Galen University opened its doors in 2003 and offered degree programs in Business Administration, Agriculture and Tourism Management. It continues to expand its program in undergraduate and graduate degrees. Over the weekend, Galen University held a ceremony for its 98 students from bachelors and masters programs. Keynote speaker for the event was Nestor Mendez, the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States. Mendez spoke of the exclusive club the graduates have joined. He pointed out statistics from the Statistical Institute of Belize that shows a dwindling number of enrollment as in 2014 there were 68,000 students enrolled in primary school, a third of that 22,000 in high school and only 8,000 at the tertiary level which includes sixth forms. He pointed to a further gap as only half, 4,600 students were enrolled in bachelors and masters programs across the country. The Assistant OAS Secretary General says the graduates have joined an exclusive and important group of people who will become the next decision makers of the country.
Assistant OAS Secretary General Nestor Mendez: As we first address the Galen Graduate in the national arena, the first thing that comes to mind is the word exclusivity. How many of you graduates realize that you have now ascended to membership of a very small, very select group of individuals, your families, your friends and society at large are looking at you with the expectation that with your acquired knowledge and expertise, you will share the rightful burden in the transformation and growth of our country. In this context I wish to reiterate the initial message. Please refrain from adopting a sense of apathy and indifference to the realities of our society. Even as I urge you to get involved in fostering or supporting constructive avenues to change things for the better. There are also many other elements to your role in our country dear graduates, permit me to speak simply to the most pressing of them. At this moment our nation lingers in the throes of big national decisions that can wait no more that require a disciplined approach. A dispassionate analysis and a recognition that we must think as one nation understanding our collective responsibility to inform ourselves properly to have a healthy and frank discussion about these issues and to make decision that is best for all of us, you as newly minted graduates have an obligation to partake in these discussions and to contribute responsibly in the decision making process.
Mendez urged the graduates to learn more than one language and to be innovative while continuing to network with like-minded people.