Women leading and influencing



Amelia Faotusia Gets Academic Award, Master’s & PhD Scholarship

Monday, 28 March 2022

Tongan Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) participant Amelia Faotusia has received a prize for academic excellence and a full scholarship to undertake a PhD after completing her Master of Environmental Management and Development at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

Achieving her Master’s degree online during the pandemic, the Australia Awards scholar and now ANU alumna earned the University’s Tiri Tiri Prize, awarded to the ‘most outstanding’ student of the graduating Master of Environmental Management and Development class with the highest academic scores.

amelia faotusia headshot

In a recent interview, Amelia said, “I have been extremely fortunate to obtain a full ANU Scholarship to proceed to undertake PhD studies this year – this time under the ANU’s Department of Pacific Affairs. The PhD program will focus on the blue economy concept and ocean financing in the Pacific region, with Tonga and New Zealand as case studies.”

A former economist for the Tongan Government’s Ministry of Finance, Amelia is experienced in public policy and represented Tonga at the inaugural nine-month Pacific Ocean Finance Fellowship Program 2019-20.

During a WLI Learning & Networking event held on World Oceans Day 2021, Amelia took part in a panel discussion with Pip Louey, a PhD candidate researching the evolution of the blue economy in the Pacific Islands.

Amelia believes that the success of the blue economy in the Pacific, like any development gain, relies on the capacity and local ownership of Pasifika actors to drive solutions.

Through her PhD, Amelia hopes to better explore how to build the capacity of ocean finance and conservation in Tonga by discovering effective financing modalities.

Amelia Faotusia is a participant of the WLI Leadership & Mentoring Program.