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First research conference in Belize

Belize National Research Conference commences tomorrow under the theme “Research and Development in Belize”. This first of a kind conference is a combined initiative of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), Galen University, the University of Belize and the University of the West Indies. The two-day conference will focus on education, the environment, socio-cultural and anthropology. Love News spoke with Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, Programme Officer, at the University of the West Indies who spoke about the conference.

Dr.Sharmayne Saunders, Programme Officer, UWI: “We put out a call for papers for people who have done current research in Belize. We were primarily looking for Belizeans but also collaboration with non Belizeans as well as long as the research was about Belize and done on Belize.”

Reporter: What is the objective behind having a national research conference?

Dr.Sharmayne Saunders, Programme Officer, UWI: “It gives people an opportunity to present their research. Those persons who haven’t yet published their research now have an opportunity to present their research to a wide audience and it also allows for capacity building for our researcher. As we all know in Belize we constantly hear that there is no research on many topical areas particularly areas that are relevant. We are trying to create an avenue where people can present papers or do research and present those research documents on topics that are relevant to the country hoping that eventually we can utilize this kind of research for better decision making and national development- it could help to stimulate national development decisions.”

Saunders went on to say that there are presently many areas of research being conducted in Belize.

Dr.Sharmayne Saunders, Programme Officer, UWI: “I know as a researchers there is lots of research being conducted. What I think is lacking is an opportunity for us to present those papers locally and not only locally I think we have failed to adhere to some of the prescriptive law that we have to make sure that copies of our research are given to NICH, the National Library and Archives and I don’t think that people are aware of these requirements and so we hear all the time that ‘no research’; indeed we have to create a culture of research but I think it exists it’s just that we have to build on it.”

The conference takes place at the University of Belize in Belmopan beginning tomorrow and is open to the public. The cost of registration is ten dollars.