PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 28) - Papua New Guinea on Tuesday lost one of its most distinguished sons.

Sir Alkan Tololo who died of an apparent heart attack, led a long and distinguished service in education — from primary right up to tertiary levels- agriculture research and community service.

He was a schoolteacher by profession and took giant steps in his career ladder to become the first Papua New Guinean head of education from the early 1970s.

In his mid-life he became the first citizen to hold the position of chancellor for our two major universities — the University of Papua New Guinea and the University of Technology. Later he also became chancellor for the Vudal University. He retired from the UPNG chair and concentrated his efforts on Unitech and Vudal. Seven vice chancellors served under Sir Alkan during his term at Unitech until the time of his death this week. He was also chairman of the Board of Libraries and Archives and was always vocal about the appalling state of school and public libraries throughout PNG.

This week he was talking about meeting with the new National Capital District Commission board to discuss the development of a state - of - the -art public library for Port Moresby to serve the thousands of school children.

On top of his higher education duties, Sir Alkan was also Chairman of the National Agriculture Research Institute. He was a former consul-general in Sydney, High Commissioner to Australia and also High Commissioner to Malaysia. He was also chairman of the National Broadcasting Commission. Sir Alkan inspired thousands of people throughout PNG. His signature is on thousands of school certificates and university diplomas and degrees. A man who believed in the principle of action speaks louder than words, Sir Alkan leaves behind a legacy of great sacrifice to the people of PNG. He was strongly committed to the spirit of national unity and development and believed the future of this country lies in its young people.. He was a selfless beacon of hope — he was a true torchbearer for PNG.

August 28, 2003

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