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Monday, 26th October 2015
The Minister of Tourism, Ms Maria Mutagamba, and other officials at the exhibition in New York last month.

As Uganda concluded its presidency atthe United Nations this year, an exhibition at UN headquarters in New York washeld showcasing sculptures, paintings; beautiful art work that brightened up"Uganda, the Pearl" exhibition.

Mr Sam Kutesa, the outgoing president of the 69th session of the UN GeneralAssembly, used the exhibition to celebrate Uganda, giving opportunity toshowcase the country's unique selling propositions to international markets.
From September 9-11, Uganda's tourism community mingled at the high profile UNheadquarters, branding the nation as a prime tour destination.

Mr Kutesa and Ms Maria Mutagamba, the Minister for Tourism, treated the UNGeneral Assembly to a cocktail. In his remarks, UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon stated that he was "truly honoured to take part in this event andgrateful for the invitation".

He acknowledged that in Uganda as wellas many other countries across the world, tourism employs millions of people,generates income and lifts communities out of poverty.
Ban Ki-moon pledged the UN's readiness to shoulder common efforts incoordination with the World Tourism Organisation so that tourism continues to "change our lives, bringing us together –not only as a global community, butalso as builders of the better world we all want for us and our grandchildren"

Fronting Uganda's most popular earner,the silverback mountain gorilla, Ms Mutagamba noted that of countries that arehome to silver-back mountain gorillas, Uganda boasts of 54 per cent of theirpopulation.
Ambassador Richard Nduhuura, the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the UN,said this was the first time Uganda had exhibited at the UN headquarters.

He lauded Mr Kutesa for leveraging Uganda's tourism potential by ensuring thatsuch an auspicious occasion could take place in the presence of variousdignitaries, including senior UN officials.

At the cocktail was UN's ProtocolService, all 193 member states. Also in attendance were Ambassador PatrickMugoya and Dr Andrew Seguya Executive Director of the Uganda WildlifeAuthority, a delegation from the Tourism Sector in Uganda and representativesof the Africa Travel Association in New York.
Meanwhile, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) made a presentation at the Uganda NorthAmerica Association conference on September 4 where Mr Stephen Asiimwe, theboard's chief executive officer, shaded light on Uganda¡¯s tourism following thetheme "Opportunities in Trade, Tourism and Investment partnership betweenUnited States and Uganda.
UTB registered 10 tour operators to engage travel wholesalers in the US,hunting for opportunities to market Uganda but also the East Africa region tothe possible one billion who travel the world every year.

Kutesa's remarks
Mr Kutesa said the General Assembly had long recognized the importance ofwildlife and its contribution to sustainable development among communities.Hereminded guests of the General Assembly's decision to proclaim March 3annually, as World Wildlife Day. Under his presidency, the Assembly adopted alandmark resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife. It is on thisfoundation that business meetings were held among the international communityto boost the sector in Uganda.

Animals, culture come to life

Featured in the exhibition werepaintings by Stephen Gwoktcho, sculptures of Uganda's Wildlife by Americansculptor Bart Walter, Batik work by Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi and photographs ofUgandan culture by D. Nsereko.
It was a showcase of wildlife, beautiful cultural diversity, the gradualdiverse geographical features, from semi-arid, through grassland savannah tothe thick equatorial rain forests.

Dr Stephen Gwoktcho's silver-backgorilla and elephant paintings emphasise that Uganda has a stake in the loss ofwildlife's natural habitat.
Global warming and climate change might deprive these beautiful creatures of ahome. Uganda remains resolute to protect the mountain gorilla and the Africanelephant, among other animal varieties.

"The elephant as a subject of art andart depiction dates back to the pre-historic era evidenced by the rockpaintings of which tourism sites like Nyero Rock Paintings (Uganda) are knownfor. Uganda's conservation drive through these paintings is addressing a crisisof global magnitude which if not attended to will deprive Uganda and the entireworld of her natural and wildlife heritage," Dr Gwoktcho said.
Bart Walter's two Chimpanzee sculptures which form part of "The Troupe" were amarvel. These graced the exhibition, having been shipped from the ChattanoogaZoo where they are permanently on display.

The story of the pieces depicts a motherand child and teenage chimpanzee as part of a social structure that we caneasily identify with as humans. Bart Walter travels all over the world toobserve wildlife as subjects for his sculptures. He followed chimpanzees inUganda's Kibale forest and sculpted the Silverback Gorilla at the UgandaWildlife Authority Headquarters in Kampala.
Uganda's cultural batiks and photographs by Nuwa Nnyanzi and D. Nsereko werethat of a country gifted by nature; our tourism flavor, the hospitality of ourpeople and our rich cultural diversity second to none.
Bart also loaned the exhibition six other priceless works of art featuring acheetah hunting an antelope and its baby, a rhino, a giraffe family, a herd of "nkofu" (guinea fowl) and a family of elephants.

Traditional items
Royal regalia such as the Pipe, Mother hen and Mumbejja (the Cattle Keeper); are some of the works that reflect on our cultural contribution to the world.
Uganda is a known success story of a mutual co-existence between the centralgovernment and traditional cultural institutions. These royal traditionalcommodities add to the serene environment which makes Uganda ripe for tourismand business investment.

The exhibition was curated by Mr Allan Buchman and the set updon to meet perfection. The way the pieces stood out among the gatheringmarried brightly with the artists' depiction of nature in colour gradation.Their palates reflected the ease with which they glorified nature; thechimpanzees in a lush of green, their black fur visible from a far.

Source: Douglas D. Sebamala