PhD graduate Philip Mitna

PhD graduate Philip Mitna

ANU graduates the first PNG police PhD

19 July 2019

Recently promoted to Chief Superintendent by the Minister of Policy, Philip Mitna becomes the first Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) employee to hold a PhD when he graduates from The Australian National University (ANU). Already a leader in his community, Philip achieves the first for his country this week.

Based at the Department of Pacific Affairs at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Philip’s research focuses on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) foreign policy in the 21st century.

“My study highlights PNG’s limited capacity to identify and implement coherent policies in pursuit of a commonly shared national interest,” he says.

Philip hopes his research will have an impact in the foreign policy community at home.

Between 2013 and 2015, underpinned by a relatively strong economy and greater self-confidence, PNG increased its presence in the region, says Philip. However, with the country facing a period of significantly weaker growth, Philip has questions about what the future holds for PNG.

“Given the shift in the environment, will PNG pursue its regional policies with the same vigour that it did in that period? This is a question with an answer that is yet to be seen.”

“PNG’s future depends on how well policymakers understand and manage their connections with the rest of the region and with the rest of the world,” he says.

“The study is significant not only in terms of foreign policy, but it will have relevance to broader debates on the changing nature of the state, political economy, regionalism and governance.”

Philip’s decision to study in Canberra at ANU has provided him with new perspectives at work, enabling him to be more effective.

“Taking a long leave for studies gave me the opportunity to look back at the RPNGC through the lens of a civilian,” he says.

“I am very fortunate to have been supervised by some of the best minds in Pacific affairs. I highly appreciate their support as they have been critical and supportive of my work.”

“Networking with academics, scholars, and policymakers who share similar interests in the region has been a highlight of my time at ANU.”

Now Chief Superintendent, Philip says he wants to make a positive impact in his new role.

“While I am glad to be recognised by the department, the promotion comes with responsibilities. I look forward to supporting the policy and planning division of the RPNGC through research and policy development.”

Congratulations on your graduation Philip and welcome to our alumni community.

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