For many final year University students, the New Year is all about winding down University life and preparing for graduation to finally enter into adulthood, but for one UB student, Abbie Godoy, it seems to be ramping up. Not only is she a prominent youth activist in Belize’s development space, which has seen her representing Belize at various international conferences and seminars; she is also now the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship.
If you had asked her a few months ago about her most recent accomplishment, Abbie would have never imagined herself sitting in Barbados’ Government House undergoing interviews by the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship Committee; much less being selected, on November 27th, 2019, as the 2020 Recipient of the most Prestigious Scholarship Award, which affords her the opportunity to study at the world’s most distinguished University – Oxford. The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest, best known award for graduate study and is considered the most famous academic award. And for Abbie, even though the Committee decided she was eligible, she was still nervous. And as a San Ignacio resident with humble beginnings, this experience was exciting as it was terrifying.
However, for this outstanding young woman, who carries a mark of maturity juxtaposed with an essence of vitality, curiosity and a spirit that colors her path, she did not let the fact that she came from a small country and a lesser known University deter her from an opportunity, where most everything points her to realizing her educational goals.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll also notice that Abbie gave much thought to what she envisioned and wanted her future to be. Ahead, she shares more on her life, her experience during the process, and her plans for her future.
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital in Santa Elena and was raised in San Ignacio. When I was three years old, my Father, Luis Godoy, left the country; and I was raised by my Mother, Brenda Guillen, alongside my older siblings, Luby and Loui Godoy. My Mother’s family played an important role in my upbringing and development. My Mother enrolled at UB when I was very young. She pursued her Bachelors in Primary Education in order to better provide for us. I academically excelled in Primary School, and was valedictorian of Santa Elena Evangelical Holiness Academy in 2010. After graduating, I received my secondary schooling at Sacred Heart College, where I struggled academically because the only courses I could take were in Business or Science, which never interested me.
I was always talkative and active in my after school life. For my high school graduation in 2014, I received a special award in recognition of my dedication to Extracurricular Activities.
What are all the extracurricular activities you partake in? How has this helped you in your life and how do you feel this helped you in this application process?
I have been involved in various organizations, which included the Belize Red Cross, the Belize Disaster and Rescue Team, UNICEF, Rotaract, Friends for Conservation and Development Environmental Youth Group, the National Committee for Families and Children: Informed Teen Reporter and Fridays for Future.
I also currently serve as the Secretary of Programming in UB’s Student Government, and I am a member of the History Club at the University of Belize.
Volunteering has always been a big part of my life. At ten years old, I started to tag along with my sister, Luby, who was an active member of our local Red Cross. From there, my passion grew, and I made sure to always be involved in my community. I figured I couldn’t help anyone financially, but could donate my time and effort. This has shaped who I am because it has made me believe in myself and my capabilities. I can impact my community and my country. All it takes is effort and lots of dedication.
For this application process, my community involvement was vital. Being an activist for change showed the Rhodes Selection Committee that I wasn’t waiting for an opportunity to change things. I was out there being the change.
What program are you currently enrolled in at UB and why did you choose this?
I am currently enrolled as a BA student in English. Choosing this course was very easy, I have always enjoyed reading, and have a passion for writing.
How did you learn about this scholarship program and what made you apply?
I learned about the Rhodes through personal research online. I chose to apply jokingly at first knowing that this was the preeminent graduate scholarship or as I like to refer to it, The Miss Universe of Scholarships. I told myself you probably don’t stand a chance, but it doesn’t hurt to try. As I continued my application process I grew very serious about it, and was determined to put my all into it. I have to thank my lecturers at the Faculty of Education and Arts: Dr. Marfield, Dr. De Shield, Dr. Hampton and Ms. Kelly for writing my academic references. When I finally submitted my application all I could do was pray because it was completely out of my control.
Describe your experience during the application process?
The application process is very standard and easy to follow. However, there is a personal statement section which was difficult to write. I had to tell the committee who I was and why I deserved this scholarship. For any twenty-year-old in University knowing who you are is hard. So, I chose to write an honest representation of myself following my stream of consciousness while being mindful of what it entails to be a Rhodes Scholar.
Did you expect to win? What was your initial thought when you heard you won?
The interview process was the worst days of my life. On Saturday, November 23rd, I said goodbye to my family and made my way to Barbados, where I can honestly say there wasn’t a day I didn’t cry. It was a new place, and you are alone. At first, I didn’t know if I was supposed to mingle with other candidates, if they would be nice or would we all just hate each other. These preconceptions proved to be the farthest thing from the truth. Being a candidate meant only you could understand each other and the experience. Joel Balkaran, Jodhan Medina, Janielle Brown and Zandra Gomes are honestly the glue that held me together as tensions grew and the anxiety went through the roof.
When I was announced the winner, I was in complete shock. Me, little Abbie from even smaller Belize and the tiniest university present had won. I had been chosen from a group of people who are the brightest in all of the Caribbean. Getting over my shock took hours, but these candidates were genuinely happy for me and it made the process a lot easier. The following days were surreal as my face and name were front page news in almost all the CARICOM countries, which I had never expected, but I knew that the win came with a lot of responsibility.
You are currently studying English at UB; however, Developmental Economics is a big shift from English. What was the thought process behind this shift and why did you choose this area of study?
I actually selected an MPhil in Development Studies. In my English program at UB, we are constantly challenged to engage in the theory, rhetoric and discourse of identity, post colonialism and its relevant socio-political ideologies. So the shift is using what I already know in the context of how the developing world is constructed and affected by this, and how do developing countries move forward and addressing our developmental challenges. In truth, it’s really a combination of my academic interests and extracurricular activities.
There is no guarantee that I will be accepted into the course, but there will be an advising process through the Rhodes House that aims at making sure I select the right course that fits my goals.
How do you feel UB has prepared you to undertake this study?
The University of Belize provided me, for the most part, with lecturers who were capable and devoted to their work. They provided me with quality education, even when resources and funding were limited. Honestly, in my interview, I mentioned that the University needs to find alternative funding because with the recent tuition increases people from low middle income families like myself will be unable to attend, and the potential is lost right there at first contact. This, however, is a socio-political issue that the leaders of the nation need to address. Tertiary education is not luxury item; it is not a privilege; it is a necessity.
What role did UB have in helping to shape your world view and in shaping you personally to make you want to engage in such an area of study?
Studying at UB requires a lot of your own personal research and effort. It is a community with its own culture. It forces you to engage with people from all sorts of different backgrounds, and that creates a diverse and unique experience. However, it is up to you the student to apply yourself and make the best of what UB has to offer.
What advice do you have for other UB students who would like to follow in your footsteps but may feel discouraged, particularly given that UB is such a small school compared to other well-known universities?
If you don’t try, you will never succeed. UB might be small, but you can achieve greatness because you’re given the tools; it is a matter of how you use them. Sitting in a room with people from Harvard, UWI and Howard University is scary and intimidating, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to fight and never give up because success isn’t by chance.
I was chosen because despite all the odds being stacked against me. I made the best of what I had and I wasn’t going to let circumstance dictate my future.
What are your plans after completing your degree and how do you intend to use your degree to help Belize?
I plan to return home and work to create and build a better Belize. Whether it be through policy, social activism or a combination of both, I aim to improve the standard of living of all Belizeans.
My dream is also to be a lecturer at the University where I can help to develop and teach courses that allow Belizean students to explore diverse interests. My choices, like many Belizean students, are and have always been limited, but I hope that with my help, it won’t be the same for those younger than me.
Abbie Godoy has made history for being the first Belizean female and the second Belizean to be conferred with this prestigious Scholarship Award. She is also the first UB student to be named a Rhodes Scholar. The Board of Trustees, the President and Administration, Staff, Faculty and Students of the University of Belize wish her all the best in her future studies at Oxford!
Continue to strengthen your voice, continue to be a change agent and don’t lose the passion and curiosity you have for learning. Mother Theresa said– ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’ As such, continue to develop the tools that will enable you to cast the stone and create many ripples. Continue to shine and make yourself, your family, your friends and all of us at UB proud.
UB Installs its New Board of Trustees
At the November 8th, 2019 Inaugural meeting, Mr. G. A. Harrison Pilgrim was unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Board, while Mr. Lynn Young was elected as its Vice Chairman, also unanimously. The meeting and election of the Board Chairman was conducted by Board Secretary, Professor Clement Sankat, who noted “We are excited to welcome our four newest Board members as well as those who have been reappointed. They all bring leadership and experience in key areas that are essential to our operations and strategy – present and future. They embody the spirit of community and bring expertise and energy to our Board and its deliberation. We are very fortunate to have them as we continue to build and strengthen our UB community.”
The Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports & Culture, joined the meeting after the elections and congratulated the members of the BOT on their appointment or re-appointment and pinned each member of the Board with UB’s Distinctive Lapel Pin.
The members of the University of Belize’s Board of Trustees are:
Mr. Harrison Pilgrim (Chairman), Representative – Minister of Education
Mr. Lynn Young (Vice Chairman), Representative – Industry Sector
Dr. Fred Shyu, Representative – Belize Council of Churches
Mr. Gaspar Martinez, Representative –Agriculture Sector
Mr. Luke Palacio Representative, – National Trade Union Congress of Belize
Ms. Darlene Vernon Representative, – UB Alumni Association
Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, Representative – ATLIB
Dr. June Young Representative, – UB Faculty
Mrs. Deborah Domingo Representative, – Ministry of Education
Newly Appointed Members:
Mr. Belarmino Esquivel, Representative – Ministry of Agriculture
Dr. Oxaka Tehu ax’Oxo, Representative – Non-Governmental & Belize Network of NGOs
Mr. Jalen Good, Representative – UB Student Government
Dr. George Gough, Representative – Ministry of Health
Non-voting Members of the Board
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat UB President & Secretary to the Board
Ms. Denise Robinson Recording Secretary
Preceding the formal Board meeting, the Conference Centre was blessed by Reverend Lizbeth Tulloch of St. Ann’s Anglican Church, Belmopan. The President sincerely thanks the Chaplain for supporting UB. The Order of the Blessing can be found at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/blessing-of-new-conference-center/
UB Holds Third Annual Endowment Fete with Rossy War at Orange Walk Town
The President of the University of Belize, Professor Clement Sankat, would like to express his profound thanks to all those who supported the 3rd Annual President’s Endowment Fund Fete, which was held on Saturday October 26th, 2019 at the Muffles College Auditorium.
President Sankat wishes to pay particular tribute to the University’s many sponsors, especially Cuello’s Distillery, Love FM, Dibary, Belikin Beer/Bowen and Bowen, Becol, the Guardian newspaper, the Mayor of Orange Walk Town, Kevin Bernard, the staff at the Mayor’s office, the Principal of Muffles Junior College, Ms. Maria Johnston and our Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, without whose generous support, the success of this event would not have been achieved.
