From the President’s Desk – November 15, 2019


UB Installs its New Board of Trustees


The University of Belize (UB) wishes to announce the installation of its Board of Trustees (BOT) for its new term in office.

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:

Returning Members:
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 fpalma@ub.edu.bz. 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.