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Melanesian Institute Cultural Orientation Course 2018

The 3-week Cultural Orientation Course (COC) conducted by the Melanesian Institute for expatriate missionaries and other interested stakeholders from (January 8 – 26 )ended  last  week.
The course, designed to help the expatriate missionaries to better understand the life style and culture of the people of Melanesia hence they can be able to effectively carry out and serve the people in their various field of expertise. Discussions during the course involved current and emerging pressing issues affecting the people of Melanesia, especially Papua New Guinea. Topics such as Gender Relations and Ideologies, Marriage and Family Life, Inculturation of Christianity and Contemporary Challenges, Christianisation, Mission Impact and Present Day Religious Affiliations were topics of heated discussion during the course in the first week. Other issues discussed during the three weeks course are; Health Beliefs and Illness and Vulnerable Groups (Disability and HIV AIDS). About twenty – one participants from 13 different countries including Papua New Guinea are attending the course. Among the participants were representatives from the foreign dignitaries and community development consultants. Expatriate Missionaries participants are from Indonesia, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Russia, Poland, Canada and Korea.
Organiser of the course content, Fr Joel Yco Bernado in one of his presentations told the participants that the irony of the course is that it involves a discourse that does not provide ready-made answers but instead gives the possibility of posing critical questions necessary to break out of the dilemmas of the different existing and emerging social norms in our communities today. The course also included thermatic processes and dialogues between vulnerable groups such as persons living with disability, women, youth and also the village court officials.
Communications for Development Advisor, Dr Godfrey Yikii said that the Cultural Orientation Course was very useful with audience mostly expatriate missionaries and also mixed group from different nationalities, cultures with different expectations on especially what happens regarding the belief system, cultural setup as well as some of the practices and norms, especially the practices and which are strongly rooted.
Dr Yikii said with regard to  Papua New Guinea being  is a relational community, the course has very huge impact not only in preparing people to be aware of be very sensitive, offensive  issues, but also how best  they  can empower their flocks, congregation and parishioners at that level. He said the insights of this course will not only help the missionaries themselves but they will also be having skills acquired from this as insights that they which they can use to also facilitate their work on their day to day basis. He added  that being  new in the country , he had to be aware of some of the cultural dynamics and the  deeply rooted practices. These practices have been here for generations and you cannot change overnight. The COC is very relevant and useful and  I suggest this course can also be useful for expatriate partners to really understand, he said.
This is the first time the Melanesian Institute has hosted the Cultural Orientation Course after more than years since its inception. The first COC was held in 1969 in Vunapope, East New Britain Province.




Upcoming Cultural Orientation Course  (January 8 – 26, 2018 at the Melanesian Institute)

MI promotes fair understanding of indigenous values, customs and socio-cultural changes among diverse Melanesian societies through culture-related courses.  We continue to upgrade the Courses as our ‘heritage service’ to the varying missions and societies in PNG. 

Our annual  3-week Cultural Orientation Course (COC)  is coming up in 2018 (January 8 – 26).  Please see the Course Program below, with  some notable developments: 

  • The Course is to be held at the MI Campus (for the first time). 
  • New topics have been included to address emerging issues in PNG and beyond. 
  • Sessions are thematically clustered and arranged to build up an integrated framework that underlines the interplay of faith, culture, and society: “Land of the Unexpected, Culture/s to be respected, Faith to be uplifted”.
  • Thematic panel discussions are set in the afternoon to complement the morning presentations, with invited ‘local stakeholders’ on respective fields of interests.
  • The Course is now open to  ‘non-expatriate’ or local participants,  full-time or on ‘walk-in’ basis. 

Click here to download the Course outline



CPP(Church Partnership Program) Training on GBV held in M.I. on the 30th October- 3rd November 2017


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Introduction: Village Court Act


 Workshop: Media as the Art of Communication:

Towards a holistic approach to Social Media and itsimpact on peoples of Papua New Guinea within the local/global Context”. This workshop was conducted by the Institute of National Affairs (INA) in Port Moresby on 13 June 2017. More than 40 journalists and heads of institutions/organisations attended the workshop. The Executive Director of the Melanesian Institute also attended the workshop and presented a paper on “The Complementary Role of Traditional and Social Media on issues of independence, investigative capacity and media responsibility.”


MIRT in the field



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2017 Melanesian Institute Staff Capacity Building with Dr. Richard Barcham


Melaneseian Institute Cultural Orientation Course held on the 18th - 23rd September 2017

Cultural Dynamics and its impact on Religious Life

MI to host 2016 Regional conference for Council of Churches





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Brief History

The idea to establish a ‘resource center’ for missionaries in Papua New Guineaoriginated among the SVD missionaries (Societas Verbi Divini/Divine Word Missionaries) in 1967. With the cooperation of the Marists (Missionary of Mary) and the MSCs (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart), and the Association of Clerical Religious Superiors (ACRS) as a legal sponsor, it became a reality in July 1968. The first full-time director, Fr. Hermann Janssen MSC, was officially installed in April 1969. In 1970, the Melanesian Institute (MI) became an official venture of the Roman Catholic Church in PNG, and land for the Institute was officially offered by the then Bishop of Goroka, John Cohill SVD, thus moving the MI from its original founding site near Rabaul to its current Campus in Goroka. In 1973, in line with the spirit of the Vatican Council II, the MI gradually evolved into an ecumenical Institute. The current church members of the Institute are Roman Catholic, Anglican, United Church and Lutheran.

