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The 12th Annual International Community of the Banyekigezi (ICOB) Convention Comes to Dallas – By Samuel Muwanguzi

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Posted July 28, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in The 12th annual ICOB Convention - Dallas ~ 3,057 views

     

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Theme — “Towards a Better Tomorrow; Unlocking Kigezi’s Human and Economic Potential,”

Preparation for a grand fundraising banquet to support ongoing projects of establishing and equipping centers of excellence at four technical institutes to provide vocational skills to the youths  in the greater Kigezi region have been finalized, organizers of the 12th convention of the International Community of the Banyekigezi (ICOB) have announced. “Since the main purpose of the ICOB convention is to mobilize its members and friends towards the socio-economic development of Kigezi , Banyakigezi delegates in the Diaspora and those living in Uganda and their well-wishers are upbeat about the education-inspired fundraising banquet because it offers them an invaluable opportunity to interact, network, and raise funds to support tertiary institutes in the region,” Mr. Andrew Hakiza, the chairman of the organizing committee  said in an interview in Dallas. “since the Kigezi region is home to several prominent individuals belonging to high and middle classes both in the Diaspora and in Uganda, we expect this year’s fundraising banquet to be a roaring success to boost Kigezi Education Fund (KEF) to continue supporting vocational, business and technical training of the youth in the greater Kigezi region,” Mr. Hakiza said with unreserved optimism.

Ugandans and their friends who turned up at the delegate registration drive for the ICOB convention organized by the Dallas ICOB Chapter during an outdoor barbeque picnic at the Chisom Park in Hurst, Texas recently. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Muwanguzi)

Ugandans and their friends who turned up at the delegate registration drive for the ICOB convention organized by the Dallas ICOB Chapter during an outdoor barbeque picnic at the Chisom Park in Hurst, Texas recently. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Muwanguzi)

The annual ICOB convention, whose theme is “Towards a Better Tomorrow; Unlocking Kigezi’s Human and Economic Potential,” opens here at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Addison near Dallas, Texas, USA from Thursday July 30 to Monday August 3. The ICOB is an umbrella association of people from the greater Kigezi region comprising of four districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, and Rukungiri.  The Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who will deliver a keynote address to the ICOB convention on behalf of President Museveni is expected to arrive here in Dallas from New York later this week. During the last few years, ICOB has raised over 80,000 US dollars (over 300 million shillings) toward the construction and establishment of four ICT-based centers of excellence in each of the four districts in the greater Kigezi region. “These centers are offering a social, economic, and political intervention to the widespread unemployment among the youths who do not proceed to academic institutions either after their ordinary or advanced levels of education,” Mr. Hakiza observed.

The Dallas ICOB Chapter Executive Secretary Rev. Joseph Kamugisha in red with others working the BBQ spit at a registration

The Dallas ICOB Chapter Executive Secretary Rev. Joseph Kamugisha in red with others working the BBQ spit at a registration

Three of these centers of excellence, located at Rukungiri Technical Institute, Uganda Martyrs Technical Institute Nyarushanje, Kabale district, and Kisoro Technical Institute respectively, are providing vocational training using the state-of-the-art ICT facilities to students and residents in the districts. At Nyakatare Technical Institute, Kanungu District, ICOB established and launched a Center of Excellence for Electrical and Plumbing Programs in 2010.  These centers of excellence are not only training young Banyakigezi but are also serving residents in the four districts, other Ugandans, and people from neighboring countries. Mr. Hakiza said that ICOB has worked jointly with multiple stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, civic and religious leaders, the African Development Bank, and the Governor of Bank of Uganda, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to establish these centers to provide youths with vocational skills to engage in productive economic activities.

The Executive secretary of the Texas ICOB Chapter, also responsible for organizing the ICOB convention, Rev. Joseph Kamugisha confirmed that the ambassador of Uganda to the USA Ms.  Olivia Wonekha and the Mayor of Addison City Mr. Todd Meier will grace the 3-day event and address the opening ceremony. “The Dallas city chief protocol officer Ms. Beth Huddleston, who will represent the Mayor of Dallas City will issue a proclamation for the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and officially welcome him to the city of Dallas,” Rev. Kamugisha revealed.  He said that Ms. Beth Hudleston has also arranged VIP procedures for both the Prime Minister and the ambassador during their arrival and departure at Dallas Fort worth (DFW) airport.

