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“The lack of space for knowledge exchange between young and old generations is one reason why there is a barrier in communication,” said Luania Temu, General Manager of Savitech Limited, to assembled students for UNFPA’s International Youth Day Haus Meri Dialogue. 

The Haus Meri Dialogue featured a panel of women speaking on the issue of intergenerational solidarity and it capped off a two-night event inviting young leaders into conversation with university students on key issues surrounding young Papua New Guineans, including mental health and intergenerational solidarity. 

The question of communications barriers between young and old was a featured topic for both men and women panelists over the event.

NBC broadcaster Kevin Marai suggested to the young audience of the Haus Mahn Dialogue that “Young people learning by themselves, and accessing knowledge with and without guidance, is one of the factors behind the communication barrier between the younger and the older generation.” 

“A main factor behind this will be the availability and easy accessibility of technology, the internet, which has become a source of knowledge for young people, increasing the disparity of communication between older and younger people. ”

Facilitated by UNFPA, in close collaboration with the Schools of Journalism and Public Relations and Creative Arts of the University of Papua New Guinea, the dialogues offered an opportunity for a space to discuss the key issues affecting men and women today with a reflection on knowledge and wisdom from the past and the present. Both the Haus Mahn and Haus Meri dialogues closely addressed female/male mentorship and knowledge with attention to rewriting the gender narrative and stereotypes, bridging the gaps by acknowledging the wisdom of elders while recognizing and harnessing the potential of young people to contribute meaningfully to an increasingly interconnected society.

Students and panelists expressed their gratitude for this eye-opening and timely conversation and shared that such dialogues are needed. 

“We need to make this event bigger and allow for the whole university to attend because there are no proper avenues established for these topics to be openly discussed,” said one final year journalism student. “UNFPA should continue these partnerships with the student associations and schools and keep this wonderful initiative going.”

UPNG Journalism and Public Relations Strand leader Emily Matasororo extended her thanks to UNFPA and Deputy Country Representative Rena Dona for such an open platform that highlighted issues that are prevalent among young men and women.

“This was a great opportunity for young people to start talking and for the rest of us to start understanding the issues they face and explore opportunities to address these issues,” she said. “There is a disconnect between generations and through these dialogues we start the conversation so thank you UNFPA for these dialogues.”

These two dialogues were held as part of a series of youth dialogues that first launched in 2021 aimed at providing a platform for discussing sensitive and emerging issues that affect modern Papua New Guinea.