Kenrick Mark Coleman
8 min readApr 17


Kenrick — A Conversation with Kenrick Mark Coleman Features Delmer Tzib

The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation

“Intelligence, Discipline, Wisdom, Excellence”

Kenrick – A Conversation with Kenrick Mark Coleman Features Delmer Tzib

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Delmer Tzib. I am a villager of San Antonio, Cayo. I am an educator, who has been teaching history for the past 10 years. Currently, I am a history lecturer at the University of Belize, where I teach Belizean, Latin American, and Caribbean history. I am passionate about the promotion of historical knowledge to enhance Belizean nationalism, care for the community, and an enhancement of identity. This in my view can be achieved through critical analysis.

2. You are a vibrant and charismatic Lecturer (Educator) in Belize. What do you believe is important in this role?

Each nation has its human capital as one of the major forces behind its opportunities for sustainable development. Education, in all forms, formal and informal has a direct relation with a country’s potential. As an educator, I see educators as being important agents for development in Belize. The teachers shape the lives of the people and can enable them to achieve their full potential. Unlocking human capital is a way of developing Belize.

As a history lecturer, my role is not only to teach but to share and develop nationalism. Our national community benefits from educated people that care for their nation.

3. Tell us more about your career? (Brief History) How do you receive inspiration to carry on daily? What subject areas are you focused on? What’s your relationship like with fellow staff members?

Since high school, I have been interested in the interactions of people, their cultures, and changes in society. I enrolled at the University of Belize to seek some answers, particularly about the loss of indigenous traditions, knowledge systems, and language. The path towards understanding contemporary Belize led me to fall in love with teaching. In 2013, I landed my first job opportunity as a Life Skills/History teacher at St. Johns’ College High School. I had a full history degree with a minor in education, it was intimidating to enter a classroom as a young man, who had just graduated from university. I battled with preparation not only because it was new but because many students carry a misconception of history. The battle was not only to teach but to find creative ways of curbing the misconceptions not only of history but of some concepts within it.

I can clearly remember that many students came with the understanding of Africa as a backward ‘country’, or of the Maya as a ‘dead’ group of people. These misconceptions were a challenge and an inspiration because I found a mission in life. My work has been largely dedicated to the examination and revision of historical narratives on Belize. I did this process in the classroom and also started doing rural community research to integrate with modern knowledge systems. I found a wealth of information that has been marginalized. Accounts, biographies, and heritage sites have not been included in the wider and general discussions of history.

I integrated the research in my classes and also became interested in developing a curriculum for the teaching of African and Maya History and Belizean history in a creative, engaging, and captivating way. This mission became coupled with the view of changing perspectives on Belize, to promote a decolonized view of our national development.

Along with other colleagues at St. John’s, I became involved in research, reading, analysing, and summarizing texts in order to build a curriculum on Belizean history. After a couple of years of work, we developed a curriculum for the teaching of African and Maya History and Belizean history at the high school level. We proceeded to develop textbooks that would provide a “Belizeanized” version of Belize. The students enjoyed a different approach to doing history and we expanded our work to include Latin American and Caribbean studies.

The projects around community knowledge also continued and we engaged in developing educational material on topics seldom discussed in Belize. Several publications have been the product of such work.

Today, I am at the university teaching, what I love most, history. I am involved in regional history and also historical courses that focus on skills building. I am also keen on getting my students involved in community and research projects that enable them to learn more about their society. This in turn, generates skills necessary to protect heritage, think critically, and enhance debate about our society.

4. Describe your transformation process from a primary school student to a Lecturer?

Transformation is about change and many things have changed from being a child to now. My educational, social, and even indirect political experiences have enabled me to understand the nature of Belize. As a child, I was filled with questions. I sought answers constantly both within and outside of the formal educational system. Many of my questions focused on trying to understand being Yucatec Maya in Belize. As a child, I was confused primarily because I got many bad “messages” within the education system about being Maya. The school systems do not allow the language to be practiced openly. It also denigrated indigenous knowledge systems and entertained a very Western view of everything. Perhaps in those days, I had little to no orientation about what was happening but I had questions. The biggest transformation I had included the realization that there are other ways of looking at things. As my perspective changed I became more open about Maya ways of doing things. The search for an answer led me to a purpose of changing narratives and through narratives promoting a more just world.

I studied at the primary level at the United Pentecostal School in San Antonio, Cayo. At the time, the school was very centered on its religious mission. When I entered High School at Sacred Heart College, I got introduced to a wider view of the world. It was not only geographically in a different space but I got to interact with students from different communities, belief systems, and dreams. This further oriented me to study history at the University of Belize. The university further opened spaces and I develop a hunger to learn and explore more. In 2015, I went on to do my Master’s degree at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Today, one of my dreams is to obtain a PhD in the humanities or social sciences.

