Professor Sam Kaipu

Welcome to The University of Papua New Guinea, and to the School of Law, for all first year students, who are enrolled in the Degree and Diploma Programs. I also welcome all students from centres and locations outside the National Capital District. For many of you, this may be the first time that you have left your province and your families, while for others, this may be your first time in Port Moresby.

There are many reasons why a person, regardless of any criterion which may distinguish one student from another, because of sex, age, place of origin, vocation or profession, may want to pursue a law degree. It may be personal, such as to increase the chances of getting a job or to become rich and famous (which is not a good reason), family, professional, or as something which may be considered as necessary to advance a cause or support an existing career or vocation.

For those who have chosen law because of a genuine desire to pursue a career in law, it can be a remarkably worthwhile, satisfying, and very rewarding experience. In pursuing either of the two programs that the School of Law offers, there is no substitute for hard work. Students must be committed to engaging in hard work and sacrifice. These are the primers of every successful academic experience in the School of Law, and the University as a whole. Intelligence, by itself, is insufficient to achieve success. This raw material must be supported by commitment, focus, and academic honesty. The essential attitude of successful study involves possessing the correct or proper habits (including study habits), behaviour, and having positive and functional peer friendships. Among the most potent enemies of successful legal studies are laziness, complacency, absence, loss of focus, procrastination, and lack of commitment and application. At times, success also involves making sacrifices, even deferring or delaying some events to a time in the future. Among these decisions may be becoming first-time parents or becoming parents again during the course of your program. For those wishing to become lawyers, make sure that you are admitted to the bar (to practise law) before being admitted to the labour and maternity wards.

Success is easy to achieve, if you make the sacrifices that must be made now, develop the right attitudes, create positive friendships and behaviour, and delay or suspend some activities to a later time in your lives. If you don’t, you will be forced to pay the price later. It is as simple as that. Make the aforementioned qualities and strengths to be the foundation of your student life. You will then not be disappointed during your time at the University or later in life. Make these qualities the bed on which you go to sleep each night and from which you wake up each morning.

What you wear and how you look may conceal the truth about you. Even the mirror may not change who you are. If you want to change your life, your family, your community, your country, or the world, that change starts here today – at the University of Papua New Guinea.

The University’s Assessment and Accreditation Policy and the Law School’s by-laws provide the rules to guide your study plans while you are here. Together, they are, in a sense, the Hansel and Gretel pebbles to guide you to your home base. See the School’s Deputy Executive Dean, Academic, and the Executive Officer in order to familiarize yourselves with them, and avoid or minimize disappointments along your academic journey.

The foregoing, including success itself, make one constant assumption – good health. While the dangers associated with successful studies are clear, the risks to health, generally, and life itself are both real and serious. It is critical that each student takes personal and primary responsibility for his or her health to avoid life-threatening habits. The risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs is a real threat to health today, as is communicable tuberculosis and COVID-19. The former disease is on the rise while the latter is making a resurgence. Everyone has both a social and moral responsibility to each other to avoid contracting them and risking spreading them to other students, as well as to other members of the community. The School of Law is also a ‘non-smoking’ and ‘non-chewing’ area.

Finally, and above all, everything that we do, or not do, in this life hangs on the overarching hook of our spiritual health. Seek and live in the peace of God with everyone around you, and if you do, the same peace will come back to you.

Professor Sam Kaipu
Executive Dean
School of Law