First Lady of Kenya Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta Visits the National Gallery of Jamaica

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On Tuesday August 6, 2019, the National Gallery of Jamaica welcomed the First Lady of Kenya Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta. Mrs Kenyatta was in Jamaica accompanying her husband His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta on his three day State Visit to Jamaica. She toured the Permanent Galleries as well as the recently opened National Gallery of Jamaica Summer Exhibition 2019. An avid supporter of the visual arts, Her Excellency also interacted with a number of the exhibiting artists who were present to discuss their work in the exhibition..

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With a background in construction and architecture, Mrs Kenyatta has taken on her role as the First Lady and wife of the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya with grace and poise and has been received by the Kenyan public with love and warmth. She espouses strong family values and hard work.

Margaret Kenyatta is perhaps best known for Beyond Zero — an initiative aimed at complementing the Government of Kenya’s effort to eliminate maternal and child mortality and HIV AIDs. In 2014, The First Lady was presented with the United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year award in recognition of her distinguished efforts in the Beyond Zero Initiative.

Margaret is passionately and actively involved in wildlife conservation. She is a Board Member of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) Foundation, and Patron of the “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign to eliminate illegal ivory trade that has lead to the slaughter of thousands of elephants in Africa. Committed to environmental conservation, Her Excellency started an initiative, known as the First Lady Tree Planting Awards Scheme, to recognize Kenyan schools that plant the highest number of trees in their institutions.

In March 2017 she was presented with the prestigious Fellow of Honoris Causa Award from the globally respected Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in recognition of her tireless efforts towards the reduction of mother-to-child HIV transmission under the beyond Zero initiative.

Most recently, in May 2019, Her Excellency was awarded the “Health Leaders 2019 Award” by the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland in recognition for her outstanding advocacy work on global health matters.

Her Excellency is an acclaimed children’s ambassador and has visited many homes and institutions caring for children with special needs. Margaret Kenyatta’s care for people, is closely followed by her lover for the world in which they live; her desire is to leave this world a better place.


Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr, First Vice President of Costa Rica, visits the National Gallery of Jamaica

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Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr (First Vice President of Costa Rica) and Senator Tom Tavares-Finson (Chairman, NGJ)

Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr, First Vice President of Costa Rica, paid her first visit to the National Gallery of Jamaica on June 17, 2019. She has been attending the Jamaica Diaspora Conference 2019 which is being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre. She was welcomed by Chairman of the National Gallery, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, Deputy Chair Ms Marigold Harding, the Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica Mr. Vivian Crawford, as well as Senior Director Dr. Jonathan Greenland and Chief Curator Mr. O’Neil Lawrence.

Visiting the Gallery was an important part of Ms. Campbell Barr’s journey in reconnecting with her Jamaican roots; her grandmother was a Kingstonian who moved to Costa Rica. Ms. Campbell Barr was interested in the works depicting Jamaica’s socio-political history, as well as the Jamaican traditions that she was familiar with: Jonkunnu and the Nine Night. She was also particularly interested in works featuring National Hero Marcus Garvey. Garvey is also a national hero in Costa Rica due to his work there in Black social upliftment and is also a particular hero of Ms. Campbell Barr.

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O’Neil Lawrence (Chief Curator) and Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr (First Vice President of Costa Rica) discussing Colin Garland

Ms. Campbell Barr is Costa Rica’s first woman of African descent to be Vice President and she is a leading economist. She has been the head of the Center for Women of African Descent, the Alliance of Leaders of African Descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Black Parliament of the Americas. She has participated in several conferences and meetings around the world, as the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.


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Senator Tom Tavares-Finson (Chairman), Her Excellency Epsy Campbell Barr (First Vice President of Costa Rica), Dr. Jonathan Greenland (Senior Director), O’Neil Lawrence (Chief Curator) in front of Colin Garland’s In the Beautiful Caribbean

In addition to her other achievements Campbell Barr has written books and articles on topics such as democracy, inclusion, political and economic participation of women, people of African descent, sexism and racism, among others. She is an expert on issues of social development, equity, political participation of women and African descent.