Past Participants

These are some of the past participants of the diverse group of young and dynamic leaders from the two countries who join to discussion on topical and relevant issues.


Electrical Engineer and Analyst

Francis Sakato is Principal Technical Analyst-Electricity with the PNG Independent Consumer and Competition Commission. In this role he provides technical advice on all electricity matters including licencing, contract arrangements and codes. With a strong career background in technology and energy, Francis believes the role of access to electricity will be a key driver in PNG's future economic development. Access to small scale and renewable power sources will be critical to this success, and Francis is keen to discuss the ways government regulation can be configured to progress such initiatives. Francis holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the PNG University of Technology, Lae and has previously worked with Telikom PNG and Ramu NiCo Management.

NRL Country Manager

Cathy Neap is the country manager in PNG for the National Rugby League. She has been working in the NRL's Sport for Development program in PNG since 2014 and worked her way up to become the first woman to hold the role as Country Manager. In 2017 Cathy captained PNG's first ever womens national Rugby League team the PNG Orchids to the 2017 World Cup in Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of PNG, and prior to joining the NRL was working in business. Cathy believes everyone is born a leader, and it is little things that each does that contribute to the bigger picture, and makes us each a leader.

Ms. Kate Uvia is a tertiary qualified professional communicator from Bougainville and East New Britain. As a proud PNG woman, she has forged her career at the cutting edge of a range of bilateral and multi-lateral organisations working to promote inclusive economic growth for all Papua New Guineans. These have included the World Bank Group and two major DFAT implementing partners in the governance arena. She was a driving force behind the ‘Tanim Graun’ or ‘Turn the Earth’ prime time panelist discussion TV series in PNG that would examine contemporary development issues through a political/public/private/civil society lens. She is passionate about PNG-Australia relations and using her experience and community linkages to give a ‘voice to the voiceless’ by mainstreaming traditionally marginalising issues in PNG such as disability and gender. She has and continues to volunteer her free time with national disability, HIV/AIDS and Church organisations.

Foreign Service Officer

Cynthia Nanareng is an officer with the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs, working as a desk officer in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand branch of the department's bilateral division. In this role she works on issues relating to countries and organizations within the region. The main duties she performs in her role include facilitating meetings, preparing meeting documents and meeting outcome, providing policy advice as well as attending meetings in relation to the work she does. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Papua New Guinea. As a young public servant she is interested in seeing how our two countries being close Bilateral Partners can continue working together to effectively achieve mutual goals. In this dialogue she is interested in discussing how the proposed “Comprehensive Strategic Economic Partnership,” which will be the overarching framework of Agreement between the two countries replacing the “Principles Guiding Relations between Australia and PNG” and other Arrangements, Agreements, MOUs, etc. can be utilized to help transform the relationship from a dependent donor recipient one to a more economic relationship.

Researcher and Director

Kylie McKenna is acting Director of the Centre for Social Research at Madang's Divine Word University, while on leave from her position at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney. Her expertise is in helping stakeholders identify, analyse and respond to challenges of social and environmental change, work which she has applied in an international development context especially in PNG for the past decade. Kylie has published widely on topics including post-colonialism, law, aid, revenue distribution, security and the environment. She was awarded a PhD in Sociology from ANU in 2012, and is the author of Corporate Social Responsibility and National Resource Conflict published in 2016.

Social Development Specialist

Rachel is a social development specialist, anthropologist, podcaster, public speaker and experienced strategist and thought leader. Rachel launched her podcast, Good Will Hunters in June 2018, out of a desire to explore how the not for profit sector can become more sustainable, innovative and collaborative by partnering with the private sector and conversely how the private sector can play a more meaningful role in social impact and international development. Rachel is passionate about supporting organisations with the knowledge and connections they need to sustain, scale and communicate their impact. Rachel has worked alongside government, the private sector and the not for profit sector in Australia and throughout the region. Rachel holds a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, a Degree in Political, Economic and Social Sciences and has studied in both Australia and India, including at the prestigious Tata Institute for Social Sciences. Rachel has also worked extensively in PNG, including work in the education sector alongside the Kokoda Track Foundation, as well as work on the World Bank’s tuberculosis response.

Economist and Researcher

Maholopa (Maho) Laveil is currently an economics lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). In 2017-2018 he undertook studies for his Master of International and Development Economics at the Australian National University in Canberra and was selected as a PNG and Pacific Greg Taylor Scholar, leading to a one-month internship. Maho’s current research and work include trade policy, financial inclusion, PNG’s general elections, and providing assistance to PNG’s 2019 supplementary budget. In addition, Maho has recently coordinated an Oxford Policy Management Ltd Australia project, surveying 415 youth in Port Moresby, using a complexity-based model for collecting data. The process of signification allowed individual stories to be collected, mapped and explored visually in a quantitative framework, and has been used only twice in PNG. This project trained five UPNG staff in the new model and hopes to make data collected available to other UPNG researchers.

