The partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia has achieved another milestone with the launch of the Papua New Guinea Australia Alumni Association’s East Sepik chapter last week.

East Sepik Provincial Administrator Dr Clement Malau and Papua New Guinea Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA) Vice President Dr Pamela Kamya joined Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Mr Bruce Davis, at the launch in Wewak on 6 November.

The East Sepik Chapter is the tenth PNGAAA chapter to be established joining existing provincial chapters in Manus, Madang, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, Enga, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Morobe, Milne Bay and National Capital District.

High-level representatives commended PNGAAA members’ achievements and their contribution to the bilateral relationship.

‘The establishment of the East Sepik chapter is a great example of alumni’s diverse contributions and a celebration of the partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia,’ Dr Kamya said.

High Commissioner Mr Davis encouraged alumni to maintain links in East Sepik and beyond.

‘The Australian government has been providing scholarships to PNG for over 50 years and it is great to see that it continues to provide professional support to Papua New Guineans who have studied in Australia and in PNG, ensuring the sense of belonging continues beyond graduation, wherever alumni are located,’ Mr Davis said.

PNGAAA was established over 10 years ago to provide ongoing support to Papua New Guineans who have studied in Australia, and as a mechanism for alumni to connect with each other and consolidate efforts to address economic and social development issues in PNG.

Over 11,000 Papua New Guineans have studied in Australia and PNGAAA recently opened their associate membership to also include graduates of Australian government scholarships in PNG, in areas including nursing and midwifery.

President for East Sepik Chapter, Michael Isia, presented the Chapter’s inaugural annual plan to the Australian High Commission, highlighting various community and professional activities.

‘The growing Association includes talented professionals from all walks of life,’ Dr Kamya explained.

‘The new East Sepik provincial chapter provides members with the same benefits as the others including access to professional development opportunities, networking events, and grants earmarked to support alumni share their talent and skills with their professional and wider community.’