From the President’s Desk – January 6, 2020 – February 5, 2020

Bringing the Curtains Down on 2019

The President of the University of Belize, Professor Sankat, thanks all who attended the very festive celebratory party to end the year 2019, and thanks everyone for their tremendous support in making the event a success, especially the staff of the Office of the President for organizing the event, along with the Physical Plant and the Marketing & Communications teams.

President Sankat would once again like to congratulate all members of Faculty and Staff who received awards for their tremendous services to UB and noted the following special awards:

  1. Abbie Godoy, UB final year student, for being the first female recipient and the second in Belize of the prestigious Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship;
  2. Francis Burns & the Physical Plant Department for their steady commitment to the maintenance and upgrading of the physical infrastructure at all our campuses;
  3. George Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health and Chairman of the Belize Medical Council, for his steadfast support for the development of the Medical program (MBBS) at the University of Belize;
  4. Leolin Swift-Castillo, Former Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work over the period of 6 years and for her stellar contributions to the Faculty and the University; and
  5. Nectaly Vela, for his creative efforts and steady support of the Marketing & Communications function at the University (2009 – 2019) and for going beyond the call of duty


Happy New Year UB

Professor Sankat would like to welcome everyone to a new year and a new semester. Each New Year is an exciting time as it is filled with new goals, new hopes and much optimism. New students and faculty, new relationships, new scholarship and exciting new conversations illuminate our thinking and engage our community as renewed energy, enthusiasm and bold curiosity are unleashed.

This year is particularly special in that it will mark UB’s 20th Anniversary. Since the University opened its doors on August 1st, 2000, the goal has been to offer Belizeans an education and an

experience designed to be meaningful and memorable, scholarly and inclusive and reflective of our nation’s diverse community, our developmental and human resource needs and most importantly, to be true to our mission as a University in the service of our people.

President Sankat is extremely pleased to say that the University is well on its way to achieving its goal, and on behalf of the University’s Senior Management Team, he offers best wishes for a rewarding 2020.


New Students Orientation 2019-2

On January 7th, the University held its customary orientation session at its Belmopan Campus and welcomed new first year and transfer students along with their families to the National University. The day-long session was filled with exciting and information packed activities, which prepared students for their academic pursuits and initiated their integration into the University’s intellectual, cultural, and social climate. By the end of the day, students were familiarized with the campus, met with academic deans and faculty members, who shared detailed information about the various program of studies and was introduced to the co-curricular life of the institution, as well as the resources available for their success.

As noted by the Dean of Student Affairs, “Orientation is designed to assist incoming students in making the transition to the University of Belize and to help students feel like #UBelong at UB!”


UB announces the Promotion of Two Faculty Members

The University announced the promotion of two faculty members, Dr. Dion Daniels and Mr. Danladi Husaini. Dr. Daniels is a member of the Faculty of Science and Technology and has been promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor and Mr. Husaini of the Faculty of Health Science has been promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer.

They both went through a rigorous review process, and the UB congratulates them on their success. The President of UB, Professor Sankat, wishes both members of Faculty continued progress in the advancement of their careers and that of Research and Teaching at the UB.

An Afternoon of Music with Performances from Austria

On January 15th, UB was visited by renowned Austrian musical director Peter Illavsky and his friends: composer Akos Banlaky and violinist Jacqueline Kopacinski. The visit included a consultative session moderated by the Faculty of Education & Arts Lecturer, Dr Christopher De Shield, who engaged students, visitors, members of the Faculty and UB community.

The ensemble also gave an hour long performance and was joined by Belizeans, singer Kanie Herrera (a recent music program graduate), Loreto Pelayo (guitar), Belizean composer and musician Alex Evans, and Trinidadian singer Cherysh La Touche to perform original compositions of European and Caribbean character, showcasing unique possibilities for professional musicians and alliances between musical traditions. The UB community enjoyed this midweek musical interlude as a special student-hour entertainment treat.

UB Hosts its 2nd Annual Striping and Capping Ceremony for Nursing Students

On January 17th, the University hosted its Second Annual Striping Ceremony for our nursing students. This ceremony, which is seen as a symbolic rite of passage to the nursing practice, is held for nursing students before their first clinical experience. The event was held at the Jaguar Auditorium and was attended by Ms. Ann Matute, Deputy Director of Health Services and Mrs. Catherine Godinez, Registrar at the Nurses and Midwives Council of Belize, the President and the Vice President of UB.

This ceremony is of great significance to the student nurses as they do the Florence Nightingale Pledge, which instils selflessness to all who have chosen this path. The capping and striping ceremony means the students are now recognized by other members of the health fraternity and are ready to assume their responsibility to patients without failure or compromise.