The University had a successful Fete with great and incredibly entertaining music: Rossy War and her troupe from Peru, Gilharry 7 and Super Furia. They all did an excellent job. The crowd danced and swayed in unison to the music into the night.
The President also wishes to thank all his Faculty, staff, management team and in particular all the UB student government who worked tirelessly and demonstrated exceptional commitment to making this event a success.
More importantly, the President would like to say thanks to all who purchased tickets for this worthy cause. There is much good will for our National University. The University and especially our students are grateful for your support, as all proceeds from this event will go to making scholarships/bursaries available to deserving students to pursue higher education at UB.
Once more, thanks to all who made this event a success and as we enter into UB’s 20th Anniversary in 2020, we look forward to seeing you at our 4th Annual Fete, which promises to be even bigger and better!
We will see you in 2020!
UB Awards Eleven (11) Students with the Lorenzo Cacho Scholarships and Four (4) Students with UB Endowment Fund Bursaries
On Friday, October 11th, the University of Belize (UB) awarded fifteen deserving students currently enrolled at the University of Belize with scholarships and bursaries for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Under the Lorenzo Cacho Scholarship scheme – the first big benefaction of this kind for the University – UB welcomed its first cohort of recipients. Eleven students were provided with full scholarships and stipends to complete their studies at the National University. These students are – Shantel Andrews, Zair Aragon, Catherine Camal, Roberto Can, Cassandra Lewis, Elsie Moralez, Saijah McNab, Ian Oliva, Alson Ovando, Elder Quewell and Thaina Vasquez.
This scholarship fund was established in honor of Mr. Cornelius Cacho, a Belizean economist, who worked with the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBDR). Deeply committed to the improvement of disadvantaged Belizeans, Mr. Cacho endowed the University with $250,000 BZD as a way to increase access to a UB education. This fund will provide significant financial aid in the coming years to students enrolled in their final two years of their undergraduate studies to help them complete their education at the University. It is awarded based on financial need, academic excellence and specific program enrolment in the areas of Science and Technology.
In the same spirit of opening the doors of opportunity, the University also awarded its second cohort of students with bursaries from the University’s Endowment Fund. Each bursary is tenable for one academic year and covers tuition only for twelve (12) credits per semester. These four (4) students – Olivia Sho, Jason Reyes, Jamilet Campos and Steven Palma – were selected based on financial need and academic excellence.
UB hosts Naming Ceremony in honour of the late Gian Gandhi, S.C.
The University of Belize (UB) held a Naming Ceremony for its Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS) Building at its Belize City Campus on Friday, October 25th, 2019. University Leadership, Faculty, staff, administration, government officials, students, community members and family members attended this historic ceremony to celebrate the legacy of Belize’s late and former Solicitor General and Senior Crown Counsel, Gian Gandhi, who made a significant financial contribution to the University to be placed in an endowment fund. Guests included Financial Secretary – Joseph Waight, who gave a moving tribute to Mr. Gandhi, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize – Mr. G.A. Harrison Pilgrim and Commissioners and staff of the International Financial Services Commission.
Keynote address was given by Mr. Gandhi’s niece, Ms. Shefalika Gandhi and her two children, who noted Mr. Gandhi’s ardent and effective advocacy for education and for the role of the University of Belize in developing Belize.
UB Wins ATLIB Volleyball Championship
The University of Belize’s Jaguars won the national men’s volleyball championship organized by the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) at the San Pedro High School auditorium on Ambergris Caye on Saturday, October 26. The UB men prevailed over the Northern regional champions, the Corozal Junior College Scorpions, 2-0 in the finals.
Dean Froylan Gilharry of the host, San Pedro Junior College, presented team trophies and individual medals to the champions, sub-champions and third place winners. UB’s Edgar Martinez won the Most Valuable Player award.
The President, Professor Sankat extends his sincere congratulations to our Winning Men’s team and also commends our Women’s team on their efforts.
Engineering Students Build Strong Bridges in Macaroni Competition
The University hosted its 11th Annual Macaroni Competition on October 24th and 25th at our Engineering Campus on Freetown Road in Belize City. The competition, which challenges our student teams to apply engineering theories and concepts when designing framed structures given limitations in time, size, type of materials and specifications, saw 10 student groups, each having four students, competing for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.
The team of Karina Ayala, Wilber Cardoza, Christopher Heredia and Nicholas Ozaeta won first place with their bridge design weighing at 1.4752 Kg, with an efficiency rating of 1.71 and withstood a load of 31.90kg, to score top marks of 61.23 pts. Second place winners with a score of 59.35 pts were Jefferson Spencer, Steve Anthony, Jamie Pook and Varsha Landaverde, weighing at 1.6333Kg, with an efficiency rating of 1.54. It withstood a load of 33.90kg. Finally, Amiri Hoare, Andres Grajalez, Martin Sanabria and Jamir Smith built a box trestle design that weighed 1.6667kg with an efficiency rating of 1.51. It withstood a load of 33.90kg to score 57.60 pts – the competition third place winners.
The first and second place winners will represent UB and Belize at the “XXI Concurso De Diseno Y Construccion De Modelos Estructurales, VII Su Fase Internacional”, hosted by the Instituto Tecnologico De Chetumal (ITCH) in Quintana Roo Mexico in November.
UB Hosts Second Caribbean Studies Forum
On October 10th -12th, the University of Belize’s Department of Languages & Litera¬ture in the Faculty of Education & Arts hosted the 2nd International Conference of the Caribbean Studies Forum. The event, born of a collaboration between East Carolina University and the University of Belize), took place over the three days at the central campus in the former bookstore. The conference aimed to expand awareness of Caribbean cultures, provide a platform for interdisciplinary Caribbean Studies research projects, connect a diverse body of academics (North-South and South-South), and promote the field of interdisciplinary Caribbean Studies in general; it showcased diverse responses to the call for papers under the theme: Writing/Righting/Rite-ing/Wright-ing the Caribbean | csf.ub.edu.bz |.
The conference featured over thirty local and international presenters of high-calibre from at least fifteen different academic institutions organised into eleven differently-themed panel sessions. Prof. Seodial Frank Deena (East Carolina University) introduced the Caribbean Studies Forum and Dr Janeen Quiroz (University of Belize) gave the keynote address on the subject of multicultural approaches to education. Also, through the gracious assistance of the National Heritage Library, video recordings of the conference presentations are available as a permanent record and reference for students and the general public.
UB and EJC signs Memorandum of Agreement
On October 15, 2019 the University of Belize (UB) and Ecumenical Junior College (EJC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) for Institutional Cooperation. The purpose of this Agreement is to define the areas for academic cooperation, collaboration and interaction between the two institutions.
The objective of this Agreement is to enhance the learning opportunities available to students and residents of Dangriga and surrounding areas the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Bachelor Degree in Primary Education and Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education, beginning January 2020.
It is expected that through this agreement, EJC will service as a satellite center for UB and both institutions will use their efforts and resources to strengthen their partnership in the common interest.
The President congratulates Deans Dr. Nestor Chan and Dr. Bernard Watler and their respective Faculties, Faculty of Education and Arts and Faculty of Management and Social Sciences for this creative effort.
UB Students Celebrate World Food Day
The University of Belize’s Central Farm Campus participated in World Food day celebrated under the theme “Our Actions Are Our Future, Healthy Diets, #zerohungerworld.” Activities were organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ladyville Technical High School and hosted in Ladyville. The UBCF used the opportunity to promote the importance of agriculture education and the need to empower our youths to be innovative contributors to the sustainable development of agriculture in Belize.
Ambassador of Venezuela H.E. Gerardo Argot Visits UB
H.E. Gerardo Argot, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, paid a courtesy call to the President of UB on October 18, 2019. He used the opportunity to speak on the current situation in Venezuela. He also spoke on the opportunities for the UB to collaborate with Venezuelan universities in various areas. The President urged the Ambassador to consider sending Venezuelan professionals and academics seeking English Language training to our Regional Language Center (RLC).
President Meets with Representatives from University of Guyana
The Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Lawrence Lewis and Dr. Elroy Charles, Head of Agriculture Department and Senior Lecturer of the University of Guyana (UG) visited the UB and the UB Central Farm Campus (UBCF) to explore opportunities for collaboration between UG’s Faculty of Agriculture and UBCF. They were part of the CARICOM members who participated in the recent meeting of Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) hosted by the Government of Belize – Ministry of Agriculture.
UB Participates in Fifth Binational Seminar in ECOSUR, Quintana Roo
The Binational Seminar Mexico-Belize was developed to enhance Academic Cooperation between Mexico and Belize with the long-term goal of institutionalizing education and research exchanges between academic institutions of both countries. This year the Embassy of Mexico in Belize (EMBAMEX), The College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR-Chetumal), the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO), the University of Belize (UB), and the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco (UJAT) came together again to organize the 5th Binational Seminar themed “Water as a strategic resource: multidisciplinary perspectives for a shared region” held at Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico at ECOSUR-Chetumal Campus. on October 23-25, 2019.
UB students and a lecturer from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Belize were presenters at the 5th Binational Seminar. The presentations were from the following thematic areas: Watershed Management Water and Human Health, Water Governance, and Water Treatment. Pparticipants from UB were Ms. Lysandra Chan and Ms. Yi-Jui Chen who are recent UB graduates from the Bachelor Degree in Biology Program; Mr. Nathaniel Castillo is a UB student in the Bachelor Degree in Natural Resource Management Program; and Mr. Josué Aké is a lecturer in the Department of Science of the Faculty of Science and Technology.
The President congratulated Mr. Ake and his students for representing the UB at the Regional Conference.
President Sankat also attended the Meeting of Mexican Rectors/Heads of Institutions in the planning of the Binational Seminar Series that was chaired by the Mexican Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Carlos Quesnel. President also spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Seminar on the increasing challenges for water in the 21st century.
Agriculture Investment Mission 2019 from the ROC (Taiwan) /Agriculture Development in Belize
The President of the University of Belize, on the invitation of BELTRAIDE, moderated a session for the visiting delegation, representatives from the Republic of China (Taiwan) on investment opportunities for food and agriculture in Belize. At the opening panel the panellists were Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE; Mr. Lincoln Blake, Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce; Mr. Jose Alpuche, CEO, Ministry of Agriculture and Mr. Andy Sutherland, Directorate General for Foreign Trade.
Kun Shan University Visits UB
Representatives of Kun Shan University of the Republic of China (Taiwan) paid a courtesy call on the President of the UB on October 28, 2019. Kun Shan University signed an agreement with UB in 2016. The President and the delegation led by Dean, Office of Continuing and Extended Education, Mr. Bill Chuang, spoke at length on how the agreement shared can be made to work to bring value to both institutions. Mr. Chuang was accompanied by Nai-Hui Yeh (Ann), Chief of the International Exchange Division and Virginia Ya-Chen, First Secretary of the Embassy of Republic of China (Taiwan).
