Margaret Taylor

Margaret Taylor (1950- ), first PNGan woman lawyer and diplomat. Taylor was born in the highlands village of Nengamp, in the Waghi Valley, of an Australian father (James Taylor) and Melanesian mother. She was educated at the Catholic primary school in Goroka and St Scholasticus boarding school in Sydney, Australia. In 1970 she became the first PNGan woman to enrol in the Faculty of Law at UPNG. In 1971 she transferred to the University of Melbourne, Australia, from which she graduated LL.B in 1973. From 1974-76 Taylor was private secretary to Michael Somare, the Chief Minister in PNG’s national parliament and the country’s first Prime Minister after Independence in 1975. In 1976 she undertook a 12-month course at the Legal Training Institute in Port Moresby and became the first woman to be admitted to the PNG Bar. In 1977 she spent six months with the Public Solicitor’s office in Mt Hagen in the highlands, and six months representing PNG at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. In 1989, after working with a law firm in Sydney, Margaret Taylor became the first PNGan woman to be admitted to the Bar in Australia. In 1985 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at Harvard Law School in the United States. On her return to PNG she practiced in the highlands until 1989 when she was posted to Washington as ambassador to the United States of America, Canada and Mexico. In addition to her diplomatic responsibilities she became heavily involved, in the early 1990s, in environmental issues.

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