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24 May 2011
Dr Ritchie will speak on the issue at Deakin University's Alfred Deakin Research Institute's symposium on Papua New Guinea this Friday (27 May).
"Every country has a story that allows people to understand how it 'became' a nation," he said.
"In France and America it is their revolutions, for us it is about how the Australian nation emerged from the bloodshed of Gallipoli.
"Whether we agree with these interpretations or reject them, such stories serve as a convenient shorthand and give us symbols of a past of which many of us feel proud."
Dr Ritchie said Papua New Guinea was now in the same situation.
"Papua New Guinea now needs its own story of how it became a nation," he said.
"A national story which encapsulates the great challenges that have been faced and in many cases, overcome, as it reaches its first 50 years as a nation."
Dr Ritchie said the national story could be built from the many tales of progress and achievement in PNG's 50 year history.
"However there is real urgency to act," he said.
"Many of the people involved in the independence era are passing from the scene and it is their biographies and oral histories which will build the national story."
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