The Australian Development Counsellor in Solomon Islands, Juliette Brassington, today announced that eight Solomon Islands high performers will be offered a prestigious Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Scholarship for 2011.

These scholarships are implemented by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) as part of the Australia Awards initiative. The Australian Leadership Awards program aims to develop leadership and build partnerships and enduring linkages between developing countries and Australia.

"These eight outstanding recipients have been identified for their potential to assume leadership roles that can contribute to social and economic policy reform and positive development outcomes in the Solomon Islands and the region on their return home," said Brassington.

Four female and four male candidates have been selected from the Solomon Islands which is an outstanding result, given that a total of 21 ALA Scholarships for 2011 were awarded across the entire Pacific Region.

"These scholars can be justifiably proud of winning a prestigious award that will equip them to serve as future leaders in their fields of expertise in their country and region. I warmly congratulate them all.

"The Australia Awards initiative underlines Australia's strong commitment to developing local leadership and building productive partnerships with Solomon Islands and other countries of the Pacific."

The awardees will undertake postgraduate studies at Australian universities in areas such as infrastructure, engineering, environment, public health, governance and education. They will also participate in a tailored leadership development program to strengthen their leadership and management skills, establish regional contacts and networks, and enhance their understanding of regional development challenges.

Support for two female Solomon Islanders to study the Environment and Sustainable Tourism will increase their skills to contribute to effective management and decision making in the environment, conservation and eco-tourism fields. Another award in the field of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will strengthen the awardee's capacity to lead the control and prevention of the Dengue Fever scourge in Solomon Islands.