Pacific Change Makers: Introducing Oliver Nobetau the Lowy Institute’s new FDC Pacific Research Fellow


The Lowy Institute’s latest episode of Pacific Change Makers introduces a fresh and dynamic voice in Pacific affairs – Oliver Nobetau, the new FDC Pacific Fellow from Papua New Guinea.

Oliver’s journey is as unique as it is inspiring. Born in Germany to a diplomatic family, with roots in both Bougainville and West New Britain, he brings a rich blend of international exposure and local understanding.

Oliver’s involvement in key climate initiatives and significant security arrangements in Papua New Guinea, including the PNG-Australia Bilateral Security Agreement, offers listeners a window into the complex yet pivotal challenges facing the Pacific today.

Oliver remembers flying into Honiara, Solomon Islands, on a six-seater plane alongside senior government officials in the immediate aftermath of the November 2021 unrest, “I remember vividly…there was smoke blowing in the air when we landed. There was nobody on the runway…so we just had to land and figure out where to park the plane.”

One of the most poignant moments in the conversation is Oliver’s reflection on the personal impact of climate change: “The environment is constantly changing… swimming creeks are drying up, the fruit trees you would enjoy as a kid are no longer bearing the same.” This personal connection to environmental changes underscores the urgency of addressing climate challenge in the Pacific.

As Oliver embarks on his year with the Lowy Institute, his focus on research around climate-induced migration and PNG’s social and security landscape promises to bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the field.

Tune in to this episode of Pacific Change Makers for personal reflections from Oliver Nobetau, FDC Pacific Research Fellow and one of PNG’s emerging leaders, on witnessing the January unrest in Port Moresby, meeting the PNG Prime Minister, and working on some of the most impactful and high-profile regional security issues in the Pacific today.

Interviewer: Mihai Sora is a Research Fellow in the Pacific Islands Program and Project Director of the Aus-PNG Network.

To find out more, visit the Lowy Interpreter website.

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