August 2014

Schol’s graduate to head Pacific Islands Forum

Dame Meg Taylor, a former student of St Scholastica’s College, Glebe, in Sydney, has been appointed Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum and is the first woman to be selected for this leadership role.

The announcement was made late last month by Pacific leaders gathered for the 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau.

Dame Meg, who is currently serving as a senior official at the World Bank, has over 20 years’ experience working in the region and internationally, including serving as Papua New Guinea’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada.

A national of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Dame Meg attended St Scholastica’s College from 1964 to 1969. After finishing her secondary education, she completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Melbourne University and later, a Master of Laws (LLM) from Harvard University.

Dame Meg practised law in PNG and served as a member of the Law Reform Commission. She is co-founder of Conservation Melanesia and has served on the boards of international conservation and research organisations.

In an interview with Radio Australia, Dame Meg said she will aim to bring her own leadership style to the new role.

“I report to the leaders – I have a lot of bosses – I’m sure with their agreement it should be much more consultative,” she told Radio Australia.

“If we’re really focused on a regional approach, we’ve got to be able to make sure people believe in it and are part of it.”

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, welcomed Dame Meg’s appointment. She described Dame Meg as an “impressive representative of both Papua New Guinea and the Pacific on the international stage” who “has championed private sector led growth and has been a pioneer for women’s economic empowerment”.

“With her experience and expertise, Dame Meg will bring a powerful intellect and a global perspective to the role of Secretary General,” she said.

Good Samaritan Sister, Joan Sexton, who taught Dame Meg in years 11 and 12, has fond memories of her. It is some years since Joan has been in contact, but she has followed Dame Meg’s career with interest.

“Meg had a very high sense of her duty to Papua New Guinea and saw it as her responsibility to promote the good of her country. With this in mind, she later became involved in the global aspect of serving her country,” she said.

Dame Meg will begin her new role in November.

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