DWU recognises alumni

Sir Peter Barter presenting the award to Kaseng Kong, the younger brother of the late Dr Anastasia Sai. Picture by Dr KEVIN PAMBA

HOW wonderful it is when your alma mater (your former university, college or school) recognises you for the good things you do in life years after you have graduated. That’s the kind of special feeling or attachment that Divine Word University is inculcating among its alumni with its annual Distinguished Alumnae of the Year Award.
This special Awards part of DWU’s efforts to create a special rapport and remain engaged with its former students who have graduated over the years going right back to its foundations, the DW Catholic High School (1968-1979) and Divine Word Institute (1979-1996). Beside the Award, the University goes out of its way to engage with the alumni in varying ways through the Alumni office and Alumni Association. One significant way DWU engages with its alumni is through employment of graduates straight after graduation or after some years of work experience elsewhere or after postgraduate studies.
Chairperson of the DWU Council Archbishop Dr Douglas Young stated in the first-ever DWU Alumni corporate fundraising dinner in Madang in July 2017 that he hoped one day the university would be run by its alumni from the top down. The university is making notable progress in this regard.
The Distinguished Alumnae of the Year is a platform that DWU uses to keep in touch with its alumni and is announced during the annual DWU Foundation Day and Alumni Day on Aug 21 each year.
The award and the Alumnae Park, which is located adjacent to the main entrance of the Madang campus, were inaugurated on AUG 21, 2015. The Alumnae Park was a gift from the family of Fr Jan Czuba, the founding President of the university.
The Alumnae Park has a wall of fame where a bronze plaque for each award winner is installed.
Two winners of the Award were announced for this year at a ceremony in the Madang campus on Aug 21. The winners are the late Dr Anastasia Sai and Neville Jon Choi.
Deputy President of DWU Professor Fr Philip Gibbs said the university presented the award in three categories: Achievement (outstanding achievements in someone’s profession), Community Service (doing good works in a community) and Support (assisting the university in different ways).
Prof Gibbs, when speaking on behalf of the President Prof Cecilia Nembou, said DWU valued its graduates and appreciated the work they did in their chosen career paths and other areas of life including support for the university.
The award and the Alumni Day were two ways DWU recognises its graduates and keeps in touch with them.
The late Dr Sai was bestowed the award posthumously under the “Support” category for her long years of service to DWU as an academic.
Friend of DWU and recent past long-serving DWU Council member Sir Peter Barter presented the awards. The late Dr Sai’s award was received by elder brother Kaseng Kong who commended DWU for recognising the contribution of his sister in the development of the university and education of so many students over the years. Kong said it was a fitting recognition for Dr Sai.
The citation for Dr Sai’s award reads:
Dr Anastasia Sai is a recipient of the 2020 DWU Distinguished Alumni Award in the category of “Support.”
She has attained prominence in her deeds and actions that reflect pride in their alma mater and loyalty to her DWU upbringing, as demonstrated through her interest in and support of the University.
Dr Sai comes from Madang Province and graduated from Divine Word Institute in 1986.
She is regarded as one of the finest members of the Divine Word University as a staff who has dedicated her entire career to deliver services to Papua New Guinea through her role as a staff of DWU.
As a teacher she presented a wide selection of literature courses to DWU’s Papua New Guinea and International Relations Department students, Third World Literature, PNG Literature and Pacific Writing.
She was a distinguished scholar, a person who had made most of her travels and a great educator and counsellor to her many students.
The reputation, achievement and contribution of Dr Anastasia Sai brings honour and prestige to Divine Word University and the Alumni Association.
Speaking via Zoom, Choi told the DWU community that he was overwhelmed by the recognition of his work that the university has given through the award. He gave credit to the education he received in DWU as the matriculation and diploma levels that molded is world view approach to work as a journalist and media manager.
The citation for Choi’s Award reads:
Mr Neville Jon Choi is a recipient of the 2020 DWU Distinguished Alumni Award in the category of “Achievement”.
Mr Choi has attained prominence in his chosen career as a journalist and is well-known throughout the nation.
“He exhibits in his profession as an ethical communicator in the media industry through his reporting and service to society.
Mr Choi comes for New Ireland Province and graduated from Divine Word Institute with a Diploma in Communications Arts (Journalism) in 1996.
Mr Choi is one of the stand-out name in Papua New Guinea’s mainstream media. One of his significant contributions to the country’s media industry was his level of high standard of reporting and his support to train upcoming media professionals.
During his most recent engagement at EMTV (Media Niugini Limited) as the Head of News and Current Affairs, he was instrumental in his strategic direction to EMTV’s News and the development of the EMTV Online Team in the present form.
This are all evident in the numerous awards bestowed to EMTV for reporting on various issues, both the television and its ever-expanding digital platform.
Mr Choi was also the strength behind the development of the news team that is arguably the best in the country and the region.
The reputation, achievement and contribution of Mr Choi brings honour and prestige to Divine Word University and the Alumni Association.
Choi could not attend the ceremony due to the Covid 19 restrictions and spoke to the university community live via Zoom. His former colleague at EMTV and senior tutor in DWU Ms Deborah Pranis received the Award on his behalf.
Fr Jose Orathinkal, the provincial (head) of the Society of Divine Word Missionaries (Societas Verbi Divini in Latin) in PNG and DWU Council member said the SVDs were delighted to see their the vision for a higher learning institution way back in the 1960s bear fruit in the shape of DWU.
“Their (founding missionaries) dream had been realised with the transformation of this educational institution from a Catholic high school into a University in 1996,” Fr Orathinkal said.
Fr Orathinkal, a former lecturer in the matriculation and undergraduate programmes =in DWU said: “At present, the University works in collaboration with the PNG Government and industries to offer quality programs and produce outstanding workforce in the country. The University enjoys its reputation of being the “leading University” in the country whose graduates are in demand and sought after by the different sectors in Business and Industry, Social and Public Service and in the Health Sector. “
The SVD provincial summarised the day’s events thus: “It is a fusion of the past and present, an opportunity to come together and celebrate our proud history with our community of staff, students, alumni and supporters.”

