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.