5. What are the challenges you face as a Lecturer? Opportunities?

As a history lecturer in Belize, the prime challenges I encounter can also be understood as opportunities. The first challenge is that there is very little historical research done in Belize. This means that conducting research is a task that entails limited secondary literature. This is a challenge in the process of locating sources and conducting research. However, it is also an opportunity because there are many areas for academic research. Students can benefit from conducting original research and contributing to a better understanding of Belize. The second major challenge is that many misconceptions about Belizean history have been spread in Belize. The process of challenging them requires critical awareness. This is also an opportunity to develop more consciousness in Belize.

6. Why is History important to Belize’s National Progressive and Sustainable Development?

I think that historical analysis is important for a country’s development. The conceptual debate, analysis, and discussion enable a rigorous analysis of social, cultural, political, and economic structures that have shaped today. The analysis can indicate the origins of the strengths and weaknesses of our current system. It facilitates discussions on mistakes and also informs better policy for the present and future.

The historical discussion also enables critical engagement with local, national, regional, and world developments that impact a nation’s reality. The connections are important in order to create leaders that are able to understand holistically how to manage the affairs of a country.

Historical analysis also offers an opportunity to seek a better understanding of the Belizean identity. This process is further enhanced by the development of nationalism. It creates a human capital that cares for its national community. It encompasses the appreciation of diverse peoples in a geographic space.

The last aspect that I wish to mention is transferrable analytical, critical, and thinking skills. Historical discourse enables the questioning of data and the careful consideration of several factors and contexts. These skills are important for the creation of industry opportunities, and a more just and equitable society.

7. Can you describe five important projects you spearheaded/ were involved with over the years? What impacts have you made?

1. African and Maya History: In 2013, I got involved in the teaching of African and Maya History at the High School level. This project further developed into the development of a curriculum that enriched the Belizean classroom with national narratives that focus on root lines and national formation.

2. Rights, Children’s books: I did archival and secondary source research based on the 1919 “riots” in Belize Town. This riot which can also be categorized as a revolution entailed the complete takeover of Belize Town by ex-servicemen, who had experience racism while at war. The aim of the book is to develop an awareness of the topic and also challenge deep-rooted racism in our society.

3. Another Beautiful Day in San Antonio, Cayo: In 2018, a group of friends joined to re-ignite the celebration of Maya culture and traditions in San Antonio, Cayo. The one-day event celebrates many aspects of traditional Maya practices in Western Belize. The event is important because the Yucatec Maya record a higher level of assimilation into Belizean society and therefore, the attempt at reviving culture is significant.

4. Dajeel Taan: Dajeel Taan is an ecosystem of learning that features children’s texts on Belizean History, digitized magazines, a curriculum on Belizean history, and audio-visual materials that can be employed in the Belizean classroom. The website was created by Yasser Musa, Carlos Quiroz, and myself.

5. Intercultural Indigenous Language Institute: I am currently involved in the coordination of a recently established institute at the University of Belize. The aim of the institute is to promote the protection and continuity of indigenous languages and knowledge systems in Belize.

8. What can your community and country expect from you in the next five years? What is your definition of discipline and excellence?

It is hard to gauge what is going to happen in the future. I cannot comment on specific plans but I wish to continue contributing to formal and public education. I want to continue championing a decolonized vision of Belize through educational tools that enable discussion and debate. This entails continued research into topics that include the subaltern or marginalized of Belize.

I think that discipline and excellence come with a purpose. People that have a clear vision of where they want to go will do all the sacrifices to be there. By discipline, I mean following a path of self-driven actions that leads to excellence.

9. Share a story of your experiences at the University of Belize and the University of South Pacific?

The University of the South Pacific was a life-changing experience for many reasons. The educational experience entailed understanding historical development in the South Pacific region. The analysis enabled me to understand general global themes and events that affected different parts of the world. On the other hand, the university enabled me to engage with a diverse student population. As a regional university, the campus housed people from all over the pacific region, with different cultures, and traditions. Every day at school was quite an experience. I lived among different people and that along with education was the best aspect of my journey there.

The University of Belize has been my home for close to a year. It has been an amazing experience. The university offers many opportunities for growth both academically, and at the community level. It offers spaces for debate on national issues. More importantly, it empowers its faculty to feel responsible for national development.

10. What three words do you have to say to young Belizeans?

Think, Question, Inspire.




Kenrick Mark Coleman

Chairman, The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation ~ British Chevening Scholar ~ MA Public Relations, University of Greenwich, London ~ Holistic Conversations ~