The Papua New Guinea Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA) held a virtual networking dinner on Thursday, 11 February 2021 at the Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby, and around PNG, to celebrate the achievements of alumni in 2020 and recognise outstanding alumni who have made significant contributions to their profession, community and country through their exemplary leadership, integrity, innovation and hard work.

Governor of East Sepik Province, the Hon. Allan Bird MP, and Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Jon Philp, both spoke at the event, reinforcing the PNGAus Partnership’s commitment to sustainable development and shared prosperity. In his keynote address, Governor Bird, urged alumni to make the most of their “rare and special” position as highly educated Papua New Guineans and give back to their communities and nation.

PNGAAA President Dr Rangou encouraged alumni to build on their success during a challenging 2020 and make even stronger contributions in the coming year. “2021 is the year to bring about possibilities. Unleash your potential and be the change that you want to be,” she said.

The event also saw five high-achieving alumni awarded PNG-Australia Alumni Awards. The Awards recognise excellence in fields including innovation and entrepreneurship, women in leadership and community service.

The winner of the Alumni of the Year Award was Dr Deane Woruba, a pioneering agricultural scientist from East Sepik. Dr Woruba was recognised for his ground-breaking agricultural research and his contributions to community development in his home province.

The virtual networking dinner connected 11 PNGAAA Provincial Chapters across the country including: National Capital District, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Manus, East New Britain, Morobe, East Sepik, Madang, Enga, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and Milne Bay. The theme Innovative Solutions for Alumni Engagement in the New Normal was in focus during the dinner with over 200 members attending physically and virtually.