APEC 2018: UNSDG STAMPS
On the 21st of November 2017 Papua New Guinea (PNG) assumes the Chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). APEC represents the largest Economic Cooperation area in the world with 21 leading economies. This will be the single biggest international event that the country has hosted in its history and will involve the country in hosting and participating in more than 100 important meetings over the next 12 months. The year‘s Chairing will culminate with the Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby from 12 -18 November 2018.
500 years of Reformation
On October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther posted his thoughts about some theological topics and the practices of the Church. That simple action began the Reformation – a movement that changed Western society. Luther’s teaching, and that of the Reformation, is often summarized in three “solas.” Sola gratia, sola fide and sola scriptura – by faith alone, by grace alone and by Scripture alone. The key to Reformation theology is found in God’s love for people. The three solas, by grace alone, by faith alone and by Scripture alone, are all summarized in one more phrase from the Reformation, solus Christus – through Christ alone.
The Lutheran faith reached the shores of Papua New Guinea in 1886 when Jon Flierl landed on Simbang, Fischhafen and by 1887, he established a lasting Lutheran presence at the missionary stations of Simbang, near Finschhafen, another on Tami island (first church building feature on the stamp souvenir sheet), and a third, on the Sattelberg in the Huon Peninsula, plus several filial mission stations along the coast of the present-day Morobe province.
Battle of Kokoda
2017 marks 75 years anniversary since the battle of Kokoda in Papua New Guinea. This four month conflict is arguably Australia’s most significant campaign of the Second World War. Many of the local people in Papua New Guinea had little or no knowledge of weapons of war, from guns and explosives to aeroplanes. Despite this, they contributed as untrained soldiers and provided important services, including supporting of the wounded soldiers. The crucial battles to defend Australia were fought along a jungle path over Papua New Guinea’s precipitous Owen Stanley Range and the infamous Kokoda Track. The spirit exhibited by the Diggers and their Papua New Guinea comrades (the beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels) has since inspired generations of Papua New Guineans and Australians. As Gallipoli symbolized the Anzac spirit of WWI, Kokoda is its WWII equivalent. Today, walking the Kokoda Track has become a rite of passage to many young Australians. Others, drawn by the chance to literally walk in the footsteps of the Diggers, explore the terrain, meet Papua New Guineans along the track but, most of all, to explore themselves.
Almost three quarters of a century after the battles that preserved our freedom, the Diggers of Kokoda are well into their 90s and beyond for some. Soon, there will be no living link with this iconic chapter of our history. How will we remember them? How will we ensure their sacrifices are understood and appreciated by their descendants and by those who live in the freedom they bequeathed us? We must commemorate the remarkable achievements of the Diggers and Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, acknowledge their legacy and pass on their story to future generations. Today, it’s important we still acknowledge the sacrifice of all those who fought, those who paid the ultimate price with their lives and those who provided invaluable aid during the war at Kokoda.