MY SON Ben Jackson has just been appointed as communications specialist to an important Australian-funded project in Papua New Guinea.
Together with partner Becky and three-year old daughter Leilani, Ben will head to Port Moresby at the end of September to work in the new Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.
This is a joint PNG-Australia program that aims to develop ethical leaders who will implement the PNG government’s priorities for national development. It’s a visionary project aimed at effective service delivery and equitable growth across PNG.
In June, Ben’s four year stint as communications adviser to Bougainville Copper Ltd came to an end.
He had been tasked by BCL to manage its communication across a spectrum of stakeholders including the Autonomous Bougainville Government, landholding communities and the media as the company sought to re-establish a mining presence in the province.
The work included the development of communications strategies, building relationships with stakeholders and establishing and managing mainstream media and social media platforms.
Amongst other projects, Ben created a new BCL website and initiated the popular Bougainville 24 blog, building a team of 27 contributing writers from Bougainville to provide content for it.
Last year, as part of voluntary work for the Crocodile Prize, Ben edited and published a book of writing for Papua New Guinean children, Trickery at the Crocodile Pool, which has been distributed to 600 schools and libraries in PNG.
Ben’s connection with PNG began in 2011 when he managed Martyn Namorong’s successful ‘Take the Truth to Australia’ tour which blazed a trail through Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.
There will be something of a reprise next month when, again in a voluntary capacity and shortly before he leaves for PNG, Ben will manage the visit to Australia by leading writers Francis Nii, Daniel Kumbon and, once more, Martyn Namorong.
In his work with BCL over the last four years, Ben has spent much time in PNG, mainly in Bougainville and Port Moresby, and has made many friends.
He says he’s excited to have been appointed to a position that will enable him to work in PNG in a role where he believes he can work with Papua New Guineans in the critical development area of leadership and governance.
Ben's looking forward to reconnecting with good friends and to meeting many of the people who are contributors to and readers of PNG Attitude.
As for me, I’m delighted that another member of the Jackson family is going to spend time in a great country amongst a great people.
My eldest son, Simon, an IT specialist who now works for Microsoft in New Zealand, spent some time in the highlands some years back during the early stages of the PNG LNG project.
I first arrived in PNG in 1963 and, while I eventually returned to Australia via a bunch of other interesting places, I still feel a strong connection to the country where my own communications career developed.
Photos: Top - Ben on Buka with Ezekiel Burain and Simon Jaintong. Lower - Ben, Becky & Leilani