Coastal Awareness Week Opened at UB
The Coastal Awareness Week 2019 was opened at the University of Belize on October 29, 2019. At the meeting, hosted by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, of which Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts serves as a Board Member, our Faculty and students made a poster presentation. They were as follows: Mr. Ian Oliva, Ms. Esther Hernandez, Mr. Kelvin Requena and Ms. Carrisa Sabido.
This was also the first occasion our new Conference Center was rented for a function. Dr. Latha Thamas and her students planted plants for the Conference Center.
The President congratulated and thanks our students for showcasing their research at this Conference and once more saluted Dr. Latha Thomas and her students for beautifying our Campus at Belmopan.
UB Lecturer Attends Global Conference on Business and Economics in Turkey
Ms. Cindy Thompson, Lecturer in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, was part of the Global Conference on Business and Economics (GLOBE) which was represented by 23 plus countries. This conference took place during the period of September 30 – October 3, 2019 at Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, Turkey. There were various workshops, keynote speeches, refereed presentations and other academic activities.
Students Install Signs of Animals on Campus
Twelve new, colourful and educational Animal signs are placed in UB Belmopan Campus as part of the Campus beautification efforts. The signs on birds in the campus and on animals named after the buildings on the campus are part of student projects for the class of Natural History of Vertebrates (BIOL3352) taught by Dr. Latha Thomas. This is part of the University’s beautification efforts and aimed at educating the community on the animal biodiversity of the Campus and Belize and their importance.
The President congratulates Dr. Thomas for her steady work on the beautifying the Campus.
Climate Change Adaptation Planning for the Coastal Zone Award Ceremony
The University of Belize Environmental Research Institute (ERI) with support from the Inter-American Development Bank facilitated a training program, which sought to build local capacity on the management of natural and climate hazards along the Belize’s coastal zone by providing awareness and knowledge on the planning, design and execution of risk-resilient, coastal protection infrastructure and sustainable land-use policy and practices.
On November 7, 2019 an award ceremony was held to recognized the participants. A total of 28 participants attended the module(s) with three (3) participants receiving distinction. Plaques were issued to the three top performers, these are Tristan Usher, Erwin Contreras, and Lucien Chung.
This was a historic occasion where the UB ERI is leading the effort to train and educate our professionals in Coastal Zone Engineering and Management. The President was gratified to see the many Engineers, Architects and Scientists who took the training. He was very pleased to see a few Belizean graduates of UWI’s Faculty of Engineering, St. Augustine, where a graduate program in Coastal Zone Engineering was developed and that one of the Lecturers from the Program, Dr. Deborah Villarroel Lamb delivered a number of teaching modules on Coastal Engineering at the workshop. The President thanked the IDB and its Belizean Country Representative, Dr. Cassandra Rogers for its support, and the UB-ERI for its foresight, planning and execution of this important area of training!
UB Welcomes Ladyville Technical High School
Fourth Form Students from Ladyville Technical High School visited the University of Belize on October 30, 2019. They were warmly welcomed by Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Dr. Martin Cuellar, faculty, staff and students. They learned about the opportunities UB offers for their professional training and growth and also toured the campus.
Two New Sea Cucumber Journal Publications by Dr. Arlenie Rogers
For the past 7 years, Dr. Arlenie Rogers, marine researcher at the UBERI has studied various aspects of sea cucumbers in Belize. Dr. Rogers has published her research results with a team of international researchers and with UB B.Sc. Biology students. Her two most recent publications published this semester and last semester are summarized here.
Two new publications
1. Earthquake induces mass spawning event in two coral-reef in coral-reef sea cucumber species in Belize. Hidrobiolica 29(1): 49-51. This paper documents for the first time, magnetic influence on echinoderm reproduction. https://hidrobiologica.izt.uam.mx/index.php/revHidro/article/view/1371/926
2. Change in length and weight of Holothuria mexicana sea cucumber during processing. Journal of Caribbean Environmental Science and Renewable Energy 2: 1-8. This paper discusses the quality of processed sea cucumber and the percent of water lost during processing before being exported and their implications for illegal fishing. https://cesarejournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/CESaRE-Detailed-v2i1-Rogersetal.pdf
Primary and High School Mathematics Teachers Learn about Connecting Concepts and Mathematical Visualization
The Mathematics Department at UB hosted a one-day workshop for primary and high school teachers on Friday, November 1st, 2019 at UB’s Jaguar Auditorium. Dr. Joel Helms (Fulbright scholar) facilitated a workshop on ‘Connecting Mathematical Concepts with Procedures’ from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and Mr. Andres Ramirez (Full-time lecturer) facilitated a workshop on ‘Mathematical Visualization’ from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. There were 47 primary school teachers in attendance at the morning session with an additional 13 participants which included UB Math Education students and a few high school teachers who sat in to observe. There were also 14 high school teachers as well 6 UB Math Education/Math students attending the afternoon session. This is the first in what is expected to be an annual event as well as a precursor to a weeklong workshop being planned for next Summer. Details of the Summer 2020 workshop will be made available as soon as possible.
UB Partners with Silver Oaks Consulting to Deliver Online Courses
The University of Belize in collaboration with the Silver Oaks Hospitality Solutions Consultancy have teamed up to offer a first ever of its kind in Belize, online self-paced courses in Hotel Finance for Accountants, Industrial Controllers, who want to become fully prepared in Hotel Accounting and Finance, and Hotel Finance for Non Finance Managers for General Managers, Heads of Departments/Managers who want to gain a better understanding of their operation financials.
These courses are designed to bridge the gaps between theoretical school learning and the financial reality operating hotels are facing daily. These short courses are self-instructional modules that will run for a 6 to 12-week period beginning 2020. Hotel Finance will run for 8 to 12 weeks while Hotel Finance for Non-Financial Managers will take courses for 6 weeks. These courses are designed to meet each participant’s needs through a mix of online course, experience sharing, real life discussions, lectures, spot-on coaching and mentoring that are geared towards empowering the participants!
So for those wishing to navigate the financial world with ease, wanting to become a trusted financial leader desiring the ability to speak and understand the business language of hotels and possessing the ability to make a difference, these courses are for you.
For more information, please contact Dr. Frieda Palma at email@example.com. The President is looking forward to a successful partnership with the private sector in this endeavour.
IICA Workshop on Sustainable Development
The President congratulated the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture for its workshop on Bioeconomy led by Dr. Elizabeth Hodson de Jaramillo of Colombia and an international Consultant for Biotechnologies. The workshop focused on “Bioeconomy: The best choice for the Sustainable Development Goals.” The President endorses this developmental strategy and Dr. Hodson presented a copy of her book on “Bio-economy New Framework for Sustainable Growth in Latin America”. The President wishes to share with you Dr. Hodson’s presentation entitled, “Bioeconomy: The best choice for the Sustainable Development Goals” available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/bioeconomy-the-best-choice-for-the-sdg/, and thank Mr. Willie Chan of IICA for inviting him to meet with Dr. Hodson.
President Meets with Representatives from OAS
The President met with David Benavides, Director and Paola Siera, Social Projects Officer from Organization of American States that are managing projects on the Adjacency Zone. The courtesy visit was to explain opportunities for research on matters pertaining to the Adjacency Zone and on opportunities for training students to the University level. We expect to hear more of this.
Update on Medical School Building
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Dr. George Gough, CEO of the Ministry of Health and Chair of the Belize Medical Council, Mr. Francis Burns and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun toured the construction site for the Medical School Building and reviewed progress to date. The contractor, Mr. Manuel Iraheta was also engaged and overall the works are progressing very satisfactorily with building completion expected in the next three months.
About UB’s Endowment Bursary
In 2017, the University of Belize (UB) established its Endowment Fund (UBDEF), which provides the private sector, UB’s partners and the general public with an avenue to contribute to the development of the nation. This fund allows UB to improve its services, infrastructure and in particular, to provide financial assistance to its students with the aim to access a UB education.
With the establishment of this fund, the University launched its Annual President’s Fete, where all the proceeds raised is used for student bursaries. The First President’s Fete held in September 2017 provided financial support to five (5) students in the 2018-2019 academic year. Students are selected based on financial need and academic excellence. The bursary is tenable for one academic year and covers University tuition.
And this year, the proceeds from last year’s Second Annual President’s Fete has provided four (4) students at the Bachelor level with the opportunity to complete their studies at the University this year!
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Belize, would like to congratulates each student on being awarded with the second installment of the Endowment Fund Bursary. The University wishes you continued success throughout your University career and professional journey.
The Third Annual President’s Fete featuring renowned singer Rossy War of Peru, backed up by Gilharry 7 and Super Furia Bands, will occur on the 26th of October, 2019 at the Muffles High School Auditorium in Orange Walk at 9:00 p.m..
If you are interested in contributing to the UBDEF, arrangements can be made by contacting the Office of the President at 822-1000, ext 193.
The President, Faculty and Staff of the University of Belize and the four (4) recipients of the UBDEF Bursary would like to thank all those who contributed to the fete through sponsorship and purchasing tickets, which was held on September 1st, 2018, from which all proceeds from the Fete were used to fund these four bursaries.
Friday, October 11th, the University of Belize (UB) awarded fifteen outstanding students currently enrolled at the University of Belize with scholarships and bursaries for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Under the Lorenzo Cacho Scholarship – the first of its kind for the University – UB welcomed its first cohorts of recipients. Eleven students were provided with full scholarships and stipends to complete their studies at the National University. These students are – Shantel Andrews, Zair Aragon, Catherine Camal, Roberto Can, Cassandra Lewis, Elsie Moralez, Saijah McNab, Ian Oliva, Alson Ovando, Elder Quewell and Thaina Vasquez.
This scholarship fund was established in honor of Mr. Cornelius Cacho, a Belizean economist, who worked with the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBDR). Deeply committed to the improvement of disadvantaged Belizeans, Mr. Cacho endowed the University with $250,000 BZD as a way to increase access to a UB education. This fund will provide significant financial aid in the coming years to students enrolled in their final two years of their undergraduate studies to help them complete their education at the University. It is awarded based on financial need, academic excellence and specific program enrollment in the areas of Science and Technology.
In the same spirit of opening the doors of opportunity, the University also awarded its second cohort of students with bursaries from the University’s Endowment Fund. Each bursary is tenable for one academic year and covers tuition only for twelve (12) credits per semester. These four (4) students – Olivia Sho, Jason Reyes, Jamilet Campos and Steven Palma – were selected based on financial need and academic excellence.
The UB Endowment Fund (UBDEF) was established in 2017 by the President of the University and is aimed to provide the private sector, UB’s partners and the general public with an avenue to contribute to the development of the nation. This fund allows the institution to improve services and in particular, provide support to its students through financial assistance with the aim to access a UB education. Funds for this year’s bursaries were as a result of the proceeds from last year’s Second Annual President’s Fete, which was held at the Princess Ramada and featured Oscar B, Pluto Sherington, Eljay, Gilharry 7 and Youth Connection Band.
The Third Annual President’s Fete featuring renowned singer Rossy War of Peru, backed up by Super Furia and Gilharry 7 Bands, will occur on the 26th of October, 2019 at the Muffles High School Auditorium in Orange Walk.
“The University is pleased to award these scholarships to our deserving students. Helping dedicated UB students to not only achieve their educational goals but also to contribute to Belize’s national development have been a core part of our mission,” said UB’s President Professor Sankat. “And although we help our students to meet their financial obligations through connecting them with local financial institutions and various scholarship schemes, it’s gratifying to support these students in such a direct and impactful way.”
New Students Inducted at Matriculation Ceremonies in Belmopan (September 25, 2019) and Belize City (September 26, 2019) with Hon. Tracey Taeger-Panton and Ambassador Joy Grant Respectively
The University held its Third Matriculation Ceremonies in Belmopan and Belize City. Stirring addresses were given by Hon Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce and Ambassador A. Joy Grant, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize at the Jaguar Auditorium, Belmopan Campus and Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, Belize City respectively. Both speakers exhorted students to use their time wisely in their formative years at UB. Their speeches will be published and shared with the community and general public.
The President warmly congratulated the 1, 150 new students and our total student population of 5000+ for their confidence in the University of Belize as their choice for tertiary education.
The President thanks students, their parents/guardians, the Student Government, faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees and the two distinguished speakers for making both ceremonies a resounding success.
Retreat for Senior Managers of the University – A Time to Reflect on Accomplishments for 2018/19 and Plan for the Upcoming Year 2019/20
The President held the Second Annual Retreat for Senior Managers on September 6, 2019 at the former Bookstore at the University’s main campus in Belmopan. All leaders were given an opportunity to speak on accomplishments but more importantly focused on plans for 2019-2020. There was participation from internal stakeholders including students and the UB Faculty and Staff Association. Also present was the Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
The President noted at the end that this retreat was stimulating as well as inspiring and thanked all participants for their continuing contributions to UB and the Transformational Plan.
Students Celebrate Belize’s Independence
He saluted their creativity on the theme of this year’s Independence celebration, “From Maya Grandeur to Modern Glory, Together let’s Shape the Belizean Story”. In Belize City the BLUE Society (Building Lifelong Utilitarian Experiences) held a flag raising ceremony. He commended the Student Government leaders and the faculty who may have supported their efforts.
The University also celebrated National Service Day at the Belmopan Campus on September 19, 2019. President Sankat paid tribute to the life of service of the late Rt. Hon. George Price. He brought to memory a quote from Belize’s first Prime Minister which says, “I believe that happiness consists in serving others and not oneself”. Mr. Dean Fuller of Fultec Systems Limited, was the keynote speaker, who spoke on “the importance of volunteering, philanthropy and service to others.” The ceremony was followed by a tree planting exercise and once more Dr. Latha Thomas and the Beautification Committee as well as the Environmental Club should be congratulated.
The President also represented UB at a number of Independence Celebrations as seen below.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Honorable Patrick Faber, meet with Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors to Discuss Building International Partnerships to Advance the Cause of the University of Belize (UB)
On Friday, September 20th, 2019, the University of Belize’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, along with the University’s Academic Deans and Directors addressed Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors accredited to Belize on the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. Also in attendance was the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Patrick Faber, the CEO Ms. Deborah Domingo and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
In his presentation entitled, “The Transformation at the University of Belize has begun: Opportunities and Challenges,” Professor Sankat outlined key achievements made by the University since the commencement of its strategic plan, “A Transformational Leap: Vision 2022”, in 2017. However, the thrust of the presentation was focused on building international partnerships and discovering areas of interest for collaboration to achieve the University’s future initiatives, which include staff development programs to the PhD level in selected fields, new program development including joint/dual degrees between institutions, joint research and the application for research grants, infrastructural development for new teaching and learning facilities, new laboratories, staff/student services, residences and increased opportunities for cultural/sporting/academic exchanges so as to enhance student experiences.
Professor Sankat also highlighted the vital need to support its proposed new programs. This included programs in Medicine, Music and Engineering, for example.
The President was grateful for the support of Hon. Patrick Faber, Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for making this presentation possible.
Students Kickoff the Semester
Each year, the University holds its Annual Semester Kickoff/ Opportunities fair, which makes returning to school easier, especially for new students. The event is made to explore student opportunities such as study abroad programs, get involved on campus, and discover how to get involved with student life. The opportunities fair allowed UB students to explore student clubs, organizations and leadership programs.
Companies such as Fultec systems, promoted purchasing academic supplies; There was the opportunity to learn about campus dining options with the food stalls that were available throughout the course of the day. The fair allowed students to access healthy lifestyle options. DFC also presented, educating students on academic loans and payment plans. Insurance Companies such as Atlantic and ICB were on site promoting special insurance policies for our students. Many more displayed their businesses and offered one-day promotions to the University of Belize Students, and staff.
The President thanks Dean Dr. Martin Cuellar for organizing this event.
UB Signs MOU with University of Texas at Tyler
The President of the University of Texas (UT Tyler) at Tyler, Dr. Michael Tidwell, was warmly received by President Sankat and some senior managers, on his first visit to the University of Belize on September 30, 2019. Following a brief welcome ceremony, President Tidwell was invited to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UB and UT Tyler and this was done in the new Conference Centre and in the presence of a cross section of faculty, staff and students particularly from the History Department. It is expected that this MOU will allow for an exchange of students and faculty between our two institutions and support for curriculum development for example in the new program in Archaeology. Other areas of collaboration were clearly identified with building capacity at UB at the fore. The President of UT Tyler announced, to a round of applause, the award of two full scholarships to two new UB graduates to pursue their Master degrees at UT Tyler.
UB and Ecumenical Junior College Meet to Plan Collaboration
President Sankat along with Dr. Bernard Watler, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS); Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Chair of Outreach, Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA); and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer journeyed to Ecumenical Junior College (EJC) in Dangriga Town on September 27, 2019 and met with Dean Dr. Karen Martinez and other lecturers of EJC. They were very warmly received by the Dean and her colleagues. Discussions surrounded the delivery of some programs from the FEA and FMSS in Dangriga through EJC.
The outcome of the meeting was that a Memorandum of Agreement will be signed with EJC on October 15, 2019.
President Sankat Meets with Representatives from World Bank
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with representatives from the World Bank, Frederico Pedroso, Akshat Chaturvedi and Philip Barutha, on October 2, 2019. They are engaging with the Ministry of Works in Belize with a project on Transport Asset Management. This preliminary meeting was held to explore the possibilities of building capacity at the University of Belize in this area. The focus was on knowledge and information sharing for outreach programs which UB can lead. We look forward to further developments on this matter. The World Bank representatives were accompanied by Mr. Selwyn King from the Social Investment Fund.
UB’s President Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat conferred with ‘Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning’
On 11th September 2019, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) conferred the President of University of Belize (UB) with the title of Honorary Fellow during an awards ceremony held at the Ninth Annual Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
COL, an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies within Commonwealth countries, designates its Honorary Fellows by their outstanding contributions to education.
Professor Emeritus Sankat, who has served the Caribbean for the past forty-one (41) years, was awarded this distinction based on his long and distinguished service to the advancement of quality higher education in the Commonwealth, particularly for his contributions in the area of agro-innovation and agribusiness within the Caribbean and for his ability to increase student access to higher education through online learning policies, establishing blended learning initiatives and advocating for the use of ICT and eLearning.
UB Future Pharmacists Celebrate World Pharmacy Day
World Pharmacists Day is celebrated on September 25 each year. This year’s theme was, “Safe and effective medicines for all.” To commemorate the day, Mrs. Thurton (Senior Pharmacy Lecturer) and Mrs. Palacio (Pharmacy technician) along with students in the associate degree program planned activities at FEA campus, Belize City. The activities included, a pharmaceutical display and information booth, “brown bag” activity (individuals take in their medications and the pharmacists provide education regarding the medication), and blood pressure and glucose checks. Brodies Pharmaceutical, Pharmalat, and Biomeds also participated in the display and information booth.
The President congratulates the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Companies that lent their support.
UB Welcomes International Students who will be Pursuing English as a Second Language at the Regional Language Centre (RLC)
The University of Belize welcomed 52 students that came to the Regional Language Center to pursue an English as a Second Language Certificate and experience the Belizean diversity. The students are from Belize, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Republic of China (Taiwan), and South Korea.
President Sankat Launches 3rd President’s Endowment Fund Fete in Orange Walk
President Sankat together with Dr. Nestor Chan, Dean of Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA); Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer and Ms. Rosalia Lopez, Secretary of FEA in Orange Walk, journeyed to the Mayor’s Office in Orange Walk and launched the Third Annual President’s Endowment Fete – Rossy War in Concert backed by Gilharry 7 together with Super Furia. Mayor Kevin Bernard and his office have offered their full support to the University of Belize to make this event a grand, successful and enjoyable event.
Also the President and his team were able to secure the sponsorship of Cuello’s Distillery and we expect that the famous Caribbean Rum and other beverages will be at the fete. The team was warmly received and supported by Ms. Froila Adelma Cuello Osorio, who is one of the Directors of the organization and a proud UB alumna.
Additionally, President Sankat along with Chairman of Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim met with representatives of Love FM and the General Manager of Dibary Stores, Mr. Walter Campos, and were assured of their support for this event.
Tickets are available at the President’s Office, Belmopan; Cuello’s Office, Orange Walk; UB Accounts Office, FMSS, Belize City; Lands Department (Jamilia Requena), San Ignacio; and Dibary stores nationwide.
We are looking forward to be entertained by the singing star from Peru, Rossy War and her troupe at the Muffles Auditorium on October 26, 2019.
Signing with Students from National Tsing Hua University, ROC (Taiwan)
On August 12th, 2019, the Taiwan National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) Belize Group from National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan met with Student Government members from the University of Belize (UB). They discussed partnering with students from UB to promote and participate in camps in the rural areas and in joining them in their summer camps. They also discussed possible cultural exchanges between the two universities. The Taiwan NTHU Belize Group is a student initiated and self-sustained not-for-profit organized group aimed at improving Belize’s primary and secondary education in rural areas.
The University is pleased with these students and grateful for the service they have provided to deserving Belizean communities over the past nine years. We all look forward to UB Students volunteering to work with their Taiwanese university student counterparts.
President attends 114 Meeting of CSUCA in Managua, Nicaragua
President Sankat attended the 114th Ordinary Session of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centro Americano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council) in Managua, Nicaragua that was held at National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-M) on August 19-20, 2019. At this meeting several important topics were discussed including the ranking of universities in Central America and the research output and impacts from our Central American universities. The President will be sharing these findings at the next meeting of the Academic Council of UB. A partnership agreement was also signed by some of the universities with HUAWEI Technologies to help build ICT capacity in some of our universities.
This was President’s Sankat last meeting as President of CSUCA. The Rector of the University of Salvador, Dr. Roger Armando Arias Alvarado, was appointed as the new CSUCA President and Professor Sankat handed over the mantle of leadership to him.
President was thanked for his services to CSUCA and was especially recognized by UNAN-Managua, UNAN-Leon and National University of Engineering (Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria) for his thoughtful Presidency of CSUCA.
The Partnership between UNAN-Managua and UB Deepens
The partnership between National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-Managua) and its Faculty of Medical Sciences together with the University of Belize is deepening. This follows the decision at the last meeting of the UB Board of Trustees to approve the introduction of the Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor in Surgery (MBBS) at UB effective August 1, 2020. In preparing for this, President Sankat together with Dr. George Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health and head of the Medical Council of Belize; and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer visited and engaged Dr. Freddy Meynard, Dean; Dr. Margarita Pérez, Deputy Dean and faculty members of the Faculty Medical Sciences in UNAN-Managua in deep discussions. It is expected that UNAN-Managua will begin the capacity development at UB by training the potential lecturers in Medicine. This will happen after the official agreement is signed.
The UB Community should note the construction of the Medical School building at the Belmopan Campus has begun. It is being built by IRAH Construction of Belmopan.
The President and Mr. Kantun further engaged the Board of Directors of Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on a Memorandum of Agreement that has to be signed so as to facilitate the clinical training of our student doctors in the hospital in Belize City. There is much happening as we strive to put the pieces together to make this much anticipated program in Medicine a success.
UB Graduate Carolee Ysaguirre Staine Pays Tribute to Dr. Maxine McKay
On August 8th, 2019, the President of the University, Professor Sankat, received a testimonial from one of its 2019 graduates, Ms. Carolee Ysaguirre on her former lecturer, Dr. Maxine McKay. In her letter to the President, Ms. Ysaguirre said Dr. McKay played “a very instrumental part of [her] educational attainment at the University of Belize,” and it is in this vein, Ms. Ysaguirre wanted to honor Dr. McKay. She requested the President to have her testimonial in this issue of the President’s Desk as a way of thanking Dr. McKay for her contribution to her life as well as countless other students, whose lives she has touched and continue to touch.
The President on behalf of all our Academic and Administrative Staff, appreciates such expressions from our students/graduates.
My name is Carolee Ysaguirre Staine and I am a recent graduate of the University of Belize. I am writing on behalf of the many students who have attained their educational status in the teaching arena under the tutelage of Dr. Maxine McKay. Dr. McKay is a highly professional education veteran. She has been a very instrumental part of my educational attainment from Ladyville Technical High School to the University of Belize. Throughout the years, she has instilled creativity, compassion, and critical thinking in her students. She not only divulges information, but she dedicates her time (on weekends, holidays and long after everyone has gone home), effort and energy to her students, whether in or outside of the classroom. Her passion and drive for success and excellence in her students makes her a truly remarkable human being. She demonstrates resilience, will power, undeniable commitment and professional disposition at all times. She is a committed and dedicated individual who never closes the door of opportunity for her excellence and that of her students. She has always taught us that our successes are created through meaningful relationships, hard work, honesty, respect and the drive to reach our highest potential. She has worn many hats in her professional journey from being an educator in secondary institutions where she touched many lives with educational and life skills necessary for potential and growth, to becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of Belize. Her role as the Internship for the Faculty of Education and Arts has led almost all; if not all of the interns under her guidance to become successful during their theoretical and practical journey. Her flamboyant and colorful career has led her to serve in several other project-based activities within and outside of the University of Belize. For example, the student exchange program from Bridgewater State University has been very successful under her guidance. University of Belize students are granted the opportunity to experience education through a different culture, all because of the backing and leadership from Dr. McKay, she is simply an outstanding educator, and woman. Because of her passion as a student-centered and innovative educator who continually seeks to improve learning and school culture, I am therefore asking you to kindly feature her in your bulletin as a way of thanking her for her contribution to mine as well as the countless other students’ educational path while at the University of Belize and for the many lives that she has touched and continue to touch. She is not boastful, so many will never know the extent of her commitment to others, even when she leaves herself last, if there was ever someone who should be honored for their stellar commitment to others and education in this Century it should be Dr. Maxine McKay.
UB’s Danladi Chiroma Husaini Published Two Research Article in the Latin American Scientific Journal, SciELO
On August 15th and 29th, 2019, UB’s Danladi Chiroma Husaini – lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, published two research article in SciELO, a scientific journal which provides scientific communication needs of developing countries in Latin America and an efficient way to increase visibility and access to scientific literature.
His first article, entitled ‘Perception of Harm and Benefits of Cannabis Use Among Adolescents from Latin America and Caribbean,’ can be read at
His second article, entitled ‘Perception of Harms, Benefits and Intention to Use Marijuana Within the Context of Regulatory Changes in Belize,’ can be read at
UB awards 45 students with Athletic Scholarships
At this year’s ceremony, forty-five (45) students from across all faculties both at the Associate and Bachelor levels were recipients of Student Athlete Scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year. Of these, seventeen (17) were females and twenty-seven (27) were males, where nineteen (19) were returning students and twenty-five (25) were new students. Scholarships, which were given based on academic and athletic abilities, were in Basketball, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Track and Canoeing.
At the ceremony all scholarship recipients signed their contract agreements which, included stipulations for good behavior, good grades, and community service.
The President thanks the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Martin Cuellar, and the students for their success in this arena of sports.
Mr. Deryck Satchwell Speaks at Sixth Annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha
On Tuesday, September 3rd, students and lecturers in the University of Belize, Faculty of Education and Arts filled the Jaguar Auditorium to capacity for the 6th annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha delivered by preeminent Belizean educator, Deryck Satchwell. Centering his presentation on literacy and discourse in Belize, and drawing upon his own linguistic background and many years of experience as an English language teacher, Mr. Satchwell opined that a more adequate approach to language teaching is needed in the Belizean school system in order to respond to the needs of our multilingual society. In the lively Q&A session that followed the presentation, audience members raised several thought-provoking matters such as the importance of one’s linguistic identity and the relevance of traditional education in this technology driven age.
Named in honour of Dr. Silvaana Udz, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education and culture in Belize, the annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha Series introduces students to noteworthy authors, poets, educators, and other intellectuals from Belize and abroad, so that they may be inspired to pursue a life of letters and critical reflection.
UQROO Students Visit and Experience UB
On September 9th, Students from the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) visited the University of Belize for a Week Long Cultural Exchange that ended on September 14, 2019. The purpose of the exchange was to increase the students understanding of Belize’s history, culture, education and nature through interactions which would enhance their English also through a cultural immersion. As part of the Cultural Immersion, students had the opportunity to visit Maya ruins and different tourist locations. The students were accompanied by Ms. Sonia Sansores the Director of the Language and Education Department, UQROO, Mexico.
Belize Anthropologist Launches Book
On the 11th September 2019, Belizean Anthropologist, Dr. Lyra Spang, launched her book “Bite Yu Finga!” and had an engaging discussion about the exploration of how we as Belizeans identify what Belizean food is and the role of tourism in culinary innovation. She also spoke on the research methods she engaged in in order to finish her doctoral dissertation engaging the history and anthropology students of the University of Belize at the George Price Center.
Dr. Spang also donated a copy of her book to the UB library.
Central Farm Campus Hosts Climate Change Workshop
On September 19th 2019, the University of Belize Central Farm Campus hosted a climate change workshop which was sponsored by International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF, Republic of China (Taiwan)). The workshop served to inform Belizean farmers, extension officers and bachelor students on the events of a regional workshop recently held in St. Kitts and Nevis where a delegation of five Belizeans participated.
Workshop facilitators included Dr. Carlos Itza and Mr. Daniel Juan, both lecturers at UBCF, who delivered presentations on current and projected impacts of climate change and its link to food security, regional farmers’ best practices, water harvesting and use efficiency, international organizations’ research and outcomes in tackling climate change and potential solutions for Belizean farmers.
The University thanks ICDF for its continued collaboration in promoting Belizean food security and capacity building.
UB ERI staff are all First Aid Certified
The entire UB ERI staff recently completed training in First Aid by professional instructor and Science Director (Marine), Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts. All staff including several student volunteers were trained in various emergency response training, including Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillation (AED) and Diving First Aid. Given the heavy scientific research activities carried out by ERI researchers and student volunteers, the need for emergency response is a priority. Fortunately, there has never been the need to act on any emergency response by any of its staff and if there is the need, everyone is now prepared.
Completion of Students’ Gazebo
The President wishes to salute the contribution of the previous Student Government in Belmopan for collaborating with the Administration in making this project a success. We are witnessing how quickly our students are using these facilities.
Front Entrance Paving – Belmopan
Punta Gorda Campus – Students Beautifying the Campus
The President wishes to congratulate Mr. Roy Polonio, the Campus Administrator, his staff and especially the students of PG for their beautification efforts and lifting the aesthetics of the PG Campus.
Water, Drainage and Sewage – Belmopan Campus
The President wishes to advise that Mr. Francis Burns and his Team from the Department of Physical Plant, continue to work assiduously to treat with water and sewage challenges we have been having on the south side of the Belmopan Campus – buildings like the Jaguar, Scarlet Macaw and Jabiru. New pumps with electrical wiring and plumbing have been installed to connect water tanks that were not in use for several years so as to alleviate water disruption which we have been experiencing. New toilet fixtures etc. are being installed in the Jaguar building, to replace fixtures for which parts were not available. A contractor has been brought in to build new drain fields to treat with effluents. This we hope will alleviate the unpleasant odours around some buildings of the Campus. Over the recent past a contractor was also brought in to treat with the leach field in the centre of the FEA Campus in Belize City.
Sewage – FEA, Belize City
These are all challenging issues which Mr. Burns and his Team are working steadily to address. The President appreciates and thanks them for their work which is in progress – not glamorous but necessary, and thanks all of the University Community for their patience in this matter.
“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” Martin Luther King Jr.
On Friday, September 20th, 2019, the University of Belize’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, along with the University’s Academic Deans and Directors addressed Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors accredited to Belize on the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. Also in attendance was the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Patrick Faber and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Belize, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
In his presentation entitled, “The Transformation at the University of Belize has begun: Opportunities and Challenges,” Professor Sankat outlined key achievements made by the University since the commencement of its strategic plan, A Transformational Leap: Vision 2022, in 2017. However, the thrust of the presentation was focused on building international partnerships and discovering areas of interest for collaboration to achieve the University’s future initiatives, which include staff development programs to the PhD level in selected fields, new program development including joint/dual degrees between institutions, joint research and the application for research grants, infrastructural development for new teaching and learning facilities, new laboratories, staff/student services, residences and increased opportunities for cultural/sporting/academic exchanges so as to enhance student experiences.
Professor Sankat also highlighted the vital need to support its proposed new programs. This included programs in Medicine, Music and Engineering, for example.
In his conclusion, Professor Sankat noted that the UB cannot achieve the transformation on its own as it simply does not have all the resources. To this, Professor stated, “The University of Belize has the vision and determination but capacity must be built through partnerships.” He spoke to the benefit of international partnerships and where assistance from the international community, international universities and funding institutions can play a vital role in advancing Belize’s higher education. President Sankat appealed to the Diplomats and financial institutions present to consider the National University of Belize in their deliberations as the development of the human capital in Belize is a pre-cursor to sustainable development of the Country.
The Minister of Education Youth, Sports and Culture, Honorable Faber, echoed the President’s appeal for assistance with building the educational system of Belize and noted how international partnerships have facilitated this in the past. He also noted that partnerships bring mutual benefits to both parties engaged; and urged the representatives gathered to consider the opportunities to be derived from engaging with the University of Belize and supporting the cause.
On 11th September 2019, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) conferred the President of University of Belize (UB) with the title of Honorary Fellow during an awards ceremony held at the Ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9) in Edinburgh, Scotland, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Open University of the United Kingdom and the 30th Anniversary of COL.
COL, an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies within Commonwealth countries, designates its Honorary Fellows by their outstanding contributions to education in areas such as: leadership and service, published work, mentorship, innovation, improving access to quality education and promoting learning for sustainable development.
Professor Emeritus Sankat, who has served the Caribbean for the past forty-one (41) years – beginning as a full time academic, Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and currently is the President of Belize’s National University, the University of Belize – was awarded this distinction based on his long and distinguished service to the advancement of quality higher education in the Commonwealth, particularly for his contributions in the area of agro-innovation and agribusiness within the Caribbean, administrative leadership and for his ability to increase student access to higher education, as in the citation given by COL attached.
The Board of Trustees, the Senior Management Team and the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Belize congratulate Professor Sankat on this remarkable achievement and for his commitment to education and the pursuit of innovation driven by applied research, for the social and economic transformation of the Caribbean.
The University of Belize (UB) Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Chapter was officially chartered on September 3rd, 2019. This historic charter makes the UB ACM Student Chapter the second ACM Chapter in Central America.
Founded in 1947, the ACM is the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society, delivering resources that advance computing as a science and a profession. The Association provides its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences, and career resources.
The UB ACM Student Chapter provides student members opportunities to play active roles in the association and its activities by organizing technical talks, learning forums, field trips, and programming contests which facilitate communication and collaboration within the university’s computer science community and with Belizean computing communities outside the institution. This enhances the University’s teaching and learning framework via the exchange of ideas among students and between students and established professionals.
Additionally, the UB ACM Student Chapter members will be able to take advantage of ACM activities and services that include the Distinguished Speakers Program, the International Collegiate Programming Contest, the Upsilon Pi Epsilon ACM Student Chapter Scholarship Award, the ACM Student Chapter Excellence Awards, Student Research Competition and get involved in the business world with workshops, resume assistance, and career-building initiatives.
According to I.T. lecturer and Faculty Sponsor –UB ACM Student Chapter, Mr. David Garcia, “Our UB students will now be able to seize the scientific and professional opportunities of this global community to ensure that they stay abreast with the ever-advancing world of technological creations and innovations because achieving and maintaining success in the dynamic field of computing requires that they stay immersed and active in the knowledge of current technological developments.”
Importantly, ACM Student members of the UB ACM Student Chapter are automatic members of the ACM Women’s Committee (ACM‐W) which through professional chapters, work to increase recruitment and retention of women in computing at the university level through professionals’ activities and projects that aim to improve the working and learning environments for women in computing.
Welcome Back from the President
The President extends a warm welcome to all our new UB students and sincerely hopes that our University will facilitate your growth and development as aspiring young professionals in the service of Belize in particular. I also welcome back all returning students, wishing you a great year ahead and hope to see some of you cross the graduation stage in June 2020.
To all our Academics and some of our Administrative staff who took vacation in the recent months, let me extend my welcome back and wish each and every one of you a productive and successful 2019-2020.
Clement Sankat, President
Flag Raising Ceremony, 1st August, 2019 – Marking our Anniversary
At a simple ceremony, Faculty, Staff, Students and Administration gathered at the Gazebo to celebrate UB’s 19th Anniversary. On a beautiful, sunny morning, the ceremony was briefly addressed by – Student Government, UB President and the Vice President. All speakers noted the strides the University has made as one University, with over 5,000 students, and from a somewhat divided beginning in 2000. The President noted that 2020 will be the 20th Anniversary celebrations and a team was being put together to plan the big event. Afterwards all gathered around the flag pole to raise the UB flag.
The Adventure Has Just Begun for our New Students
The University of Belize welcomed our new students with an interactive orientation held during July 29 – August 1, 2019. The new Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Martin Cuellar, along with his staff and the Orientation Group Leaders warmly welcomed the students and ensured they had a good time, to know the UB while learning about the rights and responsibilities of being a UB student. The President welcomed each group of students from our four faculties on the four days of orientation/welcome.
UB Welcomes New Dean of Students, Dr. Martin Cuellar
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Martin Cuellar as our new Dean of Student Affairs, effective July 8, 2019. Dr. Cuellar is no stranger to UB or to Student Development. He worked at the University of Belize in Student Development and then served as the Dean of Student Affairs from its inception in 2000 to 2006. Dr. Cuellar is a communication specialist and innovative team builder. The University welcomes his passion for student-centered culture and looks forward to him continuing our efforts in enhancing our students’ university experience and our commitment to our national University. Dr. Cuellar succeeds Dr. Jean Perriott who served as Dean of Student Affairs.
President Attends 55th Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) Meeting in Dominican Republic
The President attended the 55th Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) Meeting in the Dominican Republic as an invited Keynote Speaker. He addressed the first session of the meeting and delivered a paper on, “Enhancing Agriculture’s Contribution to the Caribbean Economy through Value Addition – Learning from a Belizean Example” (https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/enhancing-agricultures-contribution-to-the-caribbean-economy/). The President used and showcased the work of Ms. Marie Sharp, Belize’s pioneering food processor, innovator and entrepreneur and presented a sample of Belize’s prized pepper sauce to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Osmar Benitez. While at the CFCS, the President attended the meeting of CFCS’s Board of Directors and meeting of Caribbean Council of Higher Education in Agriculture (CACHE). As a precursor to this event, President visited and interviewed Ms. Marie Sharp at her office and factory in Melinda Estate, Hope Creek Village, Stann Creek.
UB and San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) Sign MOA
President Sankat; Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences Dr. Bernard Watler; Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts, Dr. Nestor Chan; and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun from the Office of Institutional Advancement visited the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) and signed an agreement with the Dean of SPJC, Mr. Gustavo Ellis. The aim of the agreement is for UB to work with SPJC to deliver some of its programmes in San Pedro. Among the programs identified for delivery are the Bachelors’ in Primary and Secondary Education, the Bachelors’ in Business Administration and in Tourism Management. It is expected that our first program will be delivered in January 2020. The team also met with a group of enthusiastic students gathered for the event and fielded their questions on admission, progression etc. Through this MOA, the UB re-enters the San Pedro Community.
Five Participate in Online Course Development through University of Mauritius and funded by COL – the Commonwealth of Learning
Five (5) participants were chosen from the University of Belize as recipients for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) scholarships to be able to fully participate in an online course based on “Developing and Teaching an Online Course (DTOC)” through the University of Mauritius and the Centre for Innovative & Lifelong Learning.
This short course was a self-instructional module that ran through the period April – June 2019 online. The participants had the opportunity to exchange with peers from different countries. The course was designed to integrate coaching and peer support as the participants designed and developed online and blended courses in Moodle.
The course was enriching and interactive, where the participants were engaged in a knowledge construction and sharing process. The course consisted of 5 units and each unit spanned over a two to three-weeks period. Each unit consisted of different kind of activities and discussion fora.
Special congratulations to Ms. Lynmara Rosado, Mrs. Xunan Quetzal, Mr. Gilroy Middleton Jr, Mrs. Thyra Arana, Mr. Yamil Montero, and Dr. Freida Palma on successfully completing the training and President thanks COL for its continued support of UB.
UB Library Helps Young Students “Read to Succeed”
On Friday, July 26th 2019, the University of Belize Library completed its 10th Annual Reading Program under the theme, “Read to Succeed”. The program was held for a period of two weeks. The underlying purpose of the program was to help primary school children between the ages of 6-12 to acquire the skills necessary to read well. Among the many benefits of the program:
• Students gathered in a friendly learning environment;
• Students were encouraged to read and discuss what was read;
• Students were encouraged to check out the children’s literature from the library’s collection; and
• Students practiced to read aloud among their peers.
This year there were seven facilitators, which included professional teachers from the community and student teachers enrolled in the Faculty of Education and Arts program at the University and they were, Mrs. Zoi Marin, Ms. Elizabeth Genus, Ms. Shaijah McNab, Mrs. Kimberely McNab, Mrs. Yonarda Cus, Ms. Alpha Ramos and Ms. Jocelyn Santos.
This community outreach initiative helps to expose students and parents to the UB Community. Thus far, the library has assisted approximately 450 students over the 10 years of the program. The President commended the Library for its community work in the Summer break and the parents/guardians for sending their young ones to the Reading camp.
Students Display Early Childhood Learning Corners
The Early Childhood Education students (Cohort One) who were enrolled in the courses: Instructional Resources for Early Childhood Education and Creative Expressions for Early Childhood Teachers, displayed the preschool learning corners as their final exam for Semester three. Corners such as: Language, Dramatic Play/Housekeeping, Quiet Library, Creative Art, Music, Block, Sand and Water, Science/Discovery and Math were displayed with the relevant and appropriate activities and materials for young children to learn through play. The course instructors, Ms. Sylvia Sabal and Ms. Natasha Mantock were impressed with the excellent work done by the students especially since most of the students, came up with this initiative. Many thanks to everyone who assisted in making this first-time event a huge success!
RENR Preparation Course Spearheaded by ODL
In an effort to boost our Belizean Nursing professionals passing the Regional Nursing Exam, the UB has been championing a preparatory course for interested nurses and prior to the Exams. This year the program is being administered by the Open and Distance Learning Unit, with 16 students registered, and it is expected that the program will grow from strength to strength, creating success for our nurses and the UB. The course is being facilitated by Dr. Marjorie Parks, former Deputy Director of Health Services and the first nurse in Belize to earn a Doctorate degree.
Researcher from the University of Kentucky Visits UB to Discuss Potential Research Collaboration with the FST
Shakira Hobbs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of
Kentucky and her Master’s student Barbara Astmann met with Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon,
Director of institutional development Mr. Arnulfo Kantun and Assistant Professor Dr. Abel
Carrias on July 16 th 2019, to discuss possible research collaboration between the two institutions.
As next steps in this potential collaboration, researchers from both parties participated in a
sample collection campaign to collect water samples from community water systems to test for
the presence of glyphosate. Glyphosate-based herbicides are among the most widely-used crop
protection products in modern agriculture leading to growing concerns about their safety, the
impact they have on our food supply and our health. The preliminary data collected will be used
by the Master’s student in her thesis and will also serve as data that can justify a larger grant that can fund research in Belize.
UQROO, Chetumal and UB Discuss Way Forward on Student Exchange
Students Engage in Archaeological Training in Partnership with UT-Tyler
UB History students engaged in Archaeology training with Dr. Thomas Guderjan of the University of Texas – Tyler at the Tz’unun archaeological site in Orange Walk district. The students had a great experience learning how excavations and archaeological research work are conducted in Belize.
Ms. April Martinez, lecturer in our History program led the students in this exciting initiative, all as a precursor to UB’s new programs in Archaeology and Anthropology.
Physical Development Across our University
The Department of Physical Plant under the leadership of Mr. Francis Burns has been busily working throughout the Summer, engaging on a number of projects across our four campuses. All with a focus on lifting our physical facilities to a new level of maintenance, upkeep, aesthetics and comfort.
The President sincerely thanks the UB teams led by Mr. Burns; the PG Campus Administrator, Mr. Roy Polonio; and the UB Central Farm Administrator (Acting) Mrs. Zoe Zetina and all the small contractors engaged on our various sites.
Conference Center Update
Punta Gorda Campus
Central Farm Campus
UB is Collaborating with National and International Partners in Microplastics Research
The University of Belize and the Department of Environment (DOE) are collaborating in research with the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) of the UK to execute a multidisciplinary program of fieldwork in Belize that aims at producing data to develop a national litter action plan focusing on reducing plastics and other waste items entering the ocean. This collaboration is made possible through the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP), a program funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). DEFRA supports developing countries across the Commonwealth to develop national litter action plans focusing on reducing plastics and other waste items entering the ocean.
As part of the collaboration, a specialized and fully equipped microplastics lab was setup under the direction of the DOE and hosted by UB. CEFAS scientists used the lab to train over fifteen individuals across public and private sector, led by DOE and UB staff.
Upon completion of the training, five UB researchers (Dr. Abel Carrias, Ms. Shareen Arnold, Mr. Eduardo Barrientos, Ms. Cecy Castillo and Dr. Joaquin Urbina) and one researcher from the DOE (Mr. Henry Sanchez) initiated research activities to investigate the presence of and to characterize types of microplastics found in the gastrointestinal tract of finfish. The research work continues and the findings will be disseminated to the public and decision makers.
UB aims to work with the DOE and CEFAS in this and other projects that will lead to meaningful scientific contributions for solving problems of national need and significance.
UB and Love Foundation Strengthen Partnership for the Benefit of the Public Service
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Mr. Arnulfo Kantun from the Office of Institutional Advancement met with Mr. Rene Villanueva Sr., Mr. Rene Villanueva Jr. and Ms. Deborah Sewell from the Love Foundation on August 5, 2019. They discussed a programme of education and training focused on, “Implementing Good Governance, Transparency, and Ethics in the Public Service.”
President, Dean Chan and Mr. Kantun Visit Orange Walk Town – 3rd Annual Endowment Fund Fundraising Fete
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Dr. Nestor Chan, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer visited Orange Walk Town on August 2, 2019 and paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Mayor of the Town Council, Mr. Ian Cal The UB is planning a major fundraising event, its 3rd Annual Endowment Fund Fete, for this location, and the team was warmly welcomed and had the assurances of support from the Deputy Mayor. The team also visited suitable venues etc that can host the event and was impressed.
A formal announcement will be made soon on the international artist who will be featured at the event. Stay tuned!
Fundraising Glow Party – Welcoming our UB Students
UB Hosts Twenty-Sixth Commencement Ceremony
UB hosted two successful graduation ceremonies in Belize City and in Punta Gorda, featuring commencement speeches by Dr. Richard A. Carvajal – the President of Valdosta State University and Mrs. Marie Sharp – Owner of Marie Sharp Fine Foods, respectively. Not only did the University confer diplomas, certificates and degrees to its largest graduating body but also, it conferred sixteen (16) MBA Degrees to its first cohort of graduate students, its first Honorary Doctoral Degree to Belize’s Governor General, His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, in recognition of his outstanding public service to Belize and it awarded the Oak Foundation of Switzerland with its inaugural Outstanding Philanthropy Award in recognition for their significant contribution to the University. The University also recognized our recently departed students, Kevin, Masaki, Jessica and Dwayne, with posthumous awards.
The President expressed his sincere thank-you to the many staff who contributed to its success and to once again congratulate all our graduates on reaching this milestone. The University is incredibly proud of each of you and we wish you all the best in all your future endeavors!
GOB Increases UB Subvention by 1 Million Dollars
The Government of Belize, in its recent budget, increased its subvention to the National University of Belize by One (1) Million Dollars per annum. The University has not seen an increase in its contribution from the Government in more than a decade and as such, this increase can be seen as a major step towards our advancement.
This increase is greatly appreciated as it will not only assist in our efforts to reduce the University’s budgetary deficits, but also, it will allow us to continue on the journey of our transformational plan.
On behalf of the University of Belize, its Students, Faculty and Staff, the President of the University, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat wishes to thank the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Education, for their steady support of Belize’s National University and looks forward to their continued partnership.
UB Launches Master in Philosophy (M. Phil) Degree
The University launched its Master of Philosophy (M. Phil) Program. This M. Phil program is a research-based program focused on knowledge creation and application without being limited by disciplinary boundaries and is being offered through all Faculties and Institutes of the University.
It represents a major step forward to enhance research and development work at the University and in its various departments. The President of the University would like to thank Professor Thippi Thiagarajan and the members of the University’s Graduate Research Committee for their excellent effort to bring this program to fruition for the new academic year.
The Master of Philosophy will commence in August 2019 and is geared towards exceptional research-driven individuals who are independent thinkers and highly motivated.
UB Early Childhood Stimulation Centre 14th Moving On Ceremony – 32 Children
UB’s Early Childhood Stimulation Centre held its 14th Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, June 27th, 2019 at the UB Jaguar Auditorium. Like all graduations, the event started with the toddlers marching down the isles in their purple and yellow gowns and caps to take their seats before a colourfully-decorated room filled with parents, guardians, family and friends. The ceremony was hosted by the Cayo District’s Educational Officer within the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Gwen Nunez- Gonzalez, who entertained the audience and allowed for an easy flow of the ceremony.
As expected, the pre-schoolers were excited and throughout the ceremony performed a variety of songs and poems that brought smiles and tears to those who were present. In addition to the graduates receiving their pre-school certificate, parents of the students were also presented with certificates of appreciation for their support, effort and motivation that contributed to the successful completion of their child’s pre-school. A total of 32 students graduated from UB’s Early Childhood Stimulation Centre – fifteen (15) boys and seventeen (17) girls.
On behalf of the University of Belize, Professor Emeritus – Clement Sankat, UB’s President, congratulates the School and the shepherding of the young ones and hopes that each child will continue to be nurtured with knowledge, values and dedication as they continue their education.
President’s Conference Centre
Progress is being made with this lovely building that is expected to be fully ready for new academic year.
UB constructs a new classroom in PG with help from BDF
This new classroom replaces the old barrack building that was demolished. It is being built under the supervision of Mr. Francis Burns of the University’s Physical Plant Department. Through his efforts as the Campus Administrator, Mr. Roy Polonio, the BDF agreed to donate free labour for this effort to enhance our PG campus. It is expected to be completed in time for the new academic year.
Despite the financial challenges, the University continues to make creative efforts to lift the PG campus.
Agreement between UB and SAVEMAR
Complementing its partnership with National Oceanography Centre (NOC), UB partnered with Save- Mar, to facilitate the University in managing its Marine Science Research Facility on Hunting Caye. UB – SAVEMAR lease agreement signing ceremony was held on Friday May 31st, 2019 at UB-PG Campus. Several invited guest from NGO’s and Government departments as well as some members from PG Advisory Council witnessed the signing ceremony.
In this capacity, Save-Mar will develop UB’s outreach facility into a first-class marine research station, where UB students, faculty, local as well as International Researchers will be given access and will be able to gain practical, hands-on training for sustainable marine practices and management; an intimate understanding of the natural marine processes that support our fishers and our economy and propel regional conservation efforts and sustainable use of our natural resources.
UB and Valdosta State University Strengthen ties
President Sankat met with Dr. Richard Carvajal – President of Valdosta State University. The meeting reflected on the long standing relationship between Valdosta and Belize, including the UB through COBEC.
Both Presidents agreed to focus on a few defined areas of collaboration in the immediate future, particularly as they relate to Early Childhood Education and Music Education.
Beautification Committee Continues to Plant Trees at the Belmopan Campus
Through the President’s Advisory University Beautification Committee (PAUBC) efforts this year so far, more than 200 plants were planted in the Belmopan Campus. Fruit trees, hardwoods, spice plants, palms and pine trees were added to the plant diversity of the Belmopan Campus. This would not have been possible without the countless hours of volunteer labor provided by students especially from Biology and Natural Resources Management (NRM) program, students and staff on tuition waiver, student clubs such as UB Environmental Club and IFSA (International Forestry Students Association) and Faculty members from various Depts. These plants were watered and maintained by a zealous crew of volunteers without whose efforts many of the plants would not have survived.
In addition, a special thanks to the first UB Beautification Club (UBBC) whose focus was to promote one of the world’s greatest researched air filter plant – the Sansevieria. Their efforts resulted in UB community obtaining Sansevieria plants for their offices and even for their homes. Our Jaguar Auditorium now hosts and boosts ten (10) potted, flourishing highly, scented Sansevieria plants
The UB Beautification Committee members, Dr. Latha Thomas (Chair), Ms. Isabel Bennett and Ms. Kimberly Stewart would therefore like to sincerely thank all the volunteers for their hard work and passion to transform this campus and our workstations into green havens that UB family and the community can enjoy. A heart-felt thanks is also due to the Physical Plant Dept. for their continued assistance in the beautification efforts. The Committee welcomes everyone who would like to learn, share ideas and be part of the UB beautification efforts. Come join us in the joys of planting to continue transform our next home – our UB campus.
Delegation from Romania Visits UB
A high level delegate from Romania led by the Dean of the College of Rectors visited the University with the view to developing a collaborative partnership with UB in support of Belize’s education thrust. The meeting reviewed the strengths of Romanian universities. Particularly, noteworthy were their programs in Medicine/Health, Energy, Agriculture and the Creative Arts. The Romanians expressed their willingness to receive UB Faculty and Staff so as to upgrade their qualification.
The UB will follow up on building a relationship through our Office of Institutional Advancement.
A New Research Publication – Self-Medication Practices Among College Students in Belize: A Nationwide Cross Sectional Study
Danladi Chiroma Husaini*, David Datiba Mphuthi, Yusuf Abubakar and Augustine Domingo
Background: With increased access to information and advertisements via the internet, college students are likely to be involved in self-medication practices that may result in increased resistance to antibiotics, adverse drug reactions, interactions and or other complications associated with self-medication. A self-reported assessment was conducted on self-medication among college students in Belize with a view to provide a baseline data on the knowledge and practices of self-medication and evaluate the reasons for self-medication among young people in the country of Belize.
The complete research publication can be found at – http://www.wjpr.net/dashboard/abstract_id/12388
FST Lecturer Dr. Latha Thomas Publishes Articles on Dung Beetles
Dr. Latha Thomas, Assistant Professor in FST published seven articles for the International Peer Reviewed Journals and contributed to a book chapter this academic year. Dr. Thomas has been working on dung beetles of Belize since 2010 and has collected beetles from nine sites including seven protected areas. Dung beetles are widely used as biological indicators to study effects of habitat modifications on mammal abundance and diversity as they feed on mammalian dung. The study contributes to biodiversity inventory of Belize and new species list for the country, and assists in understanding the consequence of landscape modification on abundance and diversity of mammals in a habitat. Such biodiversity inventory studies are very significant, in the light of the new Global Assessment Report released in May 2019 which stated that around 1 million animal and plant species may face extinction in the coming years; some of the species may even become extinct before they are discovered.
Bachelor Biology students actively participates in the research as part of the Independent Research course work and thesis. She has also worked on dung beetles in the global biodiversity hotspot, the South Western Ghats in the Indian Subcontinent and has discovered three new species in the course of her research.
The President congratulates Dr. Thomas on her research efforts as well as her stellar contribution to the beautification of our campus.
UB meets with San Pedro Junior College
The President met with the Dean of the San Pedro Junior College. In welcoming them, the President restated his desire for UB to have a presence in San Pedro through this College. The meeting heard on past engagements of FMSS in San Pedro and agreed to a new beginning starting this new academic year. Areas of collaboration would be delivering programs in general management, tourism management and in education so as to upgrade the skills for current school teachers in San Pedro.
RF&G Insurance Wins the Tender for Providing Coverage for our Physical Assets
After a complete re-evaluation of the assets of UB, the University embarked on a rigorous process to select an approved insurance company to provide insurance coverage for the University’s assets – with this managed by the Director of Finance.
The University is pleased to report the completion of this process, and the President welcomed the successful company, RF&G, to the Campus.
MOU with National Oceanography Centre
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and University of Belize (UB) signed 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 marine science.
Marine Science plays a critical role 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. Therefore, the collaboration between the NOC and UB will focus on both marine technologies and expertise, as well as scientific knowledge on coastal protection, water quality, sustainable environmental practices and will address some of Belize’s current marine challenges, including sustainable management of marine resources and marine pollution.
Robotics Short Course for High School Students
As a part of the on-going outreach of Information Technology faculty to primary and secondary school students, to increase students’ computing competencies and interest in information technology; a short course entitled “Robotics: Starting from Scratch” was held from May 20 to May 29, 2019, at the Belmopan Methodist High School. The objective of the course was to enhance the computational thinking skills and capture the imagination, of the high school students through interactive sessions where the students learnt to build and program the mBot Land Raider robot. Using the mBlock coding interface which is specially designed to support STEAM education, the Visual Programming Language (VPL), SCRATCH, was used by the students to create blocked-based programs that allowed them to control the: movement, lights, sounds, and sensors of their robots. The participants of the course were fourteen students selected from the three first form classes of the High School, and the sessions facilitators were seven Information Technology lecturers and one Physics lecturer from the Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Information Technology. Teams of two were formed from the selected students, and each team was assigned a faculty facilitator who provided dedicated guidance and support with the building and programming of the team robot. Overall, the short course was a success, evident not only by the successful completion of each session by the student teams but also by the numerous questions, and eager and excited participation, of the young explorers.
As in similar short courses previously delivered by the Information Technology faculty, upon completion of the course, the fourteen students were thrilled to receive their completion certificates from the University of Belize.
The Algorithms students of the Bachelor in Information Technology program also experimented with Robotics. They applied the knowledge learned in the classroom and programmed the Robot so that it can find its way in a maze without human aid.
UB-FST Study Abroad Program
The University of Belize through its Faculty of Science and Technology conducted a study abroad program in Tropical Field Ecology on May 23rd –June 4th 2019 for visiting students from abroad. The study abroad cohort hosted was from Louis Strokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and their visit to the University of Belize was made possible through a grant received from the National Science Foundation. During their visit to Belize, the students were immersed in research projects at the University of Belize in various areas of interest such as:
1. Taxonomy and ecology of Scarabaeinae dung beetles
2. Using GIS technologies to Assess anthropogenic impacts of Mount Pleasant Creek
3. Identifying wells within 66 feet of the Mount Pleasant Creek and assessing its microbial quality.
4. Assessing chemical, physical and microbial water quality at the Billy Barquedier National Park.
At the end of their program, visiting students presented their research findings and demonstrated their understanding of the scientific process. We congratulate the various faculty members that worked along with the students namely: Dr. Santos Chicas, Dr. Latha Thomas, Ms. Cecy Castillo, Ms. Karen Bautista, Mr. Josue Ake, and Mr. Eduardo Barrientos.
2018-2 Natural Resource Management Program partners with the CCCCC
The Natural Resource Management Program is pleased to have partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in the planning and delivery of this semester’s Environmental Seminar course. A special recognition is given to the CCCCC for not only accepting our invite into the classroom but for offering to plan and deliver seven (7) lecture series this semester. Students were introduced to national, regional and international topics being discussed in the realm of climate change. This year’s session ended with a debate session hosted by the CCCCC. The Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Ms. Juliane Pasos, along with the lecturer, Ms. Cecy Castillo thanked the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre for being enthusiastically involved in the education of our young Belizeans.
UNICEF and UB Meeting – Be part of U Report
Representatives from UNICEF and the Department of Youth Services met with University Faculty and Staff on May 31st, 2019 to discuss partnership for UNICEF’s mobile based platform, U-Report. U-report is a free SMS social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues and challenges affecting the community and to give young people, especially, a space to voice their opinions on issues that pertain to them. The data gathered via this medium will then be used to influence program designs, policy making and advocacy in Belize.
Therefore, not only will UB students be able to participate in the various initiatives of the U-Report, once registered, the University will also benefit from this partnership as the platform will be used to gather data and conduct surveys and polls from the platform’s members on various research initiatives being conducted by University Faculty and staff.
UB Hosts High School Students as Interns
The University of Belize hosted 5 students from Sacred Heart College to gain work experience from June 17th to 28th, 2019. The students were oriented to the operations of the University and based on their areas of interest were placed in the various departments where they were involved in filing, scanning documents, answering phone calls, and interacting with clients. The experience and exposure provided the opportunity for each student to gain skills such as interpersonal communication, time-management, and team-work.
The students were placed at the Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Education, The Admissions Office and Records Department.
UB Hosts Music Workshop
The University of Belize hosted the Jacob Kelberman Quartet on the 12th of June for an evening of jazz in the Jaguar Auditorium. This first event (of a two-part music program recruitment series) was made possible in part by a grant from the Juilliard George J. Jakab Global Enrichment Grants Program. Prospective music students, music teachers, instrumentalists, and other music enthusiasts attended the workshop featuring musicians out of the Julliard Jazz School.
The Jacob Kelberman quartet performed some jazz standards as well as original compositions after holding an “open rehearsal” in which the audience was able to view the process of preparing material for performance. They demonstrated practical approaches to jazz, and jazz appreciation, and graciously entertained questions from the audience.
Attendees to the performance and the workshop were invited to respond to a short survey documenting interest in UB’s forthcoming Music Program. The enthusiastic audience, who described the quartet’s performance as “breath-taking” and “amazing”, asked for more such public performances at the University of Belize.
The second event in the series is slated for January 2020 and will feature concert performances, lectures, and master-classes by visiting professors of music.
President meets with BELTRAIDE Executive Director
President Sankat met with Dr. Leroy Almendarez and Ms. Monique Usher of BELTRAIDE on June 19, 2019. They discussed the partnership already established between the two organizations, through FMSS. Of particular importance was the proposed building to be erected at the FMSS campus by BELTRAIDE – one that will support the training of students in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Workplace Safety and Security
The University’s Office of Public Safety, as part of its Campus Safety Awareness Campaign, which seeks to raise awareness and promote safety for our staff member and students on campus, conducted a presentation on Workplace Safety and Security at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan on Friday, June 28th, 2019.
This presentation focused primarily on preventative information and useful tools that provides guidance and encourage personal responsibility for UB Faculty and staff. Its aim was to ensure all faculty and staff have the necessary information, and consciousness that will enable them to make safe choices with regards to their security on and off the campus. The presentation included topics that dealt with:
1. Understand your campus’s crime and surrounding.
2. Familiarize yourself with your Campus’s Public Safety office.
3. Learn how to defend yourself.
4. Know where you’re going
5. Workplace Violence.
The President reminded everyone – safety is everyone’s business.
UNCHR ESL Level 2 Closing Ceremony
The Regional Language Center conducted an awarding ceremony on Monday, July 1st, 2019 in honour of 23 students who completed the first UNHCR/ UB English as a Second Language Certificate program. This course aimed to offer English as a Second Language classes to newly arrived migrants to Belize giving them an opportunity to demolish the language barrier that hinders non-English speaking migrants under refugee status to incorporate with greater ease as productive members of Belizean Society.
Attending the Ceremony were Mr. Emad Daoud, UNHCR Protection Officer, The UNHCR Director and representatives from Help For Progress LTD and along with the student’s family members that came to witness the ceremony. The ceremony was led by the students, with the highest ranking student giving the welcome address and two second highest marking students giving the vote of thanks and closing remarks. The ceremony was held in high spirits and a resounding genuine interest for a continued partnership between UNHCR and the RLC as expressed by the UNHCR Protection officer. We congratulate all the awarded students and wish them well in their future endeavours.