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Houston International Festival "Out of Africa” Spotlights Ethiopia to 500,000 Visitors
This annual event April 19, 20 and 26, 27, 2008 will honor Ethiopia....the three journeys as the Cradle of Mankind
Houston International Festival, 4203 Montrose Blvd, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77006. Phone 713.654.8808, Fax 713.654.1719
contactus@ifest.org . Web site: www.ifest.org

"Lucy Legacy: Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia" at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences
In 2006, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia and the Houston Museum of Natural Science of Texas signed an agreement to mount an exhibition entitled "Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia" The agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ambassador Mohammed Drir and the President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Mr. Joel A. Bartsch. Following the signing of the agreement, Ambassador Mohammed Dirir said the centerpiece of this Ethiopian Exhibition in the United States will be Lucy, but nearly 190 other Ethiopian Heritages items from various regions of the country will be included. These range form humankinds' earliest stone tools to contemporary articles representing the legacy of our forebears and of our own time. The Ambassador further said that millions of Americans-school children and adults- will view in some eleven major museums across the United States these fabulous collections from the cradle of human kind, Ethiopia. He went on to say that they will have the opportunity to somberly reflect on human origins, they will have a chance to know about an ancient millennia-old civilization in Africa, and a chance to acquaint themselves with contemporary Ethiopia through a realistic image.

Visitors to Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia provided the following comments:

"Lucy's worth more than diamonds. Thank you!"

"We have come from Santiago, Chile to see the exhibit. Very well done and an inspiration to go to Ethiopia."

"All the way up from Argentina to meet Lucy, this is Alex thanking you for this wonderful experience."

"Please thank the government of Ethiopia for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!"

"Hey Lucy! What a joy it was to get to see you in person!"

"This is a tremendous teaching opportunity for the youth of Houston." &endash; Jackie

"Absolutely phenomenal! What a pleasure! What an education!"

"Absolutely phenomenal! I had no idea how much Ethiopia added to our civilization!"

 "I have been truly blessed to have stood and looked at Lucy."

 "Lucy speaks after 3.2 million years. Our story must be heard." &endash; Faye

According to Ambassador Mohammed Drir, the gains for Ethiopia comprise primarily: positive image building; renewed interest in Ethiopia's tourist attractions and consequent increase in tourist flow from America to Ethiopia, and funds for capacity building at Ethiopian museums for heritage conservation. The touring exhibition will have its premier opening in Houston, Texas in September 2007, coinciding with the beginning of Ethiopia's Millennium Year, and travel to other metropolises, with home coming to Addis Ababa scheduled for may 2013.

In conclusion Ambassador Mohammed said, "Our partners in this exhibition project, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, are a world class-museum with a highly deserved reputation for staging great exhibitions involving priceless objects from China, the Vatican, Russia and other countries."

The President of the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences of Texas, USA, Mr. Joel A. Bartsch said "On behalf of the staff and trustees of the museum, I truly want to say what I am honored is to be here with you this morning, primarily, in the spirit of partnership. It is easy, as some people say that today is signing of this historic exhibition agreement, is the culmination or the ending of something. And, in many ways, it is the culmination of a lot of years of effort."

He further said "Over the past several years, we have been working with our partners with people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, distinguished members of National Coordinating Committee and our many colleagues throughout the Ethiopian museum community to make today's signing a reality. "However, while this a very important milestone, what today is really is, it is the formal acknowledgement of a partnership among friends." He went to say that it is a partnership that has developed over several years and one that we believe will last for many decades to come.

Mr. Bartsch said that, the Houston Museum has, in recent years worked with partners around the world on a wide variety of exhibitions including with the forbidden city of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China, with Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, and churches of the Vatican from Vatican City.

Mr. Bartsch pointed out that "none of these exhibitions is more important than the Lucy Legacy Exhibition that we are talking about today."

He gave further explanations to his argument in the following words: "In a way, that is because, whether you are looking at the pre-historic period partly by Lucy and now Selam, stretching back millions of years. But from the historic period of Ethiopia, that stretches back thousands of years. Ethiopia's rich cultural heritage and the vibrant country that it is today, is one of the best kept secrets in the world. And it is a story that needs to be told much more broadly."

As Bartsch put it, Ethiopia truly has a great deal to share with the world. It has a great deal that it can learn from Ethiopia. We believe that this exhibition, in partnership with Ethiopian people, will go a very long way towards making that goal a reality, he added.

these objects. These are beyond cash value. In the west, we are in the mindset of thinking of putting tags on anything. But we are more concerned on the historic, spiritual, and the partnership part of it. But the agreement stipulates that there is an insurance which is appropriate and full. And the Houston Museum of Natural Science is a museum that has an experience of 30 years in dealing with highly valuable objects.

Gezahgen Kebede, President, Ethio-American Trade & Investment Council
Honorary Consul General of Ethiopia
www.eatic.org - One World. Many Cultures. Endless Possibilities.