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Mar 30, 2011

University of Belize’s Culture Fair

Culture by definition is the knowledge and values shared by a society.  But in Belize, you don’t need a dictionary to know what it is; you simply have to look around. That was especially evident today at a multi-cultural fair held by the University of Belize, where students and teachers sported their best cultural attire for an afternoon of displays focused on numerous ethnicities. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The myriad of cultures that make up the Jewel’s population were on display at the University of Belize Faculty of Education today.  Lecturer, Ritamae Hyde, told us that they took annual in-class presentation and shared it with the public.

Ritamae Hyde

Ritamae Hyde, Lecturer, University of Belize

“This initiative came out of the Faculty of education and Arts. It’s a part of our week of activities to celebrate the faculty, in terms of what we do as a faculty, the type of diversity we have at UB and also our greater contribution to the education of our society and the development of our society.  We have all these various cultural groups highlighted here; the Mayas, the Kriol, Garifuna, Mestizo, East Indian, Mennonite, Chinese/Taiwanese. I hope I’m not forgetting anybody but there are so many groups and they are all being presented in a very dynamic way. We’re capturing all of the cultural elements; the clothing, the music the dance, the artistic elements of the culture, belief systems. But more than that, we’re capturing what each culture adds, contributes to the cultural identity of Belize.”

Very fitting for the event, the guest speaker was Belize’s Cultural Ambassador, Peter “Titman” Flores.

Peter “Titiman” Flores, Cultural Ambassador

Peter “Titiman” Flores

“The first message that I give to them was about racial discrimination because yoh find out now that because an individual is a Kriol person or a Hispanic person, Garifuna person would come and criticize that person and thing like that. We shouldn’t live that way. This is a country that—we have so much ethnic groups in this country that racial discrimination supposed to out already.”

Ritamae Hyde

“I think it’s a beautiful thing to reach that awareness where we can say I am whichever ethnic group I belong to and you can say the same and I will love you and respect you in the same way because that is where the world should be.”

Peter “Titiman” FLores

“People socialize through culture, people come together, people—you could say love and respect whenever culture aspects come about wheresoever because people come together and enjoy and spectate and do as much things because of culture.”

According to Hyde, they hope to make the fair a fixture on the faculty’s annual calendar of events and Flores says whenever they call on him, he will gladly come out to promote cultural awareness.

Ritamae Hyde

“This morning we had a multi-cultural fair in Belmopan and Punta Gorda. We did it in the afternoon because most of the students here are mostly evening students. And so three multi-cultural fairs, different parts of the country, I think that’s a good way to start.  Who knows maybe next year can take it somewhere else too, add another location to it.  This is just the start; next year we want to get bigger, we want to get better and we want to make sure that the country as a whole learns to celebrate cultural diversity because that’s at the core of the Belizean society.”

Peter “Titiman” Flores

“I am a father of eleven children in this country. Titiman, I have nowhere to go my dear but to live here in this country and see that the culture remains strong.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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