THE Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 has so reached the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations, the Department of Communication Arts and Divine Word University’s Friendship library.
The Department of PNG Studies and International Relations houses the Bachelor’s degree that writer Leonard Fong Roka and his comrades qualified for as they completed their university studies this year.
The PNG Studies and International Relations program offers a unique degree merging social science disciplines like community development, anthropology, gender studies, literature, history, politics and international relations.
The cross cutting nature of the program ensures that students are empowered with a variety of knowledge and skills tailored to the PNG experience.
Unfortunately, this year literature was shown the door. The department no longer offers PNG literature, post-colonial literature, creative writing and other literature units. Graduates have complained they want courses with substance and fancy names that are attractive to employers.
I thought that if the University had aggressively marketed the degree program including literature then organisations would have understood its aim.
Senior lecturer Dr Anastasia Sai (pictured with me) used to teach most of the literature courses before the changes and I was pleased to be able to present her with five Crocodile Prize Anthologies for the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations.
Most of the current and former PNG Studies student writers who featured in the Crocodile Prize literary competition over the years have taken her literature courses. Popular writers like Leonard Fong Roka and Lapieh Landu were both mentored by this hard working academic.
Dr Sai has many qualifications, the notable ones being her doctorate studies on gender and her master’s degree in post-colonial literature. She has taught literature at secondary and tertiary level for many years.
She said she has a lot of poems and short stories written by her students over the years. She hopes with the help of Pukpuk Publishing and the authorisation from authors she can publish a collection.
On behalf of the department, Dr Sai thanked the Crocodile Prize Organisation for its generous gift and for keeping PNG literature alive. She said it is very encouraging to see current and former students engaged in sharing their knowledge through the Crocodile Prize literary competition.
Apart from the prominent achievers like Leonard and Lapieh, there are many other DWU students who are making their mark in the PNG literary scene thanks to the Crocodile Prize.
Martinez Wasuak is a recent graduate who featured in the 2013 Crocodile Prize Anthology. She is now a trainee foreign service officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Martinez is also a regular commentator on PNG Attitude.
Cecilia Bula is another former graduate who contributed poems in this year’s Anthology. She is working for the University as the executive assistant to the Dean for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Albert Kaupa Tobe is a lecturer in the Department of Governance and Leadership. He is another PNG Studies graduate who has a master’s degree in International Development from Tsinghua University in Beijing. He has contributed to both the 2013 and the 2014 Anthologies.
Obed Ikupu and Terence Ako will be completing their studies next year. Obed has contributed a stunning poem which captures the first-time experiences of a high school student. While Terence wrote a fascinating heritage piece about customary marriage protocols among the Aekyom and Gogodala people.
The Department hopes that more current and former students including staff members will enter the competition in 2015 to share their knowledge about PNG with the rest of the world.