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Indigenous Public Diplomacy

2018 NAIDOC Speaker Series - Papua New Guinea

Leila posing for a photo with Australian Consulate-General in Lae staff.
Leila was the special guest at the Australian Consulate-General in Lae. She thanked the Ahi people for welcoming the Australian Consulate-General to Lae. (L-R) New Zealand Honorary Consul -Zoey Harrison, Lae Chamber of Commerce Incorporated President - John Byrne, Honourable Member for Lae - MP John Rosso, Indigenous Australian Speaker and NAIDOC Guest -Leila Gurruwiwi and Australian Consul General, Lae -Paul Murphy. Credit: DFAT.

The Australian High Commission in PNG, supported visits from Indigenous Australian musician, Emily Wurramara and Leila Gurruwiwi, media commentator, television show producer and panel member of NITV's The Marngrook Footy Show. Emily and Leila visited Port Moresby and Lae in July and August as guest's speakers for DFAT's NAIDOC Speaker Series 'Because of Her, We Can'.

Photo of Emily Wurramara and Mereani Masani Official on stage smiling at each other.
Emily Wurramara (right) and Mereani Masani Official (left). Credit: Kate Uvea, Abt Associates

Emily's visit produced a creative collaboration between the Indigenous Australian musician and well-known Papua New Guinean performer, Mereani Masani Official. The aim of the collaboration was to create work with a strong gender equality message echoing the NAIDOC Week theme – 'Because Of Her We Can'. The material produced by Emily and Mereani will be used with their permission for public diplomacy events and to enhance activities that communicate positive gender equality messages.

Emily and Mereani perform on stage for a crowd of students at a Youth Arts Program at Morseby Arts Theatre..
Emily and Mereani perform for students at a Youth Arts Program at Morseby Arts Theatre. Credit: Kate Uvea, Abt Associates

Emily's program included a series of performances for High Commission staff, Papua New Guinean media, and students at the University of Papua New Guinea, as well as a creative workshop for Year 9 students participating in the Moresby Arts Theatre Youth Arts Program. Audiences had the opportunity to hear Emily perform songs in both English and Anindilyakwa (an Indigenous Australian language) and Mereani in English, Tok Pisin and Tolai languages.

Ms Leila Gurruwiwi performing a traditional dance for PNG students in a classroom.
NITV's Marngrook Footy Show's host Ms Leila Gurruwiwi performs a traditional dance for students as St Charles Lwanga and Bungundi Secondary. Credit: DFAT (taken by AHC PD team)

Completing Post's 2018 NAIDOC celebrations was a visit from Leila Gurruwiwi host of NITV'S Marngrook Footy Show. During her visit, Leila held a series of roundtables and workshops with Papua New Guinean women leaders and journalists to strengthen capacity and build networks for mutual support and knowledge sharing.

Leila networking with female leaders and journalists.
Leila networked with female leaders and journalists, encouraging them to help each other realise that education is the key to their future. Credit: DFAT (taken by AHC PD team)

Leila had a successful time networking with young female leaders and journalists in Port Moresby and Lae. She shared her experiences of growing up away from her family, the importance of her education and growing in the TV industry. In return, the young women also shared their stories with Leila, exchanging lessons learnt, and encouraging each other to boldly pursue their careers.

Emily Wurramara and Mereani Masani Official posing for photo with UPNG students.
Indigenous Australian musician, Emily Wurramara (third from left), Mereani Masani Official (fourth from left) with UPNG students. Credit: Kate Uvea, Abt Associates

Both Emily and Leila's visits to PNG were successful in encouraging women and youth to pursue their goals as well as strengthening the relationship between Australian and PNG.

Emily performing with a microphone and guitar for an audience.
Emily performs for staff at the Australian High Commission Port Moresby. Credit: DFAT (taken by AHC PD team)
Photo of Leila in a radio station being interviewed by alice.
Leila (right) interviewed by Alice on NBC'S youth radio station Tribe 92FM. Credit: DFAT (taken by AHC PD team)
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