New DWU president makes history in PNG

High profile higher education administrator Professor Cecilia Nembou has made history by becoming the first woman to be a president and vice chancellor of a university in Papua New Guinea.

This follows the announcement of her appointment as the new president and vice chancellor of Divine Word University in Madang on Wednesday 20th January 2016. The outgoing President and Vice Chancellor Fr Jan Czuba made the announcement in the presence of DWU Council Chairperson Archbishop Dr Douglas Young SVD and Council member Sir Peter Barter .

Prof Nembou takes over from Fr Czuba whose term expired after leading the institution from the start in 1996 when it transited from the former Divine Word Institute (DWI) into a university.

Until her appointment, Prof Nembou was the Deputy President of DWU and Vice President of the Port Moresby campus of the University.

She will still lead DWU from the Port Moresby Campus while Vice President Academic Professor Pamela Norman will lead the Madang campus as the Deputy President of the University.

Abp Young said that Prof Nembou is the first lay person (or non-Catholic Church clergy) to lead both DWI and DWU.

He said the process of finding a suitable replacement for Fr Czuba began two years ago and the DWU Council was satisfied with Prof Nembou given her credentials and contributions as an academic and higher education administrator over many years.

Abp Young said Prof Nembou has been with DWU for over a decade and has worked with Fr Czuba in various capacities in the higher education sector going back to the start of DWU and she will continue with the work.

Prof Nembou said she was humbled by the trust and respect the DWU Council accorded her to “fill the big shoes of Fr Jan (Czuba)” and told the council and staff that she will do her best to continue the great work started by the outgoing president for the good of the country.

Professor Nembou said she has been in the university and higher education system in different capacities for many years and once rising to be the pro-vice chancellor and acting vice chancellor of the University of PNG and knows what it takes to run a university.

Fr Czuba said he has full confidence in Prof Nembou to carry on the work of making DWU a vibrant and progressive university it has become over the last 19 years.

“I have every confidence in Prof Nembou to lead DWU into the future,” Fr Czuba said and urged staff to support her.

As part of the hand-over and take-over ceremony Fr Czuba presented the DWU Act, DWU Charter and DWU Seal to Prof Nembou to signify the handover of the leadership baton to the incoming president. Fr Czuba said the DWU Act, Charter and Seal were three important documents that provided the basis for the university’s existence.

Abp Young in turn announced the DWU Council’s decision to appoint Fr Czuba as the “Professor of Academic Quality Assurance and Strategic Management” in recognition of his work in leading DWU and higher education over the last 20 years.