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Mar 15, 2016

Migration: The Belize/Mexico Matrix

Migration, identity, cultural influence, as well as the economic impact of movement from one place to another are issues that are being discussed in an academic forum.  The two-day discussion is organized by the University of Belize and the Mexican Institute.  Doctor Pio Saqui is the Chair of History and Anthropology at the University of Belize.


Dr. Pio Saqui, Dept. Chair History & Anthropology, UB

“This is a bi-national seminar which simply means that we are working together with the Mexican Embassy and it is in collaboration and jointly being sponsored by the University of Belize. The aim for it initially was just an academic discussion and obviously it has taken a much bigger picture now where included a lot of research to understand or to reconcile what it is that we are talking about in terms of migration. And migration as we can see is not only about people crossing the border, in its truer sense, but it is looking at the services, the different kinds of needs, the pressure, the impact it has on communities on both sides and how this impact our economy and regulations in terms of managing our society. So the conference is about scholars coming together and presenting research and studies on various topics. And yesterday we had a very healthy discussion as to what is migration, talking about education and migrants and the need to meeting educational needs of migrants and migrant communities and we all agree that Belize is a large dynamic of many ethnicities and various cultural groups and identities. And a question was asked yesterday which I think still ponders in our heads; what is national identity and how do we seek a type of cultural cohesion for which we can call ourselves Belize. so the conference is still going on and I think there are more topics that we will be introduced this morning.”


Pio Saqui

Isani Cayetano

“How does one more from an academic discourse to something practical that impacts Belizeans on a whole with regards to this particular issue?”


Dr. Pio Saqui

“Well here’s the thing. I think that until we start to understand the nature of migration, we can collect the right kind of information, data, and more data and from these data we have to do the necessary analysis to actually arrive at the things that we can use to advise our policy makers so we can make decisions that are practical, in terms of understanding the needs of our communities. Belize of course is not new to migration. In the 1970’s and 80’s we’ve seen the largest influx of migration into Belize and today we are still negotiating as a country how do we meet the social needs and welfare of these communities. They are now part of the Belizean society; they have many first generation Belizean children and we have to be able to provide the social services they need. So research I very important; this is the point of doing this conference so that we can have academicians come together, present the research and we have several representatives in the audience from various government offices here that are relevant to migration and the diversity is very large. And so it is a good thing. If we just allow the academics to talk and provide the objective analysis of these types of research on migration.”

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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