In August, Peter Demerath, associate professor in the Department of Organizational, Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), returned to Papua New Guinea where he carried out his dissertation field research in 1994-1995, to explore partnership opportunities with the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and University of Goroka (UG), visit primary and secondary schools, and continue his collaborative sustainable development work in the village of Pere, Manus Province. The trip was supported in part by a UMN Global Programs and Strategy Alliance travel grant awarded to he and his wife, Ellen (UMN School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology).
At UPNG the Demeraths met with Professor Steven Winduo (Ph.D. English, University of Minnesota) and Moyep Kilepak regarding possibilities for scholar, student and knowledge exchange between the two institutions. (Steven Winduo is the author of the blog The Window). At the University of Goroka, Demerath met Dr. Kapa Darius Kelep Malpo, Executive Dean of the College of Education and author of Gender Equity at the Workplace: A Recipe for Smart Organizations with a Purpose in Papua New Guinea. Dr. Malpo's work is motivated largely by Papua New Guinea's continuing challenges with regard to gender equality: it is currently ranked 153 out of 187 on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index.
Demerath then travelled to the island province of Manus where he visited two of the schools that hosted his 1995 research on student identity and academic utility. Most of the Demerath's time in Manus was spent back in the village of Pere, conferring with the Pere Executive Council and Pere Council of Chiefs on the next phases of construction for the rebuilding of the Margaret Mead Memorial Community Centre. The Demeraths carried a message of goodwill with them for the completion of the Centre from Margaret Mead's daughter, Catherine Bateson. At the end of August the Demeraths celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Mead Centre rebuilding project with the people of Pere by sponsoring four outrigger sailing canoe races, two for men and two for women, using both mbromana (large) and mwelipwe (small) outrigger canoes. Until recently it had been forbidden for women to sail on the large canoes; this was the first mbromana race for women in the history of the province.
See extended write up and pictures [PDF]