The Papua New Guinea Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA) held its Annual Dinner on Saturday, 2 November 2019 at the Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby, to celebrate the successes of its alumni over the past 12 months and raise funds to support the Association’s efforts to carry out high-impact community-based projects.
Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, the Honourable Sam Basil MP, and Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea His Excellency Bruce Davis, both spoke at the event, signifying a shared commitment to PNG’s sustainable development and the PNG-Australia Partnership.
The dinner was also an opportunity for representatives from the Public Sector, Private Sector and Civil Society, and members of the PNGAAA, to congratulate the 90 awardees who form Intake 2020 of Australia Awards PNG. Awardees will study in Australia under long-term scholarships, developing their knowledge and skills in priority development sectors and their capacities as positive change-makers.
With about 5,000 members, the PNGAAA members are professionals committed to sustainable economic growth and social development.
Minister Basil in his keynote address encouraged PNGAAA and its members to contribute to national policy discussions and the Marape Government’s vision for PNG’s further economic and social development and prosperity.
High Commissioner Davis underlined the importance of Australia Awards and PNGAAA as a vehicle for people-to-people links.
‘It is our most important resource – people – who will remain central to our shared prosperity and the expansion of the PNG-Australia Partnership,’ High Commissioner Davis said.
PNGAAA President Dr Janet Rangou asserted that PNGAAA is the space to provoke thoughts, ideas and actions for development.
She also challenged the awardees of Intake 2020: “For those of you going for studies in Australia, this is the right space for you when you come back. Whilst you are studying in Australia, do not forget that when you come back, there is a space like the PNGAAA for you to contribute to.”
The theme for the annual dinner was Harnessing PNG’s Diverse Human and Natural Resources for Sustainable Development. The annual dinner is one avenue which showcases the value of PNGAAA and how its approximately 5,000 members are collectively contributing to the mission of the Association and to the economic growth and sustainable development of PNG.
The highlight of the event was the auction of two signed PNG LNG Kumuls jerseys, donated by ExxonMobil PNG Limited and PNGRFL, which raised a total of K35,000. A portion of the proceeds, raised from the auction, will go towards purchasing essentials to support the disadvantaged children in the Rainbow suburb in Port Moresby.
Five guests walked away with lucky door prizes courtesy of Air Niugini in partnership with Tawali Resort, Theodist Ltd, Holiday Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Trends Beauty and Wellness. To cap off the night, guests were given travel kits sponsored by Colgate Palmolive.