Last Tuesday night (10th July 2008), the University of Goroka launched its first-ever student debate and panel discussion about events currently in the media.
The topic of the debate was centred on the controversial issues of mining and exploration.
Two teams of students competed in the debate, presenting their arguments for and against the topic, to win the approval of the adjudicators.
Some poignant ideas were presented throughout the debate, which ensured an interesting and entertaining event witnessed by staff and students.
Strong competition from each competing side meant a tough decision was reached to award one team the winner on the night.
Chief organiser of the event, Associate Professor Dr Michael Mel, commented: “Great societies can discuss things if they can articulate their points of view [and] it’s very important today as we look at these kinds of issues…affecting our pockets and our levels of survival”.
He also quoted Vanuatu orator Jean-Maree Tjibaou: “As long as talk remains hidden in our minds we will never develop a common conscience”.
The debate was followed by an open discussion on the Prime Minister’s actions to intervene into certain commissions of inquiry about matters of national interest.
The discussion raised several important points made by staff and students relating to the topic regarding transparency, good governance, democracy, unbiased information from the media and justice for crimes committed against the state.
Dr Mel commented: “We live in a world where information is constructed…[and yet] the truth is only relative”.
The evening proved to be popular with staff and students alike and was deemed a success, enjoyed by all.
Similar events are planned to be held later in the year.