Professors of Music from Scripps College & Chaffey College, California Visit UB as the University Plans to Begin a Program in Music

On January 17th and 18th, the University of Belize hosted a delegation of three distinguished research and teaching professors from Scripps and Chaffey Colleges in California, USA. The delegation was led by Dr Hao Huang, a world-renowned, Juilliard-trained concert pianist. He was joined by the choral and orchestral conductor Dr David Rentz, a Yale-trained conductor, as well as a composer-arranger and Dr Rachel Vetter Huang, a violinist, chamber musician and Harvard and SUNY-trained professor.

These professors conducted workshops in music and held a public concert dubbed “Life with Music: A Performance Event” at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development on the evening of Saturday 18th. The professors’ concert featured a lecture/masterclass portion detailing profuse evidence of the intellectual and social benefits music practice has that leads to personal and professional success, and a performance portion, featuring a fascinating repertoire of European Classical, American Romantic, and early 20th Century Jazz music.


UNICEF Country Representative visits UB

Ms. Susan Kassede, United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) representative in Belize, visited the University of Belize to explore means and ways in which the University could collaborate in addressing issues of child violence.

The University with the support of UNICEF may provide training programs to alleviate societal issues facing young people and disadvantaged communities. This is an important area of work for our Faculties.


UB’s Central Farm Helps the Sheep Industry

The University of Belize’s Central Farm (UBCF) Campus recently partnered with the National Sheep and Goat Breeding Center to develop Belize’s sheep industry and to improve the centre’s farmer outreach programme. Daniel Juan, livestock lecturer at UBCF, is assisting the Centre in identifying and interviewing sheep farmers to determine how best both institutions can improve productivity and profitability for Belize’s sheep industry. At the end of this process, twelve small scale sheep farmers will be selected and improvement packages will be distributed. These packages will be tailored to meet specific needs such as nutrition, genetics, pasture management, internal parasite management and housing. Thus far, farmers have been very receptive of the outreach programme.

The President congratulates UBCF and encourages such outreach support to our production enterprises.

UB visits ECOSUR, Chetumal

The President of UB took a delegation of representatives from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) and the Environment Research Institute (ERI) to El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chetumal, Mexico. The visit was meant to develop collaborative relationships between ECOSUR and the University of Belize. There is a common mandate to develop knowledge and information through research on protecting our natural marine and terrestrial environments – the Riviera Maya – a marine environment of commonality shared with Belize and the Frontera Sur – the terrestrial environment.

Presentations were given by ECOSUR’s Director General Dr. María del Carmen Pozo de la Tijera, and other researchers. UB FST and ERI made presentations on their work. At the conclusion of the full-day meeting some areas of teaching, especially at the graduate level, were considered as well as common areas of research collaborations involving faculty and students of both institutions. These areas will be further developed by teams of both institutions. The next step forward will be the signing of a memorandum of understanding by both institutions.

President thanks the Mexican Embassy in Belmopan, especially Ambassador Agustin Maciel Padilla for the Embassy’s support in arranging this meeting.

The President also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the new Secretary General at UQROO, Dra. Karina Amador Soriano. He was accompanied by Ambassador Agustin Maciel Padilla of the Mexican Embassy in Belmopan.

Belize Bank donates $50,000 to UB to Purchase Instruments for its Steel band – “UB Steel”

The University of Belize (UB) has been engaging with Belize Bank with respect to their support for a steel band orchestra for the University. UB is committed to develop the creative arts at our university and to give our young people the opportunity for building their knowledge and skills in music and its practice. The Belize Bank has generously made a grant of $50,000 BZ for the University to acquire outfits for a steel band orchestra. UB is in the process of purchasing pans for the band and you will hear more of this as we get our faculty, staff, students and alumni to become members of this band “UB Steel”.

The University also hired its first Music Lecturer, Mr. Alexander Evans, who will join UB at its Belmopan campus.

Interested players may contact the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Martin Cuellar and/or Mr. Evans on this matter.

UB Makes Progress with the Medical School Building

President, Dr. George Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Francis Burns, Director of Physical Plant, Projects and Facilities, and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer, toured the facilities under construction and met with the contractor. The team is very pleased with the progress to date and expect the building will be ready by the end of February this year.

The next big challenge for UB is to outfit this building with the laboratories and equipment required, not to mention the furniture, for faculty, staff and students.


UB continues to see progress with the India-Belize Centre for Engineering (IBCE) Project on the Belmopan Campus

After a hiatus of a few months, due to lack of a high voltage electrical supply to the IBCE Engineering buildings, and one that has now been corrected with the support of the Belize Electricity Limited, progress on the installation and commissioning of the equipment to support such knowledge and skills in welding, machining, carpentry, materials testing, and electrical power machines continues in full force.

