1. The Belize Travelcast
  2. Episode 32

Safeguarding Belize's Cultural and Natural Heritage

Ella Békési 46 minutes

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Ella Békési, one of four co-founders of Heritage Education Network Belize, joins us for a virtual recording session all the way from Hungary. She and our host, Javier Gutierrez, talk about Belize's rich cultural and natural heritage and why it is important to embrace, promote, and safeguard for future generations.

What makes Belize a jewel is the vibrant and diverse cultural and natural heritage in this nation. Belize's cultural heritage, from a diverse population, is both tangible and intangible. Our tangible cultural heritage can range from traditional Garifuna drums to hand-carved slate from the Mayas; and, our intangible heritage can be observed through the Garifuna language, which was proclaimed as a "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO in 2001, and the talent required to play the pok-ta-pok Maya ball game. Complementing Belize's cultural heritage is the exquisite natural heritage that the country was blessed with. From notable attractions such as The Great Blue Hole and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize has world-class amenities for locals and visitors to enjoy.

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Belize Ground Shuttle is a professional shuttle company operating daily shared shuttle service for travelers between San Ignacio, Placencia, Hopkins and the Belize International Airport ... more(BZE).
Heritage Education Network Belize is ultimately dedicated to culture. The initiative started in the midst of the 2020 pandemic with the aim to support Belizean tourism professionals, cultural and heritage organizations, business owners, artists, and artisans coping with the impact of COVID-19. As a collaboration between Fajina Archaeology Outreach and Craboo Creative Travel, our initial goal was to offer free online learning opportunities and marketing and financial advice videos to those in need.

What do we mean by culture? - Culture is tangible, intangible, built, ecological, archaeological, historical, ethnographic, and human. It promotes and maintains community, synergy, meaning, and wellness. 

Through socially and digitally innovative, holistic, and collaborative projects, we aim to empower local communities and stakeholders to create and maintain sustainable lifeways through culture. The NGO is dedicated to communication, community engagement, research, advocacy, capacity building, development, and ultimately education.

Our vision is to become a hub for cultural and heritage-related issues, establishing holistic and collaborative approaches as the norm on the global stage. Ultimately, we see ourselves as promoting and attaining sustainability, inclusivity, and diversity within the socio-ecological reality of the world.

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Ella Békési

Ella was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. She then studied Archaeology and Cultural Heritage at University College London in the United Kingdom. She worked as an assistant in public and commercial archaeology as well as in the heritage sectors in the United Kingdom and Central America. Ella participated in the Lamanai Archaeology Project (LAP) in Belize, and have been assisting branches of the Belizean National Institute of Culture and History in numerous projects. 

Throughout the years, Ella witnessed the effect of socio-economic issues related to archaeological conservation and the safeguarding of heritage and culture. She developed an interdisciplinary interest in inclusive and sustainable archaeological and cultural heritage management through heritage education and tourism in Latin America.

Ella recently co-founded Heritage Education Network Belize, an organisation dedicated to supporting heritage education and the sustainable development of businesses in the tourism and creative sectors. She believes they are critical stakeholders in the maintenance of cultural and natural heritage.

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