Press Statement - The first scholarships under the China-Pacific Islands Forum Scholarship Scheme have been awarded to nine students from four countries in the region.

The scholarship scheme between the Peoples' Republic of China and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is in addition to any bilateral scholarships between China and individual countries in the region. It is open to all Pacific Islands Forum members excluding Australia and New Zealand.

Of the first nine scholarships awarded under the Scheme, five are from Samoa, two from Fiji, one from Solomon Islands and one from Papua New Guinea. The scholarships cover fees and a living allowance as well as travel to China and within China.

The students will be studying a range of subjects in various universities and institutes in different parts of China, including International Politics, Urban Planning, Law, Computer Science and Technology, International Economics and Trade, Tourism Management, Information Management, Information System, Accounting and Bioengineering.

They will be studying the Chinese language for the first year before they study in their specific areas of interest.

"These scholarships provide an excellent opportunity for young people from our region to gain first class qualifications in a range of disciplines as well as learning the language and culture of China, which will stand them in good stead on their return. We are grateful to the Government of the Peoples' Republic of China for establishing this regional scholarship scheme,' said Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The Forum Secretariat will be accepting applications early 2010 for the next lot of scholarships. Information will be posted on the Forum Secretariat's website: