generous support. The University deeply appreciates the willingness with which you have and continue to champion our efforts in not only participating in this competitive event, but also in allowing us the opportunity to be a part of a river tournament that contributes to Belize’s uniqueness in the world of sport.
UB Holds Candle Light Vigils in Honor of Masaki and Dwayne
Masaki Yanai and Dwayne Cummings both promising students of the University of Belize were recently murdered. This was devastating for many UB students, faculty and staff who had in one way or the other interacted with Masaki and/or Dwayne. The students got together and held a vigil in Belize City and another in Belmopan in honor of their friends.
The President thanks the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Jean Perriott and her staff for their efforts of organizing this event at the Belmopan Campus and Chair of the Engineering Department and his colleagues for their efforts in Belize City.
Students Hold Rally Against Violence
Students of the University of Belize held a peace rally against the crime situation. The murders of Masaki and Dwayne along with others who have suffered because of crime motivated the students to take action and start finding solutions. They invited speakers Mr. Louis Wade Jr. and Ms. Audrey Matura to speak. A recorded speech from Mayor of Orange Walk Town (Dwayne’s community) was also played. They spoke on the importance of realizing how real crime is and how it can affect anyone if action is not taken. The speakers also spoke on the importance of being educated and identifying the root causes of the crime problem in Belize.
Ms. Aleesi Chun, the UB student who came up with the idea of the rally, also spoke to the students, encouraging them to join the efforts not being silent to crime.
The students then proceeded to march to the National Assembly building where they also held a brief ceremony.
On a recent issue, the Marketing and Communications department sent out a Security Alert on Friday, February 15, 2019 with tips on how to treat with personal security in these challenging times. Please review at https://www.ub.edu.bz/security-alert-crime-and-safety/.
Student’s Music, Chat, and Talent Hour
The event was well attended with approximately 40 students excluding the guest artists and program coordinators.
Attendees found the event enjoyable and expressed their desire to return to the next edition.
Future plan for the Student’s Music, Chat, and Talent Hour if the program continues to be a success is to have the event streamed live across all campuses to have full students’ participation.
The University students extend their sincere appreciation to Student Affairs Department for supporting the launch of this event.
Human Resource Department Trains Staff in Records Management
A Records Management Training was held for all Secretaries in the University on February 1, 2019. The purpose of the training was to provide our Secretarial staff with the guidance needed to implement and support a University-wide Records Management System. This will allow for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about the University.
This session was attended by 26 Secretaries, three Chairs and one Dean.
UB President Meets with CARICOM Youth Ambassador H.E. Kris Miller
H.E. Kris Miller was recently appointed as CARICOM Youth Ambassador for Belize. He met with President Sankat and Dean of Student Affairs to express a desire to work closely with UB students and the student government. The President congratulated Mr. Miller on his appointment and assured him of the University’s support – one area that the President indicated that needed more communication was on the opportunities for Belizean students/graduates presented by the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
H.E. Miller is a UB student and has also been part of the student government.
UB-Texas A&M Study Abroad 2019
At the opening of 2019, the University of Belize hosted student groups from Texas A&M International University and Texas A&M University in Kingsville who visited Belize to engage in a culturally immersive experience while working with the students, teachers and principals of various Belizean primary schools. Their objective was to study communication disorders exchange knowledge of tools and techniques for speech therapy and teaching practices.
Texas A&M students & professors visited various schools throughout the country as far as Santa Anna Government School, in the Toledo district. Students also spent two days at the Belmopan pre-school on the University of Belize´s Central Campus, and a total of two weeks at the Stella Maris Primary School in Belize City.
While on the trip, the group also visited some of Belize’s most popular destination towns such as San Ignacio, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Groups from Texas A&M have been visiting Belize for the past six years.
NRM Students Visit Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve to have an on the ground experience about Coastal Zone Management
As part of the Bachelor Natural Resources Management (NRM) program at the University of Belize, the students and lecturer of the Coastal Zone Management and Policy course visited the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve on February 4th 2019. This field component was funded by the Turneffe Atoll Trust’s (TAT) awareness campaign program of their recent document entitled, “Risking the Atoll”. The lecturer of the course, Ms. Cecy Castillo took this opportunity to illustrate to students the “on the ground activities” occurring in ecologically sensitive coastal areas in Belize thereby giving students an opportunity to assess the current coastal zone management plan guidelines with current practices. Mr. Eden Garcia, Marine Biologist also accompanied the group and brought a rich experience to students as he highlighted the impacts of development on Permit fish, one of our valuable fish species in the sport fishing industry.
UB Board of Trustees Welcomes Ambassador of Republic of China (Taiwan) H.E. Remus Li-Kuo Chen
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Harrison Pilgrim and a few members of the Board of Trustees of UB, together with Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat welcomed the new Taiwanese Ambassador H.E. Remus Li-Kuo Chen. Both Ambassador and members of the Board of Trustees expressed a great desire for steady collaboration between the Government and people of Taiwan and the University of Belize.
The Ambassador reminded that the Regional Language Center (RLC) was financially supported in its building by the Government of Taiwan and he hopes that the Institution is delivering on its mandate. He wanted to know more about UB and the President shared a lot on our Transformational Plan. He also expressed the desire to work closely with UB in the immediate future. President Sankat also invited him to visit our Belmopan Campus so that he can gain insight into our challenges and opportunities. Chairman, Mr. Pilgrim subsequently thanked the Ambassador for his kind hospitality.
UB President Meets with Student Governments
The President met with Student Government leaders on February 15, 2019 at the Belmopan Campus. In attendance was Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Jean Perriott; Director of Physical Plant, Projects and Facilities, Mr. Francis Burns; and Vice President, Dr. Mariot Simon. The Student Governments presented their projects which they hoped to have completed before demitting office at the end of the Academic Year.
At the Belmopan Campus the students were keen to have a “palapa” constructed by the bus stop to facilitate students. They also expressed a desire to have a water fountain on campus. The President gave the green light for Mr. Burns to begin work on the palapa.
Belize City students wanted classrooms ABC at the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) renovated with new dividers and air conditioning. Again, the President gave Mr. Burns the green light to proceed. Students also wanted the parking lot at the Faculty of Education and Arts paved with the support of the Mayor of Belize City, Mr. Bernard Wagner. A meeting will be convened by the Belize City Student Government with the Mayor to discuss this matter. The President reminded the students on the need to cover the Basketball court of FMSS. In Punta Gorda, the need for a Café was raised and Dr. Perriott and Mr. Burns are to follow up.
Finally, the students raised the matter of Adjunct Lecturers not delivering on their duties, especially in Belize City. The Vice President was asked to follow up with Deans as a matter of urgency.
UB President Presents on Opportunities for Collaboration at COBEC Conference
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat made a presentation at the 31st Conference of the Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) held at a San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) on February 7, 2019. The presentation was entitled “UB and Opportunities for Collaboration” and can be accessed at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/cobec-presentation-ub-and-opportunities-for-collaboration/.
In attendance was also the Vice President of UB, Dr. Mariot Simon who also attended the subsequent business meetings. Bernard Watler, Dean of the Faculty of Management of Sciences (FMSS) and Ms. Ethel Arzu, Quality Assurance Officer were also present. On the first day of the conference a workshop on Entrepreneurship was attended by some faculty members of FMSS.
The University of Belize will be the hosts to the next Winter Meeting of COBEC.
UB Meets with the US Embassy Belize, Military Liaison Office
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Business Development Officer Mr. Anulfo Kantun; Director of Physical Plant, Projects and Facilities Mr. Francis Burns; and Technical Assistant Mr. Xavier Novelo met with CPO Alison Fabrao, Operations Coordinator and Ms. Cruzita Cadle, Budget Analyst, from the Military Liaison Office (MLO) of the US Embassy in Belize. The meeting discussed how the MLO can assist the University in its infrastructural projects. Guidance was given to UB on how to apply for such funding and what the priorities are. In the immediate time, UB will be applying for support to build some infrastructure on the PG Campus. The President thanked the MLO for their interest in supporting UB and he looks forward to working with the USMLO in the immediate future.
Agro Processing Stakeholders’ Forum at the Ministry of Agriculture and Belize Marketing and Development Corporation – Developing and Enhancing Small Scale Agri-processing Capacity in Belize
The President attended both the opening and closing sessions of the Agro-Processing Stakeholders’ forum in Belize City and in Belmopan. The objective of the workshop is essentially to prepare a roadmap to invigorate the processing of agricultural commodities into new value added products in Belize. Training in Food Science and Technology as well as Research and Innovation are key drivers for this and there is a role and opportunity for UB here as stated by the President.
Students Have Started their Classes in Educational Leadership
Students enrolled in the Master in Education Leadership attended an orientation session on Saturday January 26, 2019 to discuss plans for the new semester and to become oriented with the first two core courses in their program of study. This informative session also provided an overview of the Student Handbook, Navigating Moodle, Payments and payment plan and an introduction to the use of Ebsco host.
Classes for the M.Ed cohort of thirty eight students commenced on February 2, 2019. A review of students’ perception of the two core courses: EDLD 5022 “Trends and Issues in Education” and ELD 5021 “Foundations of Educational Leadership” revealed that students are of the view that both courses will provide the rigor and skills to create meaningful changes and hone their leadership skills.
President Tours the University Lands in Belmopan
The President along with the Director of Physical Plant, Projects and Facilities Mr. Francis Burns and Director of Public Safety Mr. John Salam, as well as Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, toured the University’s lands on the Belmopan Campus. The President noted the extensive road works being undertaken, as per the approved land use plan, by the Belmopan City Council.
The President through the Office of Institutional Advancement is looking at how some of these lands can be brought into productive use, so as to raise income for the current and future use of the University of Belize. He reiterated that UB’s lands are a prime asset of the University and must be maintained indefinitely for its sustainable use and for generations to come.
The University of Belize Thanks CEO Felix Enriquez for BDF’s Assistance
Mr. Roy Polonio, Punta Gorda Campus Administrator, presented on behalf of the University of Belize a Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Felix Enriquez, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security. The certificate was in recognition of his tremendous assistance through the Belize Defense Force – Light Engineering Company Support & Service Battalion in the demolishing of the old metal barrack at the PG Campus.