Acting Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Heidi Bootle, is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2009 Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships.

"ALA Scholarships is a prestigious program open to current and emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region" said the Acting High Commissioner. "An ALA Scholarship is a significant opportunity for high achievers in Solomon Islands to extend their education, strengthen their leadership skills, build networks and develop strategies to address the development challenges we share."

ALA Scholarships are one of the Australian Government scholarship programs managed by the Australian Agency for International Development, AusAID. Over $A133 million is spent annually on scholarships through out the aid program.

The ALA Scholarships provide funding for study at Masters and Doctorate levels in Australia. The ALA Scholarships aim to foster leadership, build partnerships and linkages, and address issues of priority that affect people across the Asia-Pacific Region.

Up to 150 Scholarships are being offered for students from countries within the region to study at Australian universities in 2009, including candidates from Solomon Islands. Scholars will be selected from a highly competitive regional pool on the basis of demonstrated leadership qualities and academic achievement.

Six Scholars were selected from Solomon Islands in 2008 including two female candidates. Awards are open for all fields of study however study programs that relate to the priority themes of shared regional interest - international trade, pandemics, security and climate change (including clean energy) - are encouraged.

As well as providing higher education degrees, ALA Scholarships also offer scholars the opportunity to participate in a unique Leadership Development Program.

Applications for 2009 ALA Scholarships open on 1 April 2008 and close on 30 June 2008.