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PORT VILA, VANUATU (14 March 2024): The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat and the Australian Government will sponsor two high-achieving students of the National University of Vanuatu (NUV) for the 2024 Academic year following the launch of the inaugural Father Walter Lini Scholarship today.

Coinciding with MSG’s 36th anniversary marked every year on March 14, the launch took place at the National Convention Centre in the presence of the MSG Chair and Vanuatu Prime Minister, Hon. Charlot Salwai, Senior MSG Officials, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, invited guests and friends of the MSG. 

The Walter Lini Scholarship was a decision of the MSG Leaders in 2013, and while a formal announcement of the scholarship program was launched in 2014, concrete implementation could not be undertaken due to financial constraints. Both scholarships are worth a total value of 600,000VT.

Director General, Leonard Louma, said, “implementing this particular Leader’s decision is a milestone achievement and Australia’s contribution will go a long way in ensuring that students will realise their dreams, hence contributing to a region of Economic Prosperity and Social Equality and Inclusivity – two of our core objectives endorsed by Leaders in the MSG 2038 Prosperity for All Plan”.

“I am most grateful to the Government of Australia through the Australian High Commission for its continued support to the MSG. Australia’s support is testament of the growing partnership and commitment as our relationship soars to new heights,” DG Louma stated.

The Australian High Commission, Vanuatu was represented by Political Counsellor, Laura Frech Cardenas on behalf of the Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Her Excellency Heidi Bootle. 

Ms Frech Cardenas said while 2024 marks a new era in the strong partnership between the MSG and Australia, the scholarship builds on Australia’s strong commitments to investing in skills development and leadership across Melanesia. 

“Australia’s relationship with the MSG is built on our enduring cultural ties and shared commitment to delivering on Melanesian priorities for social and economic development. 

“I am pleased to present this Scholarship alongside the Chairman of the MSG and Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Hon. Charlot Salwai, in honour of Father Walter Lini, Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister, and a founding member of the MSG,” said Ms Frech Cardenas. 

Vice-Chancellor & President of the NUV, Jean-Pierre NIRUA said, “I wish to express my appreciation to H.E, High Commissioner Heidi Bootle for agreeing with DG Louma to sponsor two high-achieving students from the NUV under Walter Lini Scholarship program.

He confirmed that the students – Carole Raupepe and Kariso Korisa met the selection criteria set by the NUV, two of which are being a final year student and achieving academic excellence.

#MSG 🇫🇯🇳🇨🇵🇬🇸🇧🇻🇺

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