Every year around 125 Solomon Islanders study at Australian or regional universities supported by Australian scholarships.
With very limited tertiary studies in Solomon Islands, these scholarships are helping the Solomon Islands Government to meet the training and human resource development needs of the country.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Denton Rarawa, studied at the Australian National University (ANU) under an Australian Development Scholarship. Mr Rarawa recently addressed the 2012 scholars at a pre–departure briefing in Honiara:
'Congratulations to all the scholarship winners. They are highly competitive and you must make full use of this privilege and opportunity,' Mr Rarawa said.
'The scholarship will open windows and doors for you with lots of opportunities for you, your family, community and your country. When you return home to Solomon Islands, you will be able to use your new skills and knowledge to contribute to development here, either in the public or private sectors.'
Profile: Joseph Foukona
Joseph Foukona is from Solomon Islands and is a 2012 Australian Leadership Award scholar.
Joseph, a law lecturer at the University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu, is studying a Doctor of Philosophy in Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University in Canberra.
He is one of four Solomon Islanders awarded an Australian Leadership Awards scholarship this year.
'I'll be looking at the issues of customary land in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, which is very complicated and complex, with many different cultural and historical considerations,' said Joseph.
'Previous research papers have looked at country based customary land issues, but I'll be taking a broader view of the issue and looking at both the country situations in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as a regional perspective as well.'
Joseph arrived in Canberra in mid January for his six week induction program and has already held several meetings with his three supervisors to map out his work plan and research focus for the next 12 months.
He says one of the benefits of the ALA scholarship is the ready made set of networks from the region.
'The scholarship opens up opportunities to meet other people from the Pacific and the region, so already I've met many people working in the Pacific to discuss ideas and experiences with them.'
'I think the ANU is a unique place. It has a strong research focus on the Pacific and excellent library and reference collections, so it's one of the best places to study for me.'
Profile: Kristina Fidali
Solomon Islands is vulnerable to impacts of climate change but if Kristina Fidali has her way, these challenges will be tackled head on.
Kristina, one of four Solomon Islanders awarded an Australian Leadership Awards scholarship this year, is studying a two-year Masters of Climate Change at the Australian National University (ANU).
Before accepting the ALA scholarship, Kristina was the Youth Environment Program Coordinator at the United Nations Development Program in Honiara.
'My study is half course work, half research so there is a good mix of theory and practical. I chose the ANU course based on its reputation and the emphasis of both policy and governance within climate change, which is my real interest,' Kristina said.
'I hope I can use my study and research to inform discussions back home in Solomon Islands and be able to offer practical solutions and leadership to tackle the impacts of climate change.'
Kristina's first impressions of Canberra and the ANU have been very positive.
'I found Canberra to be an easy place to live because it's so organised. It's been good to arrive in summer so you have a chance to get used to the colder weather changes in temperature as winter approaches, ' said Kristina.
'I arrived in Canberra in mid January to undertake the six week introductory academic program which helps prepare all the international students to life at ANU and what to expect academically.'
'There are 33 students from 20 countries so we've had a chance to get know our fellow students and to meet some of our lecturers.
Kristina, who has left her husband Leon Hickie and eight year old daughter Lalyne in Honiara while she settles into ANU, hopes they will join her in Canberra later on in the year.
'You make many sacrifices to pursue your study like being away from home without family and friends around, so you have to work hard and do well to make these choices worth it.'
'The scholarship is giving me an opportunity of a life time but it's not just about me and my family, it's about what I can do when I return to Solomon Islands to help my country.'
How to apply
More information, including applicant eligibility criteria can be found at: