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.