The Right Honorable Sir Peter Kenilorea KBE PC

26 November 2008

Award of a Doctor of the University honoris causa
Sir Peter Kenilorea


One of the most senior statesmen of the South Pacific, the Right Honorable Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC is currently the Speaker of the National Parliament of the Solomon Islands, a position he has held since 2001.

Before entering politics, Sir Peter was a secondary school teacher at King George VI Secondary School, transferring at the request of the government to the Civil Service as Assistant Secretary Finance in 1971. He later rose to become a District Commissioner, was President of the Civil Servants’ Association, co-founded the Solomon Islands Christian Association, and later founded the Solomon Islands United Party.

After being elected to the National Legislative Assembly in 1976, he became Chief Minister of the Solomon Islands.

In 1978, upon the nation gaining independence, he became its first Prime Minister, a position he held until August 1980, returning again from October 1984 until his resignation in December 1986.

Sir Peter was awarded the Queen’s Silver Medal in 1977, was made a Privy Counsellor in 1979, and was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1982. He received the Solomon Islands’ Independence Medal in 1978 and 10 years later, was awarded the Solomon Islands 10th Anniversary Medal.

In 1994, Sir Peter was awarded the World War II 50th Anniversary Medal in his capacity as a resident diplomat. In 1984, he was awarded a Certificate for an International Leader of Distinction by the State of Hawaii and was decorated by the Republic of China with the highest honour for any foreign citizen, The Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon in 1985.

Sir Peter has made great contributions to the advancement of the peace process in the Solomon Islands and has been acknowledged as an effective advocate of constitutional democracy. Following fighting between the Malaita Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement, Sir Peter was, along with Paul Tovua, co-chair of the Cease-Fire Negotiations and Monitoring Council. He later went on to co-chair the Peace Monitoring Council, created in August 2000.

An outstanding representative for his country and the region, Sir Peter estimates he has visited 70 countries in an official capacity since 1964. During this period, he was instrumental in the signing of two milestone agreements on behalf of Solomon Islands, The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. He also headed the Forum Fisheries Agency, 1991 to 1994.

He has been a conduit for many worthwhile research and consultancy activities between UQ and the Solomon Islands, mainly conducted through UQ’s Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and UniQuest.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career, I present to you Sir Peter Kenilorea, Certificate in Public Administration from the University of the South Pacific, for the award of a Doctor of the University honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.


Doctor of the University honoris causa