Guatemala-Belize Language Exchange Project


Guatemala-Belize Language Exchange Project

The Guatemala-Belize Language Exchange Project (LX Project) is an innovative project under the auspices of the Defence Section of the British Embassy in Guatemala together with the British High Commission in Belize, and commenced operation on 21 July 2003, and continues to operate successfully today. This Project, and others in the past, emerged as part of the Confidence-Building Strategy agreed upon by Guatemala and Belize in the light of the OAS recommendations in 2002.

The British Government has funded this Project from its Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) - designed to help reduce conflict around the world - administered by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, and the Department for International Development (DfID). The LX Project [http://www.guatemalabelize.com] is one of several confidence building projects (including the Xate and Commercial Linkages Projects) [http://www.confidence2.org] and represent an effort to contribute to an eventual peaceful solution to the Guatemala-Belize territorial differendum.

By the end of March 2006, LX Project will have undertaken language and cultural activities with the participation of more than 20,000 people in Belize and Guatemala, many of whom are in the somewhat isolated communities of the Adjacency Zone, although the Project has undertaken significant work with the security forces of both countries.

The Project's website is designed with vthe idea of providing information on the Project itself, Belize and Guatemala (through its Links section), and as a means for Belizeans and Guatemalans to maintain communication on an individual basis through the Chat Room.

To date many government officials from both countries have participated, including Vice-Ministers and Ministers.

LX Project has also worked actively with the Organization of American States (OAS) through their Adjacency Zone Office, established between the Customs Houses of Melchor de Mencos and Benque Viejo del Carmen. At this location, ESL classes are provided to local Guatemalan Government officials, whilst in Belize City Spanish classes are taught to Belize Defence Force soldiers and officers.

LX Project is overseen by a Project Management Board comprising national government representatives of Belize and Guatemala from the main ministries (Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Education and Health), whose Executive Director is Colonel Robert Martin, OBE., Defence Attaché to Guatemala. The Project is managed by Dr. Neville Stiles.

LX Project is seen as a useful model which could be applied in other countries around the world with similar historic conflict situations.


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