Sir Michael Thomas Somare
Founding Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Co Chancellor, Global University for Lifelong Learning
Sir Michael grew up in the village of Karau in the Murik Lakes district of East Sepik Province. His earliest education was in a Japanese-run primary school at Karau during World War II where he learned to read, write and count in Japanese. He graduated from Sogeri High School with a Leaving Certificate in 1957. This was a teaching qualification at the time, and he then taught at several primary and secondary schools.
Transferring within the Public Service, Sir Michael became a radio broadcaster based in Wewak in the East Sepik Province. He left the Public Service to contest the elections for the second House of Assembly in 1968 as a member of the Pangu Party which he had founded with others in 1967. Sir Michael was Chief Minister, becoming Prime Minister when self-government was granted in 1975, and was a key figure in the preparations for subsequent independence and the preparation and adoption of the Constitution. He was again Prime Minister from 1982 until 1985, and won the office a third time in 2002.