More than 150 of Papua New Guinea’s future leaders have completed preparations for an opportunity of a lifetime – undertaking a scholarship for study in Australia in 2015.
The 154 Australia Awards recipients, of whom 85 were women and 69 men, gathered from across PNG for pre-departure briefings in Port Moresby this week.
Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Ms Deborah Stokes said an Australia Award represented the culmination of many years of effort, sacrifice and commitment.
“Education brings tremendous opportunities. It opens up the range of choices we have. It is transformative,” said Ms Stokes.
“PNG needs all of its citizens educated and able to participate in the nation’s development. In 2015, more than 50 per cent of Australia Award recipients are women, and almost 10 per cent are to people living with a disability.
“Australia Awards also provide recipients the opportunity and responsibility to show leadership in their community, their organisation, or in the political sphere. We want to support the next generation of PNG leaders,” Ms Stokes said.
Most of the group are first time recipients of Australia Awards and will be supported to return to PNG with a qualification and skills they can use to effectively contribute to furthering Papua New Guinea’s development.
Since 1996, more than 2000 Papua New Guineans have studied in Australia on scholarships.
Australia Awards promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and PNG and are part of Australia's commitment to providing education opportunities to improve living standards and stimulate economic growth.