FORMER long-serving Papua New Guinean politician and government minister, Dame Carol Kidu DBE, has accepted an invitation from the Crocodile Prize Organisation to become its first Patron.
As leader of the Melanesian Alliance Party, Dame Carol served in parliament for 11 years including nine years as PNG’s Minister for Community Development.
She was leader of the opposition for a short period before her retirement from politics in 2012.
Dame Carol is a Fellow of the Lowy Institute for International Policy and sits on the boards of Bougainville Copper Ltd, the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and Nationwide Microbank.
In 2007, Islands Business magazine named her ‘Pacific Person of the Year’ in recognition of her efforts to combat poverty, domestic violence, child abuse and HIV-AIDS. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 and, in 2009, a knight of the French Légion d'honneur for her commitment to fighting discrimination.
Dame Carol began her career as a school teacher, has written school text books and is one of the judges of the Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year Award in the Crocodile Prize.
She has received honorary doctorates from Vudal University, the University of Queensland and the University of Papua New Guinea.
The Prize committee was unanimous in its view that Dame Carol’s appointment as Patron would be most appropriate in light of her great contribution to public life in Papua New Guinea and her particular interest in Papua New Guinean literature and literacy.
Now in its fifth year, the Crocodile Prize Organisation administers a range of awards, an annual prize-giving event, writers’ workshops and an active website, and publishes the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology within the PNGAA Publishing Program.
In keeping with the traditional role of a Patron, Dame Carol will not be expected to exercise administrative responsibilities but will publicly support the Prize and assist its activities.
The annual Crocodile Prize Awards event this year will be held in Kundiawa on 19-20 September, the first time it has been convened outside Port Moresby.
Awards will be given for Poetry, Essays & Journalism, Short Stories, Tourism, Arts & Culture Writing, Heritage Writing, Illustration, and Writing for Children.