Youth, gender and coalitions for change in PNG: mobilising on sorcery accusations and related violence

Presenter/s: ANU Gender Institute, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Event type: Public seminar

Event date: Thursday, 28 July 2022 - 10:15am to 11:30am

Event venue: RSSS Auditorium, Level 1, 146 Ellery Crescent, ANU

Further information: Registration


Further information: Recording

A recording of this event can be found here on our website.


The next generation of leaders in Papua New Guinea are seeking new ways to confront major challenges such as gender inequality, sorcery accusation related violence, youth unemployment, and corruption.  Are the views of young people, particularly young women, being properly represented in PNG? How can PNG’s citizens be empowered to contest and change the status quo? How can Australia support local organisations to drive positive change?


The Voice Inc is PNG’s foremost youth-focussed civil society organisation, with a vision for a world where generations of young people are driven by purpose and are confident in the value of their contribution to their communities, their nation and the world. This panel discussion is an opportunity to explore these issues with the co-founder of The Voice Inc and the eminent Chair of its Board.



Serena Sasingian, CEO of Digicel Foundation and co-founder of The Voice Inc

Dame Meg Taylor, Chair of The Voice Inc and former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum

Professor Miranda Forsyth, Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance


Serena Sasingian has over 15 years of experience in the field of development and public policy, where she has worked in government, the private sector and the not for profit sector. She is currently the CEO of Digicel Foundation PNG and holds a Bachelor of Law (Honors) from the University of PNG and a Master of Business specialising in philanthropy and Not for Profit studies from the Queensland University of Technology.   

In 2007 Serena co-founded a Not for Profit (NFP) organization called “The Voice Inc.”, which focuses on citizens led development and has served the organization in various capacities including as the inaugural Executive Director.  She has also worked at the Department of Justice and Attorney General as a senior Policy Lawyer implementing domestic violence legislation and the governments response to sorcery related violence.

Serena has sat on the Boards of several non profit organizations including The Voice Inc., Femili PNG, a case management centre that provides services to people experiencing family and sexual violence and Lowy Institute's PNG-Australia Network. Her work in the Not for Profit sector was recognized with her appointment to the esteemed board of advisers for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Recently she was appointed as an Independent Committee Member (ICM) for both the Audit and Compliance and Risk Sub-Committees for the Bank South Pacific, the largest commercial bank in PNG. Previously she served as an ICM for the Health Safety and Sustainability (HSS) Board Sub-Committee of Oil Search Ltd as part of their Board Director training Program. 


Meg Taylor DBE is a seasoned professional who has accumulated a body of experience in the public and private sector at national, regional and international level.

She has established and developed the dispute resolution and accountability mechanism for the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, which she led for 15 years.

She has experience in corporate and regulatory matters and is an experienced legal practitioner. Furthermore, she has served on the Papua New Guinea Law Reform Commission. She is admitted to practice Law in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

She is a strong advocate for constitutional processes, good governance and democracy. She is proud of her role in the peaceful negotiation and resolution of the Sandline Military Crisis in Papua New Guinea.

She is an active advocate for the role of civil society, in particular participatory processes in decision making. She has demonstrated experience as an international diplomat and negotiator having represented Papua New Guinea as Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico from 1989-1994 and as Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) from 2015 to 2021. As the PIF Secretary General, she had carriage of guiding and advising the 18 Member Governments on regionalism and regional initiatives in the areas of political economy, governance, economics, resilience, and security for the Blue Pacific Continent.  She currently serves as a Deputy Chair of the largest superannuation company in Papua New Guinea, Nambawan Super Limited and as Director of the PNG Sustainable Development Program.  She is also a member of the Pacific Elders Voice and chairs a Papua New Guinea youth organization “The Voice”.


Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. Prior to coming to ANU, she was a senior lecturer in criminal law at the law school of the University of the South Pacific, based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Miranda is the author of A Bird that Flies with Two Wings: Kastom and State Justice Systems in Vanuatu (2009) ANU ePress and co-author of Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small island Developing States, Intersentia 2015.

The central analytical question animating Miranda’s scholarship is how people’s diverse justice needs can best be met in contexts of multiple legal and normative orders. Her geographical focus has been primarily in the Pacific Islands region, particularly Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Previous projects include the relationships between state and customary justice in Vanuatu and a pluralistic approach to the regulation of intellectual property in the Pacific Islands.

Current research projects focussing on the Pacific include the potential of Restorative Justice for the Pacific islands region, particularly in relation to gender based violence; the promise and challenges of Community Rule-Making as regulatory innovation; and a multi-year project on overcoming sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea. Miranda is also working on the development of a new agenda for Environmental Restorative Justice in both Australia and internationally.

Miranda draws creatively upon theories and methodological approaches from the disciplines of law, anthropology and criminology to interrogate these issues, working in close partnerships with Pacific islands researchers and research institutions.



Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute