Photograph: Paul Harris, Seesaw Photography.
In this Report, the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia team summarises the outcomes of the fourth annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue. The Dialogue assembled a group of young leaders from diverse fields in both countries. Discussion focused on the role of young people in leadership, alternative route to economic empowerment, art and advocacy, and contemporary PNG-Australia relations. The young leaders used the Dialogue to make new professional connections and foster shared understanding, proving the enduring value of people-to-people relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia.


  • Young people in both countries face similar challenges when seeking education, employment, and leadership opportunities. Social and economic empowerment and investment is key to fostering youth development, and both nations can learn from each other in this space.
  • Alternative routes to economic empowerment are necessary to expand opportunities for success in a both Australia and Papua New Guinea, and partnerships between both countries across all sectors may be a way to continue promoting innovation.
  • Cross-cultural exchange between people in both countries is crucial, and creating shared learning and understanding is necessary for the continues success of both Papua New Guinea and Australia.


Read the full Outcomes Document and event summary.



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About the Authors

Harriet Smith - Research Associate, Lowy Institute - Lowy Institute

Harriet Smith

Research Associate, Lowy Institute

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Harriet Smith is a Research Associate in the Melanesia Program, where she works primarily on the Aus-PNG Network. She holds a Master of International Studies from the University of Queensland.

Jonathan Pryke - Director, Pacific Islands Program, Lowy Institute - Lowy Institute

Jonathan Pryke

Director, Pacific Islands Program, Lowy Institute

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Jonathan Pryke is the Director of the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute. Prior to joining the Institute Jonathan was a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University where, on top of his research obligations, he was editor of the Development Policy Blog and a co-convenor of the Australasian Aid Conference. Jonathan is interested in economic development in the Pacific Islands region, Australia’s relationship with Melanesia, the role of aid and the private sector in Pacific Islands development and Pacific labour mobility. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Sydney, a Masters of Public Policy (Development Policy), Masters of Diplomacy and Graduate Diploma in International and Development Economics from the Australian National University.

Anna Kirk - Project Director, Aus-PNG Network - Lowy Institute

Anna Kirk

Project Director, Aus-PNG Network

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Anna Kirk was Research Fellow and Project Director of the Aus-PNG Network at the Lowy Institute, where her work focused on Australia’s relations with Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. Anna holds a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Queensland, with majors in Peace and Conflict Studies and Spanish. Anna grew up in Port Vila, Vanuatu. During her undergraduate degree she spent a semester studying Spanish language at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. In 2013, Anna spent six months teaching English in Santiago, Chile.