On Thursday 29th May, the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia Program will officially launch the Australia - PNG Network.
This initiative, which is funded by a $1 million grant from DFAT, is designed to build and foster people-to-people links between Australia and its nearest neighbour. Its creation was announced by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop MP, in February 2014.
‘We are going to be using a range of methods to develop these links, but at the centre will be an online hub and website that will be launched on Thursday’, advised Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia Program. ‘We are looking to help build relationships and linkages between Australians and Papua New Guineans in all different sectors: academia, the arts and sciences, business, sport and civil society’.
The website will bring together useful information and links, profiles of organisations that are already building relationships between Australia and PNG. The Australia-Papua New Guinea Network will convene events that create opportunities for people from both countries to come together and learn more about each other. This will include an annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue.
The Lowy Institute will be working with partners in Papua New Guinea, including the National Research Institute and The Voice Inc, to promote the Network.
The inaugural event hosted by the network is New Voices PNG 2014 a one-day conference for new and emerging leaders to be held at the National Research Institute, also on 29th May, 2014. ‘Young people are very much the focus of the network’, said Jenny Hayward-Jones. ‘We will be using social media platforms to provide them with opportunities to form connections between our countries’.
Leading musician and long-time regional advocate, David Bridie, will launch the Australia - PNG Network at the National Research Institute at the close of the New Voices PNG 2014 conference.