Rural Health Outreach Officer and Dentist

Preston Karue works as the Rural Outreach Coordinator at the East Sepik Provincial Health Authority. In his role he plans and coordinates specialist Rural Health Programs for the different specialist Departments of the health authority and also coordinates disease outbreak response. He also works closely with NGO’s and other agencies to coordinate activities and to maximise results for the community. He runs a weekly social media campaign against violence and is a strong advocate for rural and community development and behaviour change communication using songs as a medium to educate the population on important issues. He has previously worked as a dental officer with the PNG Defence Force, Volunteer Dentist for YWAM Medical Ships and as a resident dental officer at Madang’s Modilon General Hospital. He graduated with a degree in dental surgery from the University of PNG.

Medical Professional

Dr Ishani Kaluthotage is a medical doctor working at Cairns Hospital passionate about global health and humanitarian medicine. She graduated from Griffith University in 2018 with a Masters of Medicine. She is currently completing her Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University and studying Tok Pisin at Australian National University. She has extensive volunteer experience in health care and promotion, human trafficking and sustainable development projects in Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Tanzania, and Papua New Guinea. She has developed a strong relationship with PNG as a volunteer doctor and as a medical educator through Queensland Rural Medical Education and Kiunga Hospital, Western Province. She is also the the Australian-Papua New Guinea Liaison Officer for “Project Yumi - Bush Dokta” – an NGO improving access to health care and resources in rural and remote PNG. Her passion lies in health policy and minimising health inequalities in low resourced environments within the Indo-Pacific region.

Major, Papua New Guinea Defence Force

Adolf Kaien is a Major in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and Operations Officer for the 2nd Royal Pacific Islands Regiment based at Moem Barracks in Wewak. He joined the PNGDF in 2003 and was commissioned as an officer in 2006. His extensive defence career has included deployment as a platoon commander to Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI (2009), officer instructor and infantry instructor, before his most recent appointment to 2RPIR in 2016.

Teacher and Entrepreneur

Liandra Gaykamangu is a Yolngu woman from North-East Arnhem Land and is passionate about building meaningful relationships with people from across the Pacific. She is an experienced English High School teacher. She is also an entrepreneur and business founder, establishing her swimwear enterprise Liandra Swim in 2018. Her swimwear label is inspired by her Aboriginal heritage and works to create meaningful opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture and Indigenous Australian women, through fashion. She is currently a delegate, representing 50 Indigenous business owners from around Australia.

Director and Financial Adviser

Brett Crabb is a financial adviser and business founder based in Melbourne.  He founded his business in 2011 and remains a director and part-owner of Finwest Wealth Management, a financial advice business specialising in services to young wealth accumulators.  With Brett’s guidance, Finwest has now expanded to serve a range of active clients across Australia, with offices in both Perth and Melbourne.  Brett has an extensive career in wealth management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He has long had a keen interest in strengthening ties with PNG and sharing his experience in entrepreneurship and business development. He greatly enjoys his work with Finwest but forming strong connections with PNG is where his real passion lies.  Brett holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia, a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning from FINSIA and is a Certified Financial Planner with the Financial Planning Association.

Senior Public Policy Official

Andrew Burke is a senior public servant and public policy professional with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government. In his role as Director of Intergovernmental Relations he has responsibility for the implementation of the Queensland-PNG Memorandum of Understanding, which works to identify and implement opportunities for partnerships between PNG and Queensland. He holds a Masters of Politics and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics). Across his career, Andrew has designed and implemented a range of public policy reforms in areas including agriculture, tourism, economic development, vocational education and training and environmental management.

Technology Entrepreneur

Patricia Aimapa is the co-founder and director of the Afore Computer Training Institute in Popondetta. The Institute works to foster IT skills in the local community. Patricia is an ambitious and passionate advocate for the role of ICT in regional PNG. She was a participant in the Techlab PNG Accelerator program in 2019. Before launching the institute she worked in a number of roles including in aviation and in technology.

Manager, Australian Aid and Parliament Project - Save the Children
First Secretary, Office of the Vice President, Autonomous Bougainville Government
Field Environmental Coordinator, Inter-Oil Corporation
Managing Director, Niugini Land and Properties Limited
Assistant Election Manager, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission
Rural Doctor, Chuave, Simbu Province
Principal, Win-IT Consultancy
Projct Manager, International Development Assistance, GHD
Councillor, Murray Island, Torres Strait Island Regional Council
Youth and Content Adviser, PNG National Broadcasting Corporation