Think Tank farewells GBV champion

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) in a small but moving gathering farewelled a long-serving researcher and an advocate against gender-based violence (GBV) in PNG last week.

Joining the Institute in 1998 as a Project Officer and later worked her way up to become a Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader, Dr. Fiona Hukula left after 23 years of dedicated service to the think tank.

During her time with the Institute, Dr. Hukula was employed as: Project Officer, Research Officer; Senior Research Officer; Research Fellow; Senior Research Fellow; and, Program Leader for the Building Safer Communities Research Program and Co-Program Leader for Gender in PNG Research Program.

She has also been involved with other government organisations in the area of law and justice, a notable one is her role as a member and Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission.

“On behalf of the Council, Management and staff, I offer our sincere acknowledgement and thank you for your invaluable contributions to the Institute and the nation,” PNG NRI Acting Director, Dr. Osborne Sanida said.

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Described as a role model and ambassador, Dr. Hukula was praised for her leadership and mentoring roles as well as her contributions to women’s rights, GBV, sorcery-related violence, and not the least, domestic violence policies and laws.

Deputy Director for Corporate Services, Dr. Esther Lavu hailed Dr. Hukula’s contribution to PNG in the fight against GBV and protection of vulnerable people in communities.

“She has done a lot for our women and in taking the lead in the fight against abuse at all levels. Especially, working with partner agencies in pushing the agenda to become policies. Now these policies are in use in many organisations. A very rare achievement.”

Dr. Lavu encouraged her to continue to drive the agenda right across the Pacific region as she moves on to her new job.

While thanking the Institute and everyone, Dr. Hukula extended her gratitude to those who she worked with and learnt from in her earlier years, especially Dr. Thomas Webster, Dr. Joe Ketan and Richard Sikani.

“I am so lucky I have been mentored by men all the way. It was a real pleasure working with you all,” she said.

Other senior researchers she had worked under or with are: Late Dr. Ray Anere, Dr. Alphonse Gelu, Late Dr. Henry Okole and, not the least, Colonel James Laki.

The event was attended by a sample of staff from the different sections of the Institute.

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