PNG, Australia Young People Attend Nation Builders Conference

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

45 youth discuss ideas on building a sustainable future

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 19, 2016) – Forty five young people from Papua New Guinea and Australia have gathered this week to discuss ideas on how to build a sustainable future in the inaugural Nation Builders Conference.

The conference, hosted by The Voice PNG Inc. saw local participants and their friends from Oaktree, a youth group and anti-poverty movement in Australia engage in lively and meaningful discussions on various topics of national interest.

The patron of the conference, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Secretary Dame Meg Taylor said yesterday that the participants looked at issues that are important to PNG’s governance.

She said discussions ranged from topics such as self-governance, independence and the Constitution and how the modern social, economical and political systems are working within our own communities.

"I’m really delighted to be here because people of my generation who were involved in self-government and independence should be sharing their experiences with the future generations of Papua New Guinea," said Dame Taylor.

She said whether the future leaders become leaders in our community and family or in political or economic institutions "everybody here plays a role."

"What I really want to achieve here is to get people to think, to think about what went before, where we are now and what the possibilities are for the future," she said.

Chris Wallace, chief executive officer of Oaktree, a youth group and anti-poverty movement in Australia, said they have a special friendship with The Voice Inc where they seek to learn and collaborate with each other.

"We know we have so much to learn from The Voice and we also have some skills to contribute as well.

"At the conference, we have been working together, we have been sharing presentations on creating change," Mr Wallace said.

Barbra Thomas, program manager for The Voice Inc said the organisation believes in building the community and its people.

"At The Voice, we believe in building a community of people who share the same values, passion and vision and starting a conversation on change," said Ms Thomas.

The conference based on the theme "Building a Sustainable Future" began last Friday and will end this Thursday.

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