‘Dream big’ says former Papua New Guinea Ambassador to the EU to the next generation


Former Papua New Guinea Ambassador to the European Union, Gabriel Pepson, shares his advice and wisdom for the next generation of Papua New Guineans.

Former PNG Ambassador to the European Union, Gabriel Pepson. Credit: Godfreeman Kaptigau

Gabriel Pepson was born the first of three children in Kimininga in Western Highlands Province in 1956.

He went to school at Koglamp Primary School, Mt Hagen High School, and then the University of Papua New Guinea to study economics in 1974.

His first job was with the Department of Finance in 1978 where he worked under the late Sir Mekere Morauta.

He went on to work for the Office of International Development Assistance (OIDA) where he became Director in 1991.

He was posted as Ambassador to the European Union in 1995 where he served for 10 years until his return to take up the position of Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade. He retired in 2010 and now sits on several boards and serves as a member of the UPNG Council, and Chancellor of the Institute of Business Studies.

Pepson unsuccessfully contested the Western Highlands regional seat in 2007 and the Moresby North West seat in the 2021 by-election.

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One of my earliest memories is being taken to school in 1964 by my mother to be enrolled. I didn’t want to leave her. When the English headmaster came to take me to the other children I cried and held on tightly to my mother.

A boy from my village was brought to talk to me, and I was told other boys from my village were there and I would not be lonely. That was the beginning of my schooling.

‘Dream big because you can only go as far as your dreams.’

My two mentors were the late Sir Mekere Morauta, who was my first boss in the Department of Finance, and the first Chief Secretary to Government, Mr Robert Igara.

In my early years, the public service was a disciplined, professional and respected authority. Institutions of government maintained good governance and never indulged in corruption. Sir Mekere enforced these virtues in me.

Igara became my boss at the OIDA – he was also a very disciplined man, down to earth and an effective manager who always had foresight on policy and management matters ahead of other executives. His ascension to the post of Chief Secretary was a natural progression. Like Sir Mekere, he was a role model who upheld the virtues of the public service. He was a man of high integrity and he enforced standards on those below him. He is a close friend to this day.

My message for young Papua New Guineans is to always uphold integrity. You have to think about your children’s future; this culture that is now creeping in does no good for anybody.

If I was giving advice to my younger self, I would say whatever you do, execute it to the best of your ability, and produce the best because you will be handsomely rewarded. And, even if others don’t respect you, respect yourself.

Important lessons I have learnt in life are to never open your mouth and say or do anything until you have all the facts. Also, that you will not be disappointed if you remain focused and work hard. Dream big because you can only go as far as your dreams.

My three keys to success are

  1. To be a person of integrity; people will respect you, both good and bad, and doors will naturally be opened for you.
  2. Commit your life to God, and let God be the foundation of your family, career, and everything else, and it will all fall into place.
  3. Work hard and you will always be rewarded.

I’m inspired by helping others in desperate need.

If there is anything I would change in my life it would be entering politics earlier in life so I could have made a positive impact in the development of PNG. It is the political leadership that determines the destiny of the country.

The article ‘Wisdom: Gabriel Person former PNG Ambassador to the European Union’ was first published in the April/May 2022 edition of PNG Now, Papua New Guinea’s leading lifestyle magazine.


  1. Elda Patmou says

    Excellent mentor

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