The President of the University of Belize(UB), Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis and the Director of Development, Dr. Geraldo Flowers, visited the beautiful of island of San Pedro on Thursday, April 14th, and were the guest speakers at the weekly meeting of the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce (ACCC), held at the Blue Water Grill.
The purpose of their visit was to inform the directors and members of the ACCC about the drive UB has undertaken in order to raise capital to provide 50 scholarships for those students who have the academic qualifications but may lack the necessary funds to further their education. Under the theme, “ Building Our Future Together”, Dr. Lewis explained to the audience that even though the university is subsidized by the GOB, thus making it less costly than other institutions, there are still many students in Belize who cannot simply afford the enrollment fees.
Dr. Lewis gave her attentive listeners a concise update on the status of UB. She said the current enrollment of the university was at 2,300 students of which one third were full time students and that UB had a staff of about 103 members with a faculty made up of 96 educators. She explained that the university’s current drive to raise funds for the 50 scholarships were mainly targeting areas of needs such as agriculture, nursing and national research management. She also went on to explain to the spectators about UB signing Memorandums of Understanding with various international institutions and universities, such as the University of Houston in Texas, the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Bremen, in Germany. She said that the University of Houston had already provided twelve scholarships for UB students.
The goals that the University of Belize has set forth were, to meet the national needs, encourage sustainable development, prepare Belize to meet global challenges and encourage an international student population. For example, students from other parts of the world come to Belize to enroll in UB’s Regional Language Center to study English as a second language and for most foreign students, Belize is a perfect setting because of her natural beauty. Dr. Lewis also informed the audience of the recent addition of new dormitories with the capacity to house 140 students.
The President of the University of Belize ended by thanking the directors and members of the ACCC for inviting her and that she looked forward to working with the Chamber in, “finding ways to work together”.
The meeting was then turned over to Dr. Geraldo Flowers, who then gave a visual presentation of the University of Belize’s Global Perspectives in Education: Emerging Challenges, Opportunities and Innovative Approaches.
In his presentation, he briefly explained UB’s Mission to act as a catalyst of change, by providing relevant, affordable and accessible educational and training programs that address national needs based on principles of Academic freedom, equity, transparency, merit and accountability. He went on to say, that Belize is a natural living laboratory, rich in history and diverse in culture. He spoke about the Belizean advantage being that it was English speaking, that Belize provided a bridge between Central America and the Caribbean and that it was only an hour and half from the mainland United States. He continued by informing those present that UB had international linkage with 45 foreign institutions and UB is a multi-campus facility with six campuses and a marine biology field station located at Calabash Caye.
Dr. Flowers iterated the specialized programs for international students: agriculture, language, nursing, archaeology, marine studies and natural resource management. He ended his presentation by inviting everyone in attendance to come and join the UB community and contribute to the development of UB by helping a needy student enroll in the University of Belize.