Aus-PNG Network Newsletter - October 2017

6 October 2017   |   Speeches and Conferences   |   By Anna Kirk and Euan Moyle

Welcome to the Aus-PNG Network’s first quarterly newsletter. The Network is an initiative to build stronger connections between Australia and Papua New Guinea, aiming to raise awareness of the relationship between the two nations, share knowledge, and facilitate people-to-people connections. The Nework is hosted by the Lowy Institute in Sydney with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We will send out newsletters every three months to keep you up to date on upcoming events, interesting articles and opportunities to engage with PNG and Australia.

This is the October 2017 edition of the newsletter. To subscribe to this list, please email

2013 Aus-PNG Network Emerging Leaders Dialogue
Photo: Lowy Institute
2013 Aus-PNG Network Emerging Leaders Dialogue

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    Applications open for the 2017 Aus-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue

    The annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue is the Aus-PNG Network’s flagship event. It brings together ten young Papua New Guineans and ten young Australians  who are leaders in their fields for two days of networking and discussion of priority issues for each country and the bilateral relationship. The event is now in its fifth year and for the first time, it will be held in PNG this year from 12-15 December. Discussion will focus on research, innovation, new technologies and the importance of cross-disciplinary conversations to tackle societies’ big problems. The Dialogue will be held alongside the PNG IMPACT conference which is coordinated by the University of Papua New Guinea and James Cook University.

    To apply or nominate a candidate, please send a CV and a paragraph detailing the suitability of the applicant to by close of business on Wednesday 18 October.

    Recent Publications and Events

    • Fiona Hukula from PNG’s National Research Institute reflected on gender and development in Papua New Guinean politics and economics at the 2017 PNG Update in August. The PNG Update is an annual conference held by the University of Papua New Guinea and the Australian National University in Port Moresby.
    • Jonathan Pryke and Joanna Lester examined the power of rugby league in PNG, and the ways in which it can help grow the relationship between Australia and PNG. This is particularly relevant at the moment, given the Hunters win in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup this year.
    • The Bougainville Chocolate Festival held in Arawa showcased the high quality cocoa grown on the island. Supported by the Australian Government, the event aims to raise awareness of the economic potential of the crop and connect Bougainvillean farmers with markets in Australia.  

    What we’re reading

    • In a three part series on the Devpolicy blog, Terence Wood discussed the problems with PNG’s recent elections, how they can be improved, and what role Australia can play to assist. Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow and former long-time Papua New Guinea correspondent Sean Dorney was also in PNG for the elections, and has written a series of pieces for The Interpreter.
    • Kerryn Baker looked at what the future holds for women in PNG politics after none were elected during the 2017 national election.
    • Fabian Hakalits investigated the Bougainville Peace Agreement on its 16th anniversary, and how the peace has held since then.
    • Read the inspiring story of Dr Jeffry Noro and his journey from teenage resistance fighter during the Bougainville Crisis to marine biotechnology scientist. We were privileged to have Jeffry participate in the Aus-PNG Network’s Knowledge Sharing for Sustainable Futures workshop in May, and you can read the outcomes document from the event here.   

    Upcoming Events

    a Bit na Ta - Melbourne

    Bunjilaka Melbourne Museum | September 22 2017 – February 4 2018
    a Bit na Ta (Source of the Sea) is a multimedia installation about how the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain province experience place in and around Blanche Bay. The work is a collaboration between internationally renowned Papua New Guinean singer George Telek, celebrated Australian musician David Bridie and historian Gideon Kakabin. The exhibition also includes contemporary artworks by Tolai artist Lisa Hilli, a participant in the 2016 Aus-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Further information on the exhibition can be found here

    Fostering Partnerships in Research for Development - Brisbane

    University of Queensland | October 30 2017 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm
    The Research for Development Impact Network and the University of Queensland are hosting a networking forum for researchers and practitioners of international development. This is also a chance to hear about examples of successful partnerships across disciplines and their positive impacts. Find out more and register here.

    PNG IMPACT Conference – Port Moresby

    University of Papua New Guinea | December 12-13, 2017
    The PNG IMPACT Conference, coordinated by the University of Papua New Guinea and James Cook University, will showcase a selection of active research projects across the sciences, social sciences and humanities which are delivering societal benefit for PNG. Over two days, speakers and delegates will consider how research can be designed, coordinated and communicated to have positive social impact. 

    PNG after the elections – Canberra

    Australian National University | October 11 and October 18, 2017
    The Development Policy Centre at the ANU is hosting two events in October analysing the issues of economics and politics after the elections in Papua New Guinea. Now that the excitement of the vote itself has passed, what are the implications for PNG’s political landscape and what are the new government’s plans to tackle PNG’s striking economic challenges? 

    Meet the emerging leaders: Sebastian de Brennan


    Sebastian de Brennan was a participant in the 2016 Aus-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. He is a barrister specialising in criminal, employment, coronial, human rights, and migration law working in Sydney, Adelaide and Darwin. We spoke to him about how his family’s links with PNG first sparked his interest in the country and how the Australian legal profession can better engage with PNG.

    Get involved


    From November 2017 the Aus-PNG Network will begin hosting a quarterly networking event to provide an informal opportunity for Australians and Papua New Guineans to connect in person. The first function will be held at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. More information will be provided on the Aus-PNG Network website.
    The Network relies on the participation of interested groups and individuals to build the directory of connections on our website. To have your organisations featured in this important directory, email the following to

    • A link to your web page
    • A brief description of what your organisation does, its relationship with Australia/Papua New Guinea and what it aims to achieve
    • Your organisation's logo and permission to feature it as part of the Network.

    For more information on PNG community groups in Australia, funding opportunities for NGOs, scholarships and volunteering programs, the Get involved section on the Aus-PNG Network website contains useful links and specific information.