gerald-hThe Pacific Community (SPC) joins the Government of Vanuatu in congratulating Dr Gerald Haberkorn who was awarded a medal of honour this week by Vanuatu’s Head of State, President Baldwin Lonsdale, at the State House in Port Vila.

Dr Haberkorn is a long-serving employee of SPC, having first joined in 1993. He is the current Director for the organisation’s Statistics for Development Division.

“We at the Pacific Community are proud of the tremendous and well deserved recognition awarded to our colleague, Dr Haberkorn. Indeed it is testament to his incredible work ethic and dedication to serving the people of the Pacific,” Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said.

The Vanuatu Daily Post described Dr Haberkorn as one of the nation’s remarkable pioneers and accredited the prestigious honour bestowed for “his work and dedication to serve the people of Vanuatu.”

Dr Haberkorn first arrived in Vanuatu in March, 1982 to conduct his PhD research field-work on rural-to-urban migration with the Australian National University.

His work took him to six communities in Paama, and North Pentecost, in Liro and Abwatuntora respectively, to collect extensive work histories on plantations, ships, in town and overseas of all adult men and women.

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, President Lonsdale paid tribute to Dr Haberkorn for having “left your families to come and serve within this nation.”

In his thank-you response to Vanuatu’s Head of State, Dr Haberkorn reflected on his time at the Vanuatu Planning Office, the mix and magnitude of development challenges confronting the young independent nation, the good working relationships with the resident Australian and New Zealand High Commissions at the time, and the privilege of leading a small team of highly motivated development professionals which culminated in the development of the nation’s Third National Development Plan (1992-1996).

“Having the privilege to work with experienced and dedicated colleagues, a supportive director who is now the Minister of Education, excellent political support from the Prime Minister’s Office, the then 1st Secretary and current Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Joe Natuman, was critical in pulling off a plan that was strategic and the product of extensive community consultations, seeking ordinary people’s views and aspirations about development,” Dr Haberkorn said.

Dr Haberkorn recently announced his retirement and will leave SPC in June. Among the many highlights of his 19 years of service with the organisation, Dr Haberkorn helped to rebuild and manage a small and productive demography program between 1993 and 1998, and contributed to the development of the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy 2011-2020.

Media contact
Jean-Noel Royer, SPC Communications Officer, jeannoelr@spc.int, +687 87 70 63