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Thursday, 24 December 2015

India & Papua New Guinea

First Impressions Count

With a population of almost 1.3 billion people India is the second most populous country after China, and the world's largest democracy. It has 10 languages spoken by more than 30 million people each, and a total of 454 different languages, not counting dialects. Papua New Guinea of course tops the ranks. Dealing with diversity is therefore a common challenge.

Illustration 1: Language diversity per country

India counts 6 major different scripts, which are impossible to read for the non-initiated. It has 10 cities of more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Around Mumbai, we find the worlds largest movie industry. The city was called Bombay in colonial times, hence Bollywood) It is the largest dairy producing country with the largest dairy cooperative in the world. Indian railways is one of the largest employers in the world, with more than 1.5 million employees.

The Climate Just Changed For The Better: the Paris Deal at COP21 on 12 December 2015


Lecture delivered at Anna University, Chennai, India on 23 December 12 pm.

Dr. Albert Schram

We are faced now with the fact that tomorrow is today. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words “Too late”. 
(Martin Luther King, New York, 4 April 1967.


Today, at Anna University in Chennai (India) I would like share few thoughts on the global climate change negotiations, and the outcome of the recent Conference of Parties held in Paris (COP21). I do not pretend to be an expert in the field. For over 2 decades, I merely observed the development of climate science, and the interaction of scientists with policy makers, in particular when Inter-Governmental Panel 4th Assessment Report (IPPC-AR4) was presented at the European Commission in Brussels in 2007.

My interest in the climate change debate, and countries' long-term sustainable development was first raised in 1993 during the lectures and classes of Professor (now Lord) Nicholas Stern at the London School in Economics, the later author of the 2007 Stern Report on climate change. Later, I published in international journals as an environmental economists on various institutions designed to curb emissions (Alpizar, Requate & Schram 2004, Schram & Hussey 2009).

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Papua New Guinea: failing to develop or developing to fail?

Lecture given on 4 December at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University.

Dr. Albert Schram, Vice Chancellor
Papua New Guinea University of Technology

On twitter the link to the powerpoint presentation: "PNG: failing to develop, or developing to fail?" Neither: long-term trends are positive"


Papua New Guinea is a poster child for failure to develop since independence in 1975, and is one of only a handful of countries that failed in achieving a single of the 8 Millenium Development Goals in 2015.

Today, PNG's state institutions are still extractive and exclusive in nature. State institutions merely benefited the elites and their extended families. More than anything else, this explains why over the last decade none of the resource rents have contributed to better outcomes in health and education.

State  institutions are weak in terms of service delivery to the population, but strong when protecting the interest of those in power. When something needs to be done to help the poor, a swift response is usually lacking. However, if powerful interests are at stake, then drastic and effective action is taken quickly.

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Skills Gap Illusion

Title: The Communication and Development Studies Curriculum at Papua New Guinea University of Technology: is it meeting industry requirements?

Lecture delivered at the Second Community Affairs and Business Development Workshop, 10-12 August 2015, Lae International Hotel.

The skills gap illusion

For a long time now, business leaders have been saying that the workforce lacks sufficient skills to fill 21st century jobs. Allegedly, this "skills gap" is holding back not just workers but businesses and the development of the economy.

In our view, there will always some problems finding people for specific jobs in specific industries. For those businesses that are having these problems, to a large degree the solutions are in their own hands. Specifically, they can start training programs, pay competitive wages, work with governments and universities to align programs to their needs, and step in with some extra investment in the educational institutions, where required.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Public Universities: get the basics right, management in, and the politicians out

The Role of Public Universities

It makes me sad to read about the state of some public universities in low and middle income countries. The list of challenges is always the same: incoming students who are insufficiently prepared academically and not university ready, a library without books, departments without or insufficient number of qualified lecturers,  inadequate services of all kinds, run down physical infrastructure, due to lack of maintenance, unreliable slow internet, and worse than all that put together: the continuous attack by those practicing the personalized politics of pompous and inflated ego's, while pursuing narrow personal interests.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Dr. Tom Pynn - Remembrance Day: Challenging Us to Build a Culture of Peace

In Honor of the first Students’ Peace and Leadership Conference
Papua New Guinea University of Technology, July 23, 2015

(video here)

Dr. Tom Pynn
Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies
Peace Studies Program, Coordinator
Religious Studies Program, Interim Coordinator
Kennesaw University, Atlanta Georgia, USA

Dr. Tom Pynn by video

Good morning.

