PROFESSIONAL development and training is very important to tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea. It supports professionals in acquiring new knowledge and expanding their existing knowledge base and skills so they can perform their jobs effectively.
The University of Goroka is to be praised for its staff development program. Through the leadership of vice-chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi (seen with me in this photo), who is also the chairman of the Staff Development Committee, the university has endorsed many employees to acquire advance postgraduate training overseas through international aid programs offered by Australia and New Zealand.
I have been away on study leave overseas through the staff development program for the last three years after I obtained an AusAID scholarship in 2010 to complete a PhD in Creative Industry at Queensland University for Technology.
My research focused on harnessing the rich performance tradition and theatricality of Papua New Guinea to deliver HIV and AIDS messages in rural parts of the country.
Having now been fortunate enough to complete my PhD (my graduation is in July), I want to thank the University and especially Dr Onagi, for recognising the importance of giving young scholars like myself a lifetime opportunity to acquire additional training in my profession and develop my leadership potential and abilities.
Gaining professional training is one thing but acquiring good leadership to practice proficiency, professional and achieve excellence in my job is another. I commend Dr Onagi for supporting my request to participate in two leadership programs after the completion of my PhD studies.
I benefited from the Australian Prime Minister’s Pacific Leadership Award and undertook a three-month work placement with Queensland Health and received additional training on elearning and curriculum development.
Thereafter, I took on a second leadership award, the Pacific Island Leadership Program, initiated by Taiwan and the United States.
This award enabled me to acquire leadership education at the East West Centre in Honolulu including a field trip to Taiwan.
These opportunities enabled me to collaborate with international academics and acquire additional skills and knowledge on good leadership and further broaden my understanding and appreciation on globalisation.
I commend Dr Onagi for envisioning a brighter future for individuals like myself and other colleagues James Aiwa and Steward Wossa who also successfully completed PhD studies and happily returned to the University of Goroka to serve the university.
Dr Onagi’s leadership is certainly shaping the future of the University of Goroka as an outstanding and competitive tertiary institution in PNG and the South Pacific.
I have written this article to acknowledge Dr Onagi’s fine leadership and to thank him for having big dreams as head of the university. May the good Lord continue to protect and richly bless him and his family.
Jane Awi is a Lecturer at the University of Goroka, where she has now resumed teaching. She will return to Queensland University of Technology with her mother and father in July for the formal graduation ceremony. Jane has already begun to share her new knowledge with the community. At weekends she travels to villages in the Simbu Province, her home territory