Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea | Bettina Krause

Pacific Adventist University (PAU) plays a vital role in improving the lot of women in society, said Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta at an April 2 ceremony marking the opening of the University’s new women’s quarters.

“A country that exploits only half of its potential is only half a country,” said Sir Mekere, according to a PNG newspaper, The National. Acknowledging the importance of women in their roles as mothers, carers and providers, Sir Mekere added that their “contribution as leaders, whether in the church, business, government or elsewhere, has not been as significant as it should have been.”

Sir Mekere pointed to equal-opportunity tertiary education, such as that offered by PAU, as the best way of ensuring that women enjoy the same leadership opportunities traditionally extended to men.

Speaking to the 105 female students at the University, Sir Mekere challenged them to “prepare yourselves to take up a leadership role when you graduate.”

Several PNG cabinet ministers and members of parliament, including Dr. John Waiko, Minister for Education and Moi Avei, Minister for National Planning, attended the celebrations, along with Pastor Laurie Evans, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific region and University Chancellor.

Pacific Adventist University, founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1984, is located outside the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby and offers diplomas and degrees in business, education and theology.