Cuba and Fiji for West Papua

Published in:

Join our great get-together for West Papua: make new friends, meet old ones, with good food, inspiring speakers, up-to-date information. Register at (for online, and for face-to-face at West Papua office in Docklands).

GUEST SPEAKER. Laura Canet Mulén from the Raúl Roa García Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana, Cuba
Laura was born in Havana on 6 September 1999, her father is a military retiree and her mother is a doctor. She has represented Cuba twice in international swimming competitions, enjoys good music, dancing, and going to the theatre.

Laura is grateful for the support of Dr. Abel Perdomo and Msc. Juan Miguel González Peña who are supervising her research of Cuba’s relations with South Pacific Islands. “The South Pacific island-states have not been studied as centres of geostrategic importance since World War Two, and deserve special attention in terms of multilateralism and resilience, especially since the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States passed a comprehensive motion on West Papua at its meeting in Nairobi on 7 December 2019” (see below).

She regards her invitation to present her ideas at the West Papua office in Docklands as “an honour and an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences on the close ties of cooperation and friendship between Cuba and the Pacific islands”.

2019 ACP Resolution on West Papua, 7 December 2019

GUEST SPEAKER, Dr Robert Wolfgramm from Fiji
Robert was born in Fiji of German, Tongan, Jewish, Australian and Fijian ancestry; after arriving in Sydney in 1963, he moved to Melbourne in 1968. He is the nephew of the iconic Tongan pedal steel guitarist Bill Wolfgramm, and the father of the popular Wolfgramm Sisters. In the 1970s he was a pioneer songwriter and record producer of contemporary Christian music in Melbourne when that genre was still produced in other countries by other people.”Bob brought it home, and gave it depth” claimed a reviewer of his Galilee album.

Robert is a true Renaissance man. Currently he is Editor-in-Chief of a new translation of the Fiji Bible (Nai Vola Tabu). He lectured at Monash University for twenty-four years where he earned the respect and loyalty of sociology and political science students. He and wife Lupe co-founded AFL Fiji with the Australian Football League’s Andrew Cadzow and footy stars David Rodan and Alipate Carlile (Richmond, Port Adelaide), training thousands of street kids around the island-nation, bringing the first ever Fijian team to the AFL International Cup in 2011–which dominated France in the Grand Final and took home the 2nd Division prize (none of the players had boots until eighteen were gifted by Robert’s friend just a day before the first game). In 2014, under Lupe’s inspiration and with training and coaching from sons Max and Dylan, they brought the first ever Fijian AFL Women’s team to the International Cup.

Robert was also Editor-in-Chief of the Fiji Daily Post newspaper during 2006 when after years of threats, Naval Commander Frank Bainimarama finally ousted the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and led a brutal authoritarian regime for the next sixteen years. Suffering the combined effects of life threats, bullying, falling staff morale, shrinking circulation, censorship demands, and weighty unresolved court cases, the Fiji Daily Post was forced to suspend publication in 2010. Robert and his family returned to Australia in 2014.

Robert’s informed writings and presentations have jolted many Australians into remembering that West Papua is still the western border of Melanesia-Pacific, despite Australia’s vote in the UN 1969 General Assembly that relegated it a far-flung colony of the Indonesian Republic.

Robert Wolfgramm talking about Melanesia at West Papua’s Sampari Art Festival. December 2016, Australian Catholic University in Brunswick St, Fitzroy.

Interview with Robert Wolfgramm, circa 2012,
Robert’s 1978 recording of ‘Refugee’,

MEMORIAL for Dag Hammarskjöld (1961), West Papua’s Nieuw Guinea RAAD (1962) and Helena Grunfeld (2023)

Our memorial, led by Rev. Dr Robert Stringer, honours the life and work of the Swedish UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld (1953-1961) who was killed (in still mysterious circumstances) on 18 September 1961, three days before the UN General Assembly where he planned to introduce the Decolonisation Program he had drafted for West Papua. We also remember the Nieuw Guinea RAAD, the nascent elected parliament of the West Papuans’ Non-Self-Governing Territory, which was launched in Hollandia on 5 April 1961 and abolished by Indonesia after the United Nations (illegally) transferred the administration of the territory in 1962. We are also recalling the wonderful activism of Helena Grunsfeld, the Swedish-Australian academic who introduced a global perspective to the West Papua Womens Office. The memorial concludes with a reading of the moving poem ‘Death of a Herdsman’ written by Yvette Ripplinger, a young French bureaucrat, after being told of the death of her boss Dag Hammarskjöld. The poem is read by Monique Westmore from Holy Trinity Church in Port Melbourne, and introduced by Muhammad Alsomalia, whose father’s brother was, during his term as Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, President of the UN Security Council in 1972. A candle is being lit for Helena by Ms Ruth Leonards from the Melbourne City Synagogue, for the UN Secretary-General by Mr Clovis Mwamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and for the Nieuw Guinea Raad by Mrs Nely Baransano from West Papua.

You might like to prepare for this very special memorial by watching this new 9-min film produced by the West Papua Womens Office, with a gloriously contemplative jazz score by Galliano Sommavilla recorded by Nick Huggins. All the greats are in it: Napoléon, Jacob Rumbiak, Bishop Huggins, Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Secretary-General Guterres, the Swedish Monarch etc etc

(i) Queensland artist Susan Zela Bissett redefines the meaning of botanical art with her unique works composed of plant fibre and fragments and inks brewed from bark, berries and fruit. Much more about this amazing artist at

(ii) Glorious works by wood sculpturist David Mckenzie, hewn from recycled timber. Each year this master artist contributes incredible sculptures to the West Papua Rent Collective, for which we are truly thankful. These three beauties are a set but as a nod of respect to the cost-of-living crisis, Dr Toscano is auctioning them as individual works.

Photo Credits: Trogan, Cuba’s national bird (; Kuli, Fiji’s national bird (; Victoria Crowned Pigeon, West Papua’s national bird (

  • Document Search

    Search Terms: Document Type: Publication Year:

  • Top