U.S. Ambassador Russell’s Visit a Success (November 15, 2016)

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell had a successful first visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG) making several important announcements before she departed the country today.

Arriving over the weekend, Ambassador Russell joined her Australian counterpart, Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja AM at the American Corner in the National Library for the launch of a year-long trilateral initiative to combat gender-based violence through sport in PNG and participated in events on the margins of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

After the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation, which was witnessed by students, civil society leaders and Papua New Guineans who work daily to promote an end to violence, the audience viewed three short films aimed at raising awareness of the effects of gender-based violence and the role of sports in empowering women and girls.

Ambassador Russell and Ambassador Stott Despoja also jointly launched a new women’s business center. The PNG Women’s Business Resource Center, co-funded by the United States and Australian governments will be managed by the Center for International Enterprise (CIPE), a U.S.-based organization that works on strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. The Women’s Business Center will allow PNG women with great business ideas to be mentored by experts and move their ideas into reality.

The Center is one of three projects jointly funded by the United States and Australia. The other two projects include an Incorporating Entrepreneurship into University Curricula and the WECREATE Challenge program.

Separately, Ambassador Russell announced a number of new programs funded by the U.S. to promote women’s full participation in society and invest in the next generation of women leaders in PNG.

The U.S. is providing US$300,000 in technical assistance to the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGWCCI) through CIPE. The further funding of a US$100,000 small grants opportunity was announced and will be administered by the U.S. Embassy’s partner, Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation.

“We hope that the small grants will help empower women all over PNG just like the women that will use this business center.” Ambassador Russell said.

“Women can start applying for those grants immediately.”

Finally, Ambassador Russell announced that the U.S. Embassy Port Moresby has received a grant for a Sports Visitor program which will send ten girls from Papua New Guinea to the United States in July, 2017. This program will demonstrate how success in athletics can translate into achievements in the classroom and life.

For more information on this visit, follow @AmbCathyRussell and @USEmbassyPOM on Twitter.  For more information on the State Department’s work on global women’s issues, visit www.state.gov/s/gwi/