It is a privilege being invited by all of you to say a few words in honor of your first Student Peace Leadership Conference. I am humbled to join you and to be included among the speakers for this day: Ms. Lucy Kopana, Ms. Margaret Tongia and Mr. Bernard Nulai. I hope that these few words are a thoughtful and hopeful contribution to your conference and that they add value to the day’s proceedings and future activities in the service of all living things in peace and reconciliation.

The theme of your conference is “Advancing Societies through Peace and Stability”, but it is also a student peace leadership conference on a day remembering the event of war and the participation in war. Holding a peace conference on such a day is a challenge to all of us both to bear in mind and recall to mind the suffering, destruction, and despair caused to all living beings—human and non-human--that war always entails. Indeed, war and the willfully ignorant destruction of life is a monument to human beings at their very worst.

Monday, 20 July 2015

On being a good university (part 3)

Speech for the installation of the Industrial Advisory Committee on 20 July 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today marks a milestone for the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) on the way to international accreditation of its science and engineering programs, during its 50th year of existence. I want to thank in particular our Pro Vice Chancellor Academic, Dr. Augustine Moshi, and the staff from the Registry to make this possible.

We install an Industrial Advisory Board, composed of executive level industry representative of leading companies in PNG and world wide.

Members of the Industrial Advisory Board

Monday, 13 July 2015

Remembrance Day: UNITECH Students' Peace and Leadership Conference 23 July 2015

Each year on the 23rd of July on Remembrance Day in this country we commemorate all Papua New Guinean soldiers who served during World War I, World War II and in missions within the country, and abroad. It is celebrated today, because on 23rd of July 1942 the Papuan Infantry Brigade led by Australian Officers, engaged with the Japanese enemy at Awalla, near Kokoda.

Today, we are here not to glorify war but rather to celebrate the virtues of a positive peace. We will have a video lecture made especially for you for this conference by Thomas Pynn, Professor of Peace Studies at  Kennesaw University in Atlanta (Georgia, USA) who asks what exactly we want to remember on this day. The way we remember can reflect either martial - which means war related - values or human values. Remembering is an intentional act, in which we have a choice, he says. He also speaks about the Alternative to Violence Project AVP (1975) project, which recently has developed a strong youth component.

But let's go back to the lessons the past has in store for us, if we care to learn them. I am sure none of the Papua New Guinean soldiers will fondly remember the horrors of war. They will however truly appreciate the benefits of today's peace, however partial or imperfect. Many of those soldiers served under colonial masters. Those masters have gratefully acknowledged the contribution of PNG soldiers made to victory. In fact, only the positive collaboration  between Australians and Papua New Guineans against the Japanese explains why Papua New Guinea was spared Japanese occupation, while Indonesia (then Dutch) was not. From this collaboration, strong and lasting bonds of friendship were formed.

Most Papua New Guinean soldiers served on the side of democratic powers, although many of them also served - out of need - totalitarian and fascist Japan. Today's freedoms, however, can only be enjoyed because democracy triumphed and not totalitarianism and fascism.

On Remembrance Day when we remember war, it is a fitting day to reflect on peace with the goal of promoting and extending the full benefits of true peace to all members of society. This requires a special type of leadership, and during this conference we can deepen our understanding about the type of leadership peace building requires.

"Peace riding in a triumphal chariot Bosio Carrousel" by Jastrow

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Open Day 12 June 2015: Vice Chancellor's Remarks

<<Check against delivery>>

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Welcome to the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, which this year celebrates proudly and confidently its Golden Jubilee, its 50th anniversary.

We were founded on 27 May 1965 by an Act of the House of Assembly on the same day at the University of Papua New Guinea. We are truly twin universities, which today is symbolized with the Vice Chancellor of each University being member of both Councils. In those 50 years, UNITECH has produced over 13.000 graduates, and this year alone in April we graduated over 1,000 new graduates.

O3B Installation at UNITECH

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Opening of O3B Installation 29 May 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today, the official opening of our O3B marks the beginning of a new start for the Papua New Guinea University of Technology at its 50th birthday. (O3B stand for the Other 3 Billion people in the world, who do not yet have access to fast broadband internet).

Finally, we will have the most reliable and fastest internet in the country delivered through satellite, and distributed through Wifi across our whole campus. This fits our vision for the Papua New Guinea University of Technology to be an innovative, entrepreneurial and student-centred University.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

UNITECH Vice Chancellor's Graduation Speech 10 April 2015

(please check against delivery, under embargo until 11.00 am, 10 April 2015).

