THE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION in Papua New Guinea has reaffirmed its commitment to the Crocodile Prize for 2014 and the years to come.
A few days ago I spoke to Tim Bryson, the First Secretary (Politics) who has responsibility for public diplomacy.
The AHC’s view is that the Crocodile Prize is one of the very few platforms for developing and encouraging PNG writers, young and old.
He went on to say that PNG has tremendous writing talent that really needs an outlet like the Crocodile Prize.
Not only can the prize identify and foster great PNG writers, it enables PNG voices to be heard by Papua New Guineans and the international community on important cultural, historical and contemporary issues.
The AHC also believes that the prize is an investment in the true strength of the PNG-Australia relationship – our people-to-people links – as exemplified through the Australian and PNG connections behind the Crocodile Prize.
“Australia is proud to support the Crocodile Prize and the associated writers’ forums as they develop PNG’s small but growing writing community,” says Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Deborah Stokes.
“The Crocodile Prize has helped reveal the depth of talent that is finding its voice in PNG.”
In 2011 the AHC provided K5,000 towards publishing the best entries in an anthology distributed throughout the country.
It also hosted the 2011 Inaugural Crocodile Prize writers workshop and awards ceremony at the Australian High Commission in Waigani.
In 2012 the AHC hosted the second Crocodile Prize forum and ceremony in the week leading to PNG’s 37th Independence celebrations.
The AHC also contributed K7,000 towards Anthology publication costs and an additional K5,000 in June 2013 to enable the books to be distributed to tertiary institutions throughout PNG.
The AHC has encouraged media coverage of the event and the awards ceremony.
Eva Kuson, AHC Public Diplomacy Coordinator, told me that the Commission is happy to provide funding for the printing costs for the 2013 Anthology and will discuss in future what support might be provided in 2014 and beyond.
Tim Bryson is leaving PNG shortly and his replacement will be Andrew Gavin, First Secretary Public Affairs. Lorraine Ponifasio is Public Diplomacy Manager.
The Crocodile Prize organisers would like to thank these people, Eva Kuson and the AHC for their ongoing support.