Six Solomon Islanders have been awarded the prestigious Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) scholarship to undertake postgraduate study in Australia next year.In congratulating the scholars, Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Matt Anderson said the ALA scholarships are addressing priority development areas to help Solomon Islands.
"The new scholars join 32 former and current ALA scholars who have the chance to extend their education and participate in a unique development program. This not only enhances their leadership skills, builds networks and increases their understanding of regional development challenges, it also benefits Solomon Islands," Mr Anderson said.
The ALA scholarships cover travel, living allowances, tuition fees and university costs, as well as a unique leadership training program. The AusAID-funded ALA scholarships for 2013 are awarded to:
. Charles Sulu - currently the Senior Dental Registrar at the National Referral Hospital, will complete a four year Doctor Clinical Dentistry (Prosthodontics) at the University of Sydney.
. Julie Zinihite - currently the Chief Pharmacist at the National Referral Hospital, will complete a Master of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Queensland.
. Paul Mae - currently a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, Vanuatu, will complete a four year Doctor of Philosophy (Commerce, economics, business, law, management) at the University of Queensland.
. Carol Pitisopa - currently undertaking research on community development projects with the World Bank, will complete a Masters of Community Development at the Australian National University, Canberra.
. John Fasi - currently a biology and science education lecturer at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, will complete a four-year Doctor of Philosophy (Chemical and Biological Sciences) at the University of Queensland.
. Caroline Laore - until recently the National Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will complete a Master of Social Research at Australian National University, Canberra.
"They then bring these skills and knowledge home, which help all Solomon Islanders. The ALA scholarships are highly competitive, based on leadership qualities and outstanding academic achievement. I would like to congratulate the new scholars on their success and I am sure they will bring great credit to both themselves and Solomon Islands," Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson said the 2013 scholars take the total number of Solomon Island ALA scholarship holders to 38 since the scholarship program began in 2007.
"Australia's investment in scholarships and education is helping the Solomon Islands Government to meet the future training, and human resource development needs of the country."
Mr Anderson said the annual ALA scholarships are an important part of Australia's support to the Solomon Islands Government's commitment to boosting education opportunities in Solomon Islands.
Every year, around 125 Solomon Island students study at Australian or regional universities under Australian scholarships. In addition to the ALA scholarships, next year a further 28 Solomon Islanders will undertake undergraduate studies at Australian universities through the Australian Development Scholarships, with a further 29 Solomon Islanders studying at Pacific regional universities.