Monday, July 12, 2010

UNRE vice chancellor awarded

“The QUEEN has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.”
This was the official announcement from Papua New Guinea’s Head of State Queen Elizabeth II last weekend that saw more than 50 Papua New Guineans either join or advance within the ranks of the Order of the British Empire.
Among them was University of Natural Resources & Environment (UNRE) vice chancellor Prof Philip Siaguru (pictured).
From an ordinary member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), which he was awarded in 2002, Prof Siaguru was promoted to the rank of ordinary commander of the Order (CBE) for service to forestry and education, particularly his commitment and dedication to the University he has been at the helm of since 2005.
Those who know Prof Siaguru have seen firsthand the vice chancellor’s passion for the institution.
“I have never met a man who is so passionate about a state institution,” Commission of Higher Education chairman and UNRE council member Simon Kenehe once said.
“You can see the map of Vudal on his face.”
Prof Siaguru, who learnt about the award from his older sister Dr Angelica Braun of the Office of the Prime Minister, said it was an achievement for UNRE, because the recognition was given for his efforts for the university.
Many university staff that joined Prof Siaguru’s family and friends in congratulating him on this achievement, described him as an example for others to follow.
Meanwhile, many other Papua New Guineans were awarded titles under other British Orders such as the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.
For Prof Siaguru however, who lives for his country and his institution, being awarded a title under the Order of the British Empire is befitting because his loyalty to Papua New Guinea and dedication to the University of Natural Resources and Environment ably reflects the commitment required in the Order’s motto “For God and the Empire.”
Prof Siaguru also received the Silver Jubilee Medal in 2000 for contributions to forestry science and forestry education in PNG.
He also had the honour of having the department of forestry building at the University of Technology named after him in recognition for his contributions to the development of the revised forestry curriculum which shifted the training focus from the traditional log harvest to sustainable forest management.
This particular honour also recognised that he was the first national to localise the position of head of the department of forestry. In fact, he was the first Papua New Guinean to become a substantive head of any department at the University of Technology (Unitech).
Indeed, this down-to-earth vice chancellor from Boikin in East Sepik is a man of many firsts. These include among others: first Papua New Guinean to receive a doctorate (PhD) in forestry, founding president of Unitech’s National Academic Staff Association and first national vice chancellor of the university.
Prof Siaguru’s achievements can be attributed to his late father Petrus Siaguru, who himself displayed exceptional wisdom and leadership qualities.
These virtues were echoed by UNRE chancellor Sir Rabbie Namaliu who knew him.
“The late Mr Petrus Siaguru was not only a highly-respected leader in his own right but he had an incredible reservoir of wisdom. He was a wise man in the true sense of the word and was a man ahead of his time,” Sir Rabbie said.
The chancellor said Prof Siaguru’s father had a vision and great goals not only for his family and children but through them for his church, his province and for his country.
“Not only did he succeed in translating his vision but also in achieving his goals. He was an admirable and great role model that we should all aspire to be,” Sir Rabbie said.
For his outstanding service to the Catholic Church and the community in East Sepik Province, late Petrus Siaguru received an MBE from the Queen; and an Order of Logohu (OL) and Silver Jubilee Medal from the Government of Papua New Guinea.
This pillar of strength for the Siaguru family passed away peacefully in his sleep in May this year at the ripe old age of 97.
He had lived only to serve God and his country, a fact he made sure all his children knew and respected.
His legacy, values and principles, however, live on in his son, Philip Yembi Siaguru. Like father, like son - For God and the Empire.

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