Ten young Papua New Guineans joined ten of their Australian counterparts to participate in the 2016 GE Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue in Brisbane last week.
The Dialogue is an annual flagship event of the Lowy Institute’s Australia-Papua New Guinea Network which aims to enhance people-to-people links between the two countries, with the support of the Australian Government.
The 20 young leaders, who are professionals from a range of different sectors in both countries, shared their ideas and experiences in building linkages between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and their vision for the future.
They discussed the role of young people in leadership, alternative routes to economic empowerment, as well as art and advocacy and contemporary Papua New Guinea-Australia relations.
The Dialogue was held in partnership with the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art to coincide with the No.1 Neighbour exhibition – a spectacular collection of contemporary work by Papua New Guinean artists from the mid-1960s until today.
The exhibition provided a visual springboard for the conversation, demonstrating our shared history and the importance of the relationship between both countries, with art works profiling creative relationships between communities and individuals.
In preparation for the event, the Australian High Commission hosted an informal roundtable discussion for the Papua New Guinea participants with a group of young High Commission staff.
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Mr Bruce Davis, opened the roundtable discussion about the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship and what participants hoped to get from the Dialogue.
Mr Davis said: “Our bilateral relationship has matured. Australia and Papua New Guinea are no longer donor and recipient, but economic and strategic partners in the 21st century.”
“It’s a partnership defined by many things, and our partnerships are about shared opportunities and challenges.”
The young leaders produced a series of recommendations from the Dialogue on ways to enhance the partnership, for the consideration of the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.