A cross-section of Ugandans enjoying barbeque at the ICOB picnic held at the Chisom Park in Hurst, Texas

A cross-section of Ugandans enjoying barbeque at the ICOB picnic held at the Chisom Park in Hurst, Texas

The chairman of the local organizing committee Mr. Andrew Hakiza said that invitations have been extended to all people hailing from the four districts of the greater Kigezi region in the Diaspora and cabinet ministers, members of Parliament, business people, and well-wishers from Uganda. Those who regularly attend the ICOB conventions from Uganda include the former Prime Minister, now aspiring presidential candidate Mr. Patrick John Amama Mbabazi, Minister of State for Economic Monitoring Mr. Henry Banyenzaki, and the New Vision CEO Mr. Robert Kabushenga. “Given the unfolding exciting political season in Uganda, many aspiring politicians from the Kigezi region are expected to come and interact with fellow Banyakigezi since the ICOB Convention also provides a forum to sustain and promote Kigezi culture, develop networks, create opportunities for members to meet old and new friends, and to celebrate the rich Kigezi heritage,” Mr. Hakiza stated.

Some of the local sponsors of the event include Brown Mackie College in Bedford with branches across the United States, the East Africa Chamber of Commerce (EACC) of Dallas, the premier organization for investment and information by East Africans in the area;  Mr. James Garuga, CEO of Kinkizi Development Corporation; Mr. Charles Rugamba, CEO of New Models of farming and effective land utilization strategies; Mr. Andrew Rugasira of Good African Coffee Business Model; and Mr. Patrick Mweheirwe, MD Stanbic Bank-Uganda.

Crown Plaza Hotel Dallas, near Galleria Addison 14315 Midway Rd, Addison, TX 75001, United States

Crown Plaza Hotel Dallas, near Galleria Addison 14315 Midway Rd, Addison, TX 75001, United States

Other major highlights of the 12th ICOB  convention will include an economic forum to be addressed by  the executive director, National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS), Dr. Sam Mugasi, and investment consultant and CEO of Concero Global,   Dr. , Frank Roby, the Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and  Violence at The World Bank,  Mrs. Betty Bigombe, the Director Technology Development Center, Uganda Industrial Research Center, Dr. Dick Kamugasha, and the Chief Executive Officer and  Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Morrison Rwakakamba. Presenters at the education forum will include the Director, Texas State Technical College, Mr. Leroy White, Dr. Denis Akankunda Bwesigye of Columbia University, and Dr. Lillian Katono Butungi, a founder member of the Texas-based Foundation for Educational Transformation and Community Engagement, while the health forum will be addressed by the Minister of State for Health Dr. Chris Baryomunsi and the former Director of Clinical Services at Bwindi Community Hospital, Dr. Tutaryebwa. These events will be crowned with a dinner dance and a fundraising banquet.

“Okumanyana n’obumwe”, the words on the International Community for Banyakigezi (ICOB) logo trans-literally mean ‘knowing each other/one another and unity’.

“Okumanyana n’obumwe”, the words on the International Community for Banyakigezi (ICOB) logo trans-literally mean ‘knowing each other/one another and unity’.

On Sunday, following an interdenomination church service, the VIPs will  visit George W. Bush Presidential Library Museum and the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District before the delegates are treated to a Texas-style outdoor Picnic and barbeque. Ms. Juliet Byandagara, a member of the program committee described the events at the convention as packed with “educative, health, economic insights and plain old FUN!”

The entertainment will mainly feature US-based Ugandan artistes  including the contemporary gospel Saxophonist “Yinka Sax,” the Houston-based Isaac Kyobe,  the Dallas-Fort worth-based ICOB Kids Club, Mr. James Mushonda, a renown Kigezi indigenous poetry rapper (Omwevugyi), the North Richland-based comedian and karate specialist, Mugabi Shuri,  and the reigning Miss Kigezi Tourism, Phoebe Mulungi of Nkumba University.

Dallas, Texas Dispatch.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

2 Comments


  1.  

    Greetings,
    Whom do I contact to pay for membership and get an exhibition table?




  2.  

    Hello Mwatu Kioko:

    Greetings! For your exhibition/vendor table, please, visit; http://www.abanyakigezi.net and scroll down to “Vendor Tables” From there you will see a link from which you can make your payment.

    In case you have additional information, please feel free to call me on 817.500.6147

    Thank you!

    Rev. Joseph W. Kamugisha





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