Dear Students, Honourable Minister Charles Abel, Mr. Keli Taureka (Exec VP Inter-Oil), distinguished Guests, Heads of Department, Faculty and Staff of UNITECH, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Internet Frustration in PNG

It is my privilege today to address the graduands of the 47th graduation of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology UNITECH, their parents, family members and sponsors.

This year, we present to our Chancellor graduands from our different programs: 40 Post Graduate graduands (of which 1 in our in-house doctorate program and 13 in our MBA, which is by now well-established), and 1,012 from our Bachelors programs. Today, we add 1,052 UNITECH graduates to the total number of about 13,000, and celebrate the largest graduation ever.

We also acknowledge 3 UNITECH Faculty members who obtained their doctorates at foreign universities since our last graduation: Veronica Bue, Lydia Yalimbing and Jim Pai Lem. Congratulations to each of you, and thank you for your effort and sacrifice.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Is PNG heading for a crisis?

Original: Is PNG heading for a crisis? 22 February 2015

Author: Stephen Howes, ANU

Last year in Papua New Guinea was eventful, marked by a series of controversial government decisions.

In March, the government decided to take out a loan of about 3 billion kina (US$1.2 billion, about 8 per cent of GDP) to buy shares in Oil Search. The decision divided the government, and the treasurer was sacked for his opposition to it.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Why UNITECH chose Ubuntu, free an open source operating system

Our main reasons for choosing Ubuntu as operating system for the student and staff laptops, and all the (virtual) desktops.

The main reasons to choose Ubuntu operating system:
  1. No viruses known, no virus software license needed
  2. Comes with free open source software (Libreoffice better than MS Office)
  3. With cheaper, simpler hardware, better performance
  4. Longer battery life on laptops
  5. Life long support for graduates, no pirated software needed
  6. Edubuntu version for higher education
  7. Zero price, low life time costs.
You can install all your favourite sofware (e.g. Skype, Dropbox) because there are Ubuntu versions for it. There are great free and open source academic software such as R and R Commander for statistics, or Zotero for bibliographic reference.

If you really have to install Windows software, you can run it under Wine or as a Virtual Machine. Finally, I have been using it for almost 5 years now, never looked back, totally enjoyed it.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Quotes and full text of US Ambassador's Walter North's speech "Unburned Bridges"

‪#‎PNG‬ ‪#‎UNITECH‬ Guest Day Orientation Week all quotes from US Ambassador Walter North's speech "Unburned Bridges", deliver at Duncanson Hall on 4 February 2015:

There is a wonderful Welsh proverb that says: "He who would be a leader should be a bridge".

"..the advancement of our world depends on educated citizens with skills and moral awareness to drive change"

"in looking at PNG, I have been amazed by the tremendous spirit of innovation, generosity and grit that makes lives of dignity possible".

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

On Being a Good University 2: speech for Minister Tabar's Visit on 4 February 2015

Speech held by Dr. Albert Schram, Vice Chancellor, for the visit of Hon. Malakai Tabar, Minister HERST

4 February 2015, Duncanson Hall, West Taraka Campus

(1800 words – 14 Minutes)

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Like my Facebook page, then you can ask me questions, and stay up to date on all UNITECH news:


Students, Minister Hon. Malakai Tabar, First Secretary honoured guests, professors, heads of departments, Faculty and staff members, ladies and gentlemen,

We are delighted to welcome our Minister, Hon. Malakai Tabar today to our campus, and we thank him for addressing our first year students. This is the third time he visits our campus, and I believe it is a sign that we have good relations with the Department.

Monday, 2 February 2015

On Being a Good University 1: opening of academic year

Speech held by Dr. Albert Schram, Vice Chancellor, at the opening of the academic year on 2 February 2015, Duncanson Hall, West Taraka Campus

Published at
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(Check against delivery)


Students, honoured guests, Council members, Heads of Departments, Faculty, Support Staff, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the PNG University of Technology. Hereby, I declare the Academic Year 2015 officially opened.

To the first years, congratulations that you have been selected among many. We are sorry that we can not accept more students on campus, and so many excellent grade 12 leavers are left out of the University system.

Anybody can see that no new academic or service buildings on our campus were built, since independence by the state of PNG. Since next year we celebrate our 50th anniversary - our Golden Jubilee - , this year we are particularly disappointed that our requests for a better library and a multi-purpose hall were declined, and funds promised earlier were diverted for other purposes. Our messing and library facility, for example, is designed for 500 students, and now adapted to serve 2.000. We are full.