Students are change agents

Final year under-graduate students of Divine Word University (DWU) were told that they are part of a generation that can be the change agents for a better world.

United States Ambassador to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, His Excellency Walter North issued the challenge in his keynote address to the 06th annual Missioning Ceremony of the University on Friday 10th October, 2014.

“You have the power to be the change in the world that we all want to see.”

“And we have a shared in interest in that world,” said Ambassador North.

“President (Barack) Obama has called this century a Pacific Century.

“Under his leadership, the United States, building on long and strong historic ties to the region, is vigorously deepening its commitment to Pacific Islanders.”

“We have shared values: faith, family, respect for diversity and a love of liberty.

“We face shared challenges: delivering transparent, sustainable and inclusive growth for our peoples; maintaining peace and security; and addressing the threats of infectious disease and climate change,” said Mr North.

He said that there is more to do for the betterment of PNG to be a just and open society and fresh university graduates as elites of the new generation should take the lead.

Ambassador North said there needs to be an active engagement of educated citizens in order for PNG to achieve an improved and secure society.

“Although the newspapers are full of news about the strong growth of the PNG’s economy, recent household data tells a different story.

“Since 1990 there have been no significant improvements in living standards for most people in this country.

“There are still far too many poor people, far too much violence and far too little opportunity,” the Ambassador said.

“Your Prime Minister has said that he wants to improve PNG’s welfare by investing in people, investing in infrastructure, giving local communities a voice, and improving security.”

“To deliver on that dream we need the active engagement of educated citizens,” said Mr North.

Mr North said he is amazed at the spirit of innovation, generosity and grit that give Papua New Guineans their standing in the country.

“I am inspired by the efforts of those who on the side of the angels to help make life better for all Papua New Guineans,” Mr North told students, parents, guardians and staff gathered at the SVD Memorial Auditorium.

DWU President, Fr Jan Czuba said the missioning ceremony signifies transition of students from youth to adulthood and from the university into the world.

“Today we have gathered together to celebrate your transition from a teenager to adulthood and also to pray with you – we thank God for your lives; we thank God for your presence at this DWU community; we pray with you so you can commit the next chapter of your life to God thus seek His guidance and protection over you,” Fr Czuba told the 336 students.

“The move to adulthood is an exciting time that will provide new opportunities for your son and daughter,” he said to the parents gathered.

Fr Czuba said the transition involves many challenges which DWU is happy to have offered help and support over the years to bring them to where they are now.

Secretary for the Department of Personnel Management, Mr John Kali encouraged students to serve as role models to others.

“The university believes that these four years you spent at the university have molded you to be a person who will make a difference,” Mr Kali said.

Spokesman of parents and managing director of Eda Ranu Ltd, Mr Henry Mokono also encouraged the students to go out to the PNG society and make a difference.

Mr Mokono thanked DWU for offering a quality alternative university education in PNG where the students study in a conducive environment.

He said parents feel fortunate to send their children to study in such a well-run, peaceful and orderly university. Mr Mokono thanked the administration of the Catholic Church for having the foresight to establish DWU as a high quality alternative that parents can coose and send their children to study.

The Missioning Ceremony began with a Eucharist Celebration led by Archbishop of Mt Hagen and DWU Council Chairman, Bishop Douglas Young and fellow priests on campus staff and in the Divine Word Missionary community in Madang.

The students began their exams on Monday 13th October and will conclude on Friday 24th October, 2014 thus bringing to a close the studies for the year.

The missioning ceremony is an occasion where DWU thanks and farewells the final year undergraduate students in front of their parents as they prepare to sit for the exams to conclude studies at the university.

Each student was present with a miniature metal cross.

“The cross you receive reminds us of the cross that the Divine Word – Jesus Christ carried for us.

“He too walked through challenges of life.

“His journey on earth teaches us many things, many great things about people and God,” Fr Czuba said.