The Melanesian Institute
The Melanesian Institute for Pastoral and Socio- cultural Services is a Papua New Guinea based ecumenical institute dedicated to promoting the understanding of indigenous values, customs and socio-cultural changes among diverse Melanesian societies, with a purpose to serve and support different churches, missionary societies, academic or service institutions and grassroots communities through researches, publications, in-service trainings and culture-related courses for varying interest groups. Researchers of various disciplines – including anthropology, psychology,education, as well as theology work together on interdisciplinary projects. Some of the focus research areas have been Marriage and Family Life, Disability, Politics,Drugs and Alcohol,and Sorcery and Witchcraft. The Melanesian Institute publishes its work through its Media and Publications Department.

Cultural Orientation Courses
The Melanesian Institute,through its Education Department, offers annual Cultural Orientation Courses (COC) for expatriates missionaries (3-week Course in January) and overseas NGO workers in varying fields or projects (5-day Course in September).

Fully furnished library  
The Melanesian library has rich collections of books. It holds a collection of 15 000 plus books of which are mainly about Melanesian Cultures, Melanesian Religion, Anthropology, Sociology, Socio-Economics, Bibles and Christianity and the higher Religions.

Mission Statement

The Melanesian Institute (MI) is an ecumenical research, teaching and publishing body in Papua New Guinea that:

  • is mandated to focus on pastoral and socio-cultural issues,
  • engages in ongoing dialogue between Christian values and Melanesian cultures,
  • promotes peace and reconciliation; dignity and respect; and social, economic and ecological justice.

Melanesian Institute's location map.

FOCUS 2017/2018

Every year, the Melanesian Institute dedicates its work to specific focus areas. This means that every staff member work towards achieving the common goal set for certain activities. This year our focus is on

  1. Village Court Baseline Survey In Highlands Region
  2. Marriage and Family Life
  3. Field School at Grassroot Communities(PAR) in Kiriwina, MBP

Our Recent Publication

 Point 40-LIVING IN THE FAMILY OF JESUS Critical Contextualization in Melanesia and Beyond

All churches are culture churches,” writes Andrew Walls, and the process of Christ encountering culture is very like the process of translation from one language to another. Arguably, with its myriad people groups, Melanesia has much to teach the rest of the world about what happens when Christ encounters local culture. This collection, gathered in honour of John Hitchen, begins with a look at specific case studies of the Gospel’s encounter with local culture in Melanesia itself, before turning to broader themes particularly raised by the Melanesian context. Case studies from Asia and the wider Pacific then throw further light on the incarnational process of encounter, demonstrating both that Melanesian struggles are not unique and that as a result there is much for the rest of the world to learn from the Melanesian experience. The book concludes with some penetrating analyses of the dynamics at work when the Gospel encounters human cultures for the first time. As a result, this book speaks as clearly to the Western context as it does to cultures much closer in time to their first encounter with Jesus. The process of critical contextualization of the Gospel is never complete, and is inevitably the product of conversation and experimentation. As such it is a communal process. This set of essays models one such conversation while at the same time enabling the rest of the church to listen in on important insight...Read more


The Melanesian Institute has just released its latest Journal, Catalyst 47.1
Another astounding publication… concisely informative highlights the ongoing and emerging issues that are impacting the lives of ordinary Papua New Guineans today. A collection of researched articles put together by scholars in the same discipline of social sciences.
Articles include;

  • Democracy and Citizen Voice in Papua New Guinea

The perspective of a Non-Government Organisation which reflects the views of many Papua New Guineans: the observed lack of services to the ordinary Papua New Guinean in the rural regions of the country, and the seeming ineffectiveness (or reluctance?) of decentralising the power centre in Waigani (by Dr. Richard Barcham, Yanny Guman and Simon Marme). 

  • A Consultancy Report on Village Courts in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea - An empirical study on issues (challenges/problems) faced by Village Courts Officials in carrying out their duties; the reality faced at this lowest  Justice System of Papua New Guinea (by Martin Tnines).

 (Lookout for the fully documented findings of this Topic in our upcoming Point Series 41)

  • “The Word Made One with Us” - A contextualized theology at domestic/home level for Papua New Guineans (by Fr. Geovanne Bustos).


Tokpisin Megesin blo Melanesian Institute

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Read more on Detail Stories

Catalyst 46.2


Read more.........


Catalyst 46.1
This issue will be published in 2016. The topics include; Being Church in the World Today: From a Devotional Church to a Kingdom–Driven Church, The Death Penalty in Papua New Guinea, Evangelising in and through families—The key to a pastoral renewal in PNG, Relationship in Marriage, PNG Church Partnership Program Theology of Development Statement, Ethnographic notes from German Holy Spirit Sisters stationed in New Guinea between the two World Wars, Book review and CONTRIBUTORS Read more........

Catalyst 45.2
This issue was published in early 2016. The topics include; Arguments over birth control in PNG, The Papuan Spirit Nogut in the Light of the Gospels, Religious Experiences and Religious Learning in Oceania, MI’s 45 years of reflection, PNG highlands turning to Islam, Obituary of Prof. Dr. Theodor Ahrens and CONTRIBUTORS Read more........

Occasional Paper No. 16
The content of this Occasional Paper is based on the author’s personal experience with the asylum seekers from the Indonesian territory of West Papua, who are now settled in PNG. He was assigned to work for six months among the West Papuan refugees in Kiunga District, Western Province. He continued to pay regular visits to them in 1995, 1997, 2003, 2006, 2008, and in October 2013. In this way, during the last 20 years, the author had the opportunity to witness the logistic and cultural changes experienced by the refugees and to write about their situation.......Read more....