The internal electrical wiring is now progressing and we expect all of these machines to be installed by the end of February. A team of experts from India (THMI) is facilitating this effort, led by CEO, Mr. Vaish. The President and the Honorary Consul of India to Belize, Mr. Arun Hotchandani welcomed Mr. Vaish and Mr. J.M. Kumar.

Progress at the Punta Gorda Campus

The University has hired a highly recognized contractor of Punta Gorda Town, Mr. Joaquin Aldana, who is in charge of the completion of this construction project.

Upon completion, this fit-for-purpose building will serve both as a space for two classrooms and as a meeting place for public forums, workshops etc., as we continue to improve the teaching and learning conditions at UB – Toledo.

A Visit from Professor in Surgery, UWI

President Sankat welcomed Professor Paul Ramphal, Professor in Surgery at the University of the West Indies, based in Bahamas. Professor Ramphal, a very distinguished clinician, gave a very

brief and informative presentation to the Vice President, Dr. Mariot Simon, Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of Health, Dr. George Gough, and Dr. Adrian Coye of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, on reflections of “Medical Education for the 21st Century” so as to help guide UB as we establish the Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program.

Meeting with the UB Faculty and Staff Association Union

President and Senior Managers of UB welcomed the UB Faculty and Staff Association Union to a meeting on February 4, 2020. The short meeting touched on a number of ongoing matters pertaining to the establishment of the union as the collective bargaining entity for UB Faculty and Staff. The meeting also focused on the draft protocol to treat on future engagement.


UB meets with the Football Federation of Belize

UB’s Office of Institutional Advancement along with Coach Joseph Waight, had a working meeting with The Football Federation of Belize (FFB), led by its Secretary General, Mr Earl Jones and Ms Yasmin Quan, Mr Erwin Contreras and Mr Philip Marin.  The meeting focused on identifying areas for partnership and collaboration between UB and FFB. The aim of this collaboration is the overall development of sports to ensure sustainability and the expansion of a high performance program at the UB. The University is currently pursuing opportunities that will support an environment that will increase participation among students, infrastructure and human resource development and a drive for excellence, coupled with a coordinated sport program that promotes student development and progression to a higher level of performance and competition.


UB meets with University Management Limited at Central Information Technology Office

A team led by UB’s Chairman, GA Harrison Pilgrim, the President, Professor Sankat and the ICT Director, Mr. Abdulaziz Sanderson met with the members of University Management Limited, a private commercial registry established to manage Belize’s ccTLD “dot.BZ”. The meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Mrs. Deborah Domingo and was attended by officials of Central Information Technology Office (CITO), including the Chief Information Officer, Mr. Ian Smith and Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Mike Singh.

The meeting was meant to give a better understanding of the history and UB’s involvement, investment and returns from this Company that manages the Dot Belize domain. The discussions will continue.

Visit from EU-LAC Foundation

President Sankat met with Ms Paola Amadei, Executive Director of the European Union – Latin America and Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC) on February 7, 2020.

The EU-LAC, established in Hamburg, Germany in 2011, was created by the Heads of State and Government of the European Union, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and recently transformed into an International Organization. The countries of both regions and the EU constitute its 62 members. The Foundation’s mission is to strengthen and promote the bi-regional strategic partnership, improving its visibility and encouraging the active participation of the respective civil societies.

The meeting explored ways in which UB can benefit from the EU-LAC Foundation and Ms. Amadei promised to link the UB to a few European partnerships that can support our efforts for teaching and research. She also presented the President with a book published by EU-LAC entitled “The Caribbean in the European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Partnership” by Annita Montoute, Andy Knight, Jacqueline Laguardia Martinez, Debbie Mohammed and Dave Seerattan, all from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus.

UB Hosts the Belize TOO Education Expo 2020

On Wednesday February 5th, 2020 the University of Belize came to life when the Belize Tertiary Options and Opportunities (BTOO) Expo brought well over 3,000 high school students to the campus. The various faculties and departments collaborated and executed in full force. Commendations to the Faculties of: Management & Social Sciences, Science & Technology, Health Sciences, Education & Arts and Offices of: Records & Admissions, Student Affairs, Accounts and Library which adeptly managed and engaged potential students. Students had the opportunity to have individual engagement with faculty and staff; submit admissions packages; talk scholarship and campus life; meet and greet current students including our Student Athletes. The publicity garnered was tremendous and our prospects left well informed and equipped to make smart decisions to start their higher education at UB.

Thanks to all our UB faculty and staff and especially our students who contributed to the success of this massive event.