A Pacific Islander is the recipient of the prestigious US Fulbright Foreign Student Program for a scholarship, the first from this region in over a decade to do so.

According to Fiji Times Online, Siale Bain-Vete, a Tongan national and son of prominent human rights activist Atu Emberson-Bain and Steve Vete, was chosen after a competitive process.

"I am both thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to be a Pacific Fulbright scholar," he said in a press statement issued by the United States Embassy yesterday.

"This is a great challenge and I am also excited about being in the US at this particular time in history with President Obama in the White House."

According to the report, 27-year-old stated that he intends to return to the Pacific to continue working in the area of social development upon completing the program.

"I am confident that I will be in a stronger position to make a more effective and meaningful contribution to development in Tonga, Fiji and the region."