BOUGAINVILLEAN author Leonard Fong Roka will tomorrow address the Lowy Institute’s PNG New Voices Conference about the future prospects of Bougainville.
The Australian think-tank is holding the conference at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby.
The Director of the Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, Jenny Hayward-Jones, says the conference aims to provide a platform for young leaders and professionals to offer fresh insights and perspectives on important international policy issues.
“We are seeking to give a platform to young Papua New Guineans to talk about the big issues facing PNG and its future trajectory and place in the world,” Ms Hayward-Jones told me.
The Lowy Institute aims to nurture a collaborative and inter-disciplinary approach to some of the key challenges facing Australia and its interactions with the world.
“Our aim is similar in PNG,” said Ms Hayward-Jones, adding that the first conference in 2012 was a success.
“We had some good media coverage and importantly got noticed by the PNG government,” she said.
Leonard Roka, who is completing his studies at Divine Word University, will travel to Port Moresby today immediately after completing his first semester examinations.
“It is my first time to be invited by an international organisation such as the Lowy Institute,” Mr Roka said. “Therefore my heart is beating since I’m kind of an introvert.
“But since I have been writing on issues about Bougainville, I feel I can deal with the topic assigned to me.”
Other speakers at the conference include Tony Westaway of the Nationwide Microbank, Martyn Namorong, Alethia Jimenez of UN Women and Honk Kiap of the National Capital District Commission.