2017 PNG Women’s Forum, Highlands Region Hailed a Success

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby: The 2017 PNG Women’s Forum, Highlands region, has ended on a high with two major recommendations: to have separate polling lines for men and women during this year’s general elections and to revive the work of the National Council of Women.

Speaking to over 500 women and men from the seven Highlands provinces in Goroka recently, at the host institution, University of Goroka, Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray reiterated the importance of ‘Strengthening our Voices Together,’ between partner organizations and participants’ networks “The power of ‘we’ is stronger than the power of ‘me’,” said Ambassador Ebert-Gray. “We must work together to get results.”

This year, the U.S. Embassy was delighted to once again partner with the Department for Community Development, Youth & Religion and PNG Tribal Foundation in hosting another successful Women’s Forum for women and men in the Highlands region. The Department for Community Development’s Deputy Secretary, Jeane Sliviak presented the initiatives and achievements of the government and called on a collaborative effort amongst partners. “We all must work together and strengthen our partnerships to achieve our goals together,” Ms. Sliviak said. President of PNG Tribal Foundation Gary Bustin spoke about the importance of having a united voice fighting gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea: “When we unite, we can make a change in gender-based violence. Women can,” he said.

The forum created a platform for great discussions around elections and economic empowerment with smaller workshops on communication skills, health, “Women in Politics: What has worked in the Pacific?,” and women’s voices in politics.

As the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr. Sharman Stone said: “Women – we will, we can, and we must make a difference. We create the future.”

The U.S. Embassy thanks its partners and sponsors of the forum – the Department for Community Development, Youth & Religion, PNG Tribal Foundation, Australian High Commission, ExxonMobil, Oil Search Foundation and the University of Goroka.

For more information, please contact Esther Sibona on +675 7091 5854 and sibonaec@state.gov.