In 2018, the public sector training centre formerly known as the Administrative College and the Institute of Public Administration re-emerged as the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance.
The Institute holds an important place in Papua New Guinea’s history books as the home of the Bully Beef Club – the group of some of the nation’s first leaders, including its most famous member Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
The Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (or PILAG) is focused on continuing that tradition – supporting emerging public service leaders to fulfil their potential and shape the future of the country.
PILAG chief executive Michael Barobe said he is optimistic that the revitalised institute will deliver on its promise and provide a boost to public sector performance.
“The transition to the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance was much more than a change of name – it was the start of a new era,” he said.
“Our vision is to forge a new generation of future leaders who have the skills and knowledge to do their jobs effectively, ethically and inclusively.
“We are taking contemporary approaches to developing public servants’ core skills and the tools they require to be values-based leaders.
The shift has seen strengthened internal capacity, new courses developed and the construction of high-quality, modern infrastructure, supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.
PILAG is one of the core institutions of the Precinct, and the new buildings – the library and Sir Sere Pitoi Rumana – are symbols of the enduring partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The new library, which replaced the original building gifted by the local governments of Australia in 1966, was opened on 18 June by Hon. Davis Steven MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, and Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister and Minister for Women.
Inside, the open plan layout provides a positive learning environment with functional teaching and tutorial spaces, including a large seminar room for more than 40 people.
The library has a special collections room with temperature controlled space for the preservation of invaluable historical books and archival materials.
It is also equipped with the latest library information technology and has been designed to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Last year, the Institute celebrated the opening of Sir Sere Pitoi Rumana – a new administrative wing named in honour of one of the first Papua New Guineans to take on a top public service position.
It includes the Bully Beef Wing which fittingly pays tribute to the Bully Beef Club and honours the connection with the founding leaders of Papua New Guinea.
Mr Barobe believes the buildings will be the catalyst for a new era at the Institute with increased engagement with more collaboration with government agencies to train public servants throughout the country.
“The world-class infrastructure has an impact on teaching, learning and research – it’s an incentive for people to be trained here,” he said.
“It has brought a new culture and new attitude – we are embracing the changes that are taking place and developing courses that are driven by the demands of the modern PNG public service.
“We are also reaching out to our subnational public servants in the provinces and districts, with the support of the Australian Government through the Precinct.”
Inclusion is at the heart of the design of the new buildings and Mr Barobe believes they create a positive environment for staff, students and the surrounding communities.
The library is now open to the general public who can become members.
“These are buildings for bringing people together and inclusive learning opportunities,” he continued.
“Previously, all the doors were closed and everyone was separated. Now, here, it’s all open.
“This place is an icon of our unity.”