Arlie Petters is a Belizean-American and the founder of the Petters Institute in Belize. The purpose of the Petters Institute is to develop young talent in math and science and contribute to national development in Belize.
Arlie Petters is also the Benjamin Powell Professor and Professor of Mathematics, Physics, and Business Administration at Duke University. Petters has contributed significantly to math and science through his work in the mathematics and physics of gravitational lensing. Petters also serves as Chairman of the Council of Science Advisers to the Prime Minister of Belize.
As an intellectual, one of the distinctive things about Arlie Petters is his commitment to social change and the development of his native country, Belize.
In February of 2006, Peters was honored by the National Academies, including the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. He was selected to be among a portrait gallery of distinguished African-Americans in the physical sciences.
Petters has stated that his highest goal in life is to encourage young children to believe that they can do great things:
"What I am most proud of is actually very simple and very humble. If I can get a child to be charged up and to believe in himself, to believe in herself—that they can do great things in life—whenever I see that I've accomplished that, have had that spark go off in a child, those are the things that I am most proud of."