Belize in Tri-partite Relationship with Peace Corps And Hewlett Packard

01 September, 2000 - Belmopan
A five-person delegation of top-level Peace Corps officials and
representatives of the Hewlett Packard Corporation is currently in
Belize to explore establishing a new relationship that will redefine the
mission of the Peace Corps and set new priorities in developing

The delegation, which arrived earlier this week, is here through an
invitation from Prime Minister Said Musa and Deputy Prime Minister
Johnny Briceño.

The Peace Corps representatives are Patrick J. Fn'Piere, Director,
Inter-America and Pacific Region; Dee Siegel, Caribbean Desk,
Inter-America and Pacific Region; and Vic Basile, Director, Office of
Private Sector Cooperation and International Volunteerism.

The HP officials are Bob Granger, Strategic Business and Planning
Manager for Imaging and Printing Systems; and Therese-Marie Tong,
Development Projects Manager.

They are accompanied in Belize by Costas Christ, Peace Corps Belize
Country Manager and Austin Arzu, Associate Peace Corps Belize Director.

The objective of the visit is to study the Peace Corps' newly initiated
information technology program.

The program, the first of its kind by the organization, was instituted
at the request of PM Musa and Hon. Johnny Briceño.

It has resulted in the recruitment of information technology specialists
by the Peace Corps for a two-year tour of duty in Belize.

The organization is using this pilot project to assess its viability in
other countries.

Hewlett Packard is studying how the company might be able to design
computer programs specifically to aid the project.

"The work being done by the Peace Corps in Belize is on the cutting edge
of that which we hope to implement in other countries," said Fn'Piere.
"We are glad to support the progressive thinking of the Belizean
Government. This collaboration will be helpful to other countries."

"Although H.P. is a technology company, this project isn't just about
mere technology," explained Granger. "It's really about addressing
issues of education, health care, job creation and the issues of
everyday life enabled by technology. That is the key."

Wednesday the delegation met in Orange walk Town with Briceño; Elda
Vega, principal of La Inmaculada Primary School; Cecilio Garcia,
instructor at Mufles Junior College, businessman Jaime Briceño, and
Peace Corp volunteer Susan Xaxar to tour the La Inmaculada computer lab
and the Orange walk Information Technology Center.

At a meeting in the computer lab, Xaxer explained her role as an
information technology instructor. "We're concentrating on teaching the
school's teachers about computer basics so we'll have a cadre of
instructors and in time they won't have to rely on outside help," she

La Inmaculada's graduates who go on to Muffles Junior College are so
advanced in computer technology that they are put in a special advanced
class at the college.

The deputy prime minister said he envisioned endless possibilities for
the collaboration between the Peace Corps, H.P. and Belize.

"This is the way to give our students the best in education through
access to the Internet and position us to meet the competition of
globalization," he said. "That, to me, is the most important factor."

Upon returning to the United States, the Peace Corps and H.P. will draw
up a blueprint for further progress.

They will both seek important input from the public and private sectors
in Belize to aid in their plans.

From the Ministry of Natural Resources