THE United States Embassy in PNG honoured the executive dean for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Dr Betty Lovai, as the 2010 Papua New Guinea winner of the Secretary’s Award for International Women of Courage.
Dr Lovai was recognised for her exceptional courage and leadership as an advocate in the fight for human rights, gender equality, and against HIV/AIDS.
US Ambassador Teddy Taylor presented the award to Dr Lovai during a ceremony held at the embassy yesterday afternoon.
“We are very honoured to present this award to Dr Lovai for her incredible commitment to making Papua New Guinea a better, safer, more equitable society.
“She has been a tireless campaigner in the fight to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea. There are a lot of people out there who have been touched by her dedication and sacrifice and we would like to say ‘Thank you, Dr Lovai’,” he said.
Dr Lovai thanked the US Embassy and government for giving her the award and said: “While I am the one getting this award, there are many other silent achievers, who are passionate about women’s advancement in Papua New Guinea.”
She particularly thanked her father and her three sons whom she affectionately referred to as the “male champions in my life”.
“Father’s dedication to their daughters education is crucial to supporting women and where they go in life,” she said.
“My sons have been very much a part of my professional life and they have been there for me and they support what I do,” she said.
The International Women of Courage programme was established in 2007 by the department of state secretary Hillary Clinton to honour women around the world who she said were “blazing trails and surmounting obstacles in pursuit of equality and opportunity”.
Outside her academic duties, Dr Lovai serves as a committee member for associations including the Constitutional Law and Reform Commission (CLRC), National Lands Development Advisory Committee, National AIDS Council HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee and PNG HIV/AIDS National Research Agenda Technical Committee.