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SPREP Launches Scholarship Honoring Late Lui Bell

News Release

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme
Apia, Samoa

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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23 April 2013 – The Lui Bell Post-Graduate Scholarship for Marine Species Conservation was launched by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today in honor of the life and work of the late Mr. Lui Bell.

The scholarship will award up to 20,000 USD to Pacific islanders undertaking studies in marine science with a focus on conservation of threatened marine species, in particular turtles, cetaceans, dugongs and sharks.

In launching the Scholarship, David Sheppard, Director of SPREP, said, “Lui was a world expert and his achievements will stand as a beacon for marine conservation in the Pacific region for many years to come. His message was simple – whoever you are, no matter your station in life, you can