Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Embassy Mr. Keith Gilges hosted an official ceremony and reception yesterday to recognize and honor the Embassy’s “Woman of the Year 2019” Ms. Sharon Matola. The event featured remarks by Chargé Gilges, Minister of State for the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, and Sustainable Development Hon. Omar Figueroa, the Co-Founder of the Belize Center for Environmental Studies Ms. Lou Nicolait, and the Founding Director of the Belize Zoo and the Embassy’s “Woman of the Year” 2019 Ms. Sharon Matola.
The U.S. Embassy selected Ms. Matola as our “Woman of the Year 2019” for her tireless dedication and steadfast commitment to conserve and preserve Belize’s natural heritage through zealous advocacy and education. As Chargé Gilges highlighted, “Not only is Sharon a truly outstanding woman and an exemplary role model to Belizean youth, but also Sharon’s herculean efforts and a lifelong dedication to conserving and preserving nature make her an ideal person to celebrate now, on the eve of Earth Day.” Minister Figueroa emphasized Sharon’s immense, positive impact across Belize and stated that Sharon is, in fact, a “Woman of the Year” every year.
Since 2010, the U.S. Embassy’s “Woman of the Year” award recognizes and celebrates awe-inspiring achievements of remarkable Belizean women, and the causes to which they devote their lives. The award and yesterday’s event represent part of a larger U.S. government effort to promote gender equality and to empower women and girls in America and abroad.