On Tuesday, September 15, the Africa Center hosted a luncheon roundtable with H.E. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the Sixty-Ninth Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. He serves concurrently as Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Uganda, a post he has held since 2005.
Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham welcomed guests and gave a short introduction.
In his remarks, Kutesa discussed both his tenure as President of the just-concluding UN General Assembly and the role of Uganda in the East African region’s security.
Kutesa focused on three important issues taken up by the United Nations over the past year: climate change, and UN discussions about limiting carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases; the seventeen new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being adopted as follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and UN Security Council reform.
Kutesa also discussed Uganda’s role in Africa, emphasizing the country’s contributions to promoting increased trade and investment as well as its diplomatic efforts in conflicts such as South Sudan and Burundi. He also noted Uganda’s important role in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), where earlier this month nineteen Ugandan peacekeepers were killed in an attack by al-Shabaab. Kutesa remarked that his country had suffered the loss of some 2,700 troops since deploying there and the sacrifices were not always adequately appreciated by the international community.
Also in attendance and participating in the discussion were H.E. Oliver Wonekha, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the United States; Ambassador Alfred Nnam, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Uganda; the Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Amanda Dory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs; Shannon Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Catherine Byrne, Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council; the Honorable Johnnie Carson, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; and former US Africa Command commanders William Ward and Carter Ham.