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President Dana Mohler-Faria and Dr. Lisa Battaglino, dean of the College of Education and Allied Studies, led a contingent of a dozen students to Belize to continue the institution’s long-standing commitment to the Central American nation.
“It was a genuine privilege for me to see first-hand the kind of work in improving schools that she and BSU students have been doing there over the past seven years,” the president said.
It was Dr. Mohler-Faria’s first trip to a place he called, “a stunningly beautiful nation which is making the most vigorous and determined efforts to improve its public schools, and in particular its teacher-training programs.”
During his visit, he visited the U.S. embassy to talk with officials about BSU’s strong connections to the people and government of Belize. He also signed an exchange agreement with the University of Belize.
BSU’s partnership with Belize dates back a quarter century. Dr. Battaglino has made eight separate trips there, and more than 100 students have participated in projects designed to improve local schools. It has been a regular destination for the alternative spring break program since 2007.
The president visited one of the schools that BSU students have worked at over the years. The school is one of the poorest in the country.
“By far, one of the highlights of my visit was the chance to visit St. John's Anglican Primary School where 200 school children greeted me at the gate with songs,” he said. “It’s a moment I will never forget.”
Overall, Dr. Mohler-Faria’s first trip to Belize was a success on several fronts. Best of all, he said, was the chance to see the impact BSU is having on the country and its people.
“I am very grateful to Dr. Battaglino and her students for the very important work they do there and I’m grateful I had the chance to witness the effects of their commitment to service and social justice,” he said.