  • Dr Kevin Pamba PhD is based at DWU, Madang

Gembogl observes prayer day

Pastors and Christians of the various denominations in Kundiawa-Gembogl district taking part in the National Repentance Day event at Gembogl station last week.

GEMBOGL district in Chimbu is where the highest mountain in PNG, Mt Wilhelm is located.
The district has always been known as the land of high quality vegetables and peace-loving people.
However, during 2017 national election, supporters of various candidates rose up against each other and lives and lots of government and private properties were destroyed. Attempts have been made by the different grieving parties involved to reconcile to bring peace and normalcy back to the district but those have been unsuccessful.
Even though normal government services have been up and running, the atmosphere seemed to be “very thick” in the district. Hatred and resentment towards one another were still felt and seen in the lives of the people, especially youths. If nothing is done at the earliest, more lives and properties will be destroyed come the 2022 national election.
Therefore, Aug 26, National Repentance Day presented an opportunity for the people to repent and seek forgiveness from God to heal their land and change the lives of the people.
A group of pastors from various church denominations in the Gembogl and Kundiawa Districts took the lead and rubbed mud over their bodies as a sign of remorse and regret for the evil conducts twere done in the district.
All pastors who attended the repentance programme humbled themselves on behalf of various government departments, people, churches and the youths and repented openly. Most repented for breaking the 10 Commandments of God which is the foundational laws.
District officer in-charge Joe Ulka and Mt Wilhelm LLG manager Vero Tom were present during the programme. Ulka commended the local churches who participated in the programme, saying it was the first time the district’s churches came together to host the event.
He promised the churches and the participants that the district administration and the churches would jointly host a bigger and a better National Repentance Day programmme next year to involve everyone in the district.

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