On May 27, 2021, Belize gained a new Governor-General, Froyla Tzalam. The role of the Governor-General is to represent the Queen in Belize and has important duties to perform in Parliament. She assents to Bills passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate before they can become Laws of Belize. The Governor-General is appointed by the Sovereign under the advice of the Prime Minister. A Governor-General typically holds their title in office for five years. Froyla Tzalam is the third Governor-General of Belize and the second woman to hold the title.
Tzalam is a Mopan Maya from San Antonio, Toledo, and as a result, she is proud and influential in both the Mayan and Western worlds. She aspires to raise awareness and acceptance among indigenous and industrialized populations as a Mopan Maya leader; because of climate change, this project is much more important. Froyla Tzalam is motivated by the belief that present Maya descendants can be acutely conscious of their ancestors and can use their wisdom to help confront and overcome modern-day difficulties.
Froya Tzalam earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Rural Development from Trinity University in Texas and the University of Sussex in England, respectively. Tzalam enjoys farming forest vegetables, cooking, sewing, DIY projects, and current affairs. Froyla Tzalam is married with two children.
Tzalam has worked in the fields of culture, history, and indigenous rights since she was a child. Learning to Read and Write in Mopan Maya is written by Froyla Tzalam. She co-directed the African Maya History Project and co-authored the book Belize New Vision, African and Maya Civilizations. She curated various exhibitions on Belize’s culture and history while working at the National Institute of Culture and History. Froyla also served on the task committee for the Belizean Studies program, which is now being implemented in secondary schools across the country. Froyla most previously served as the Managing Director of Tumul K’in Center of Learning in Blue Creek, a Maya values-based high school.
She completed a report on Gender Equity among Q’eqchl Maya Women before taking the head at the Sarstoon Temesh Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), an NGO that supports indigenous people’s rights while protecting our country’s natural resources and legacy. As the first woman to run SATIM, her discoveries had a significant impact on her job. Froyla has served as the chair of two umbrella organizations, and her efforts have resulted in the inclusion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on national committees and the development of community-based organization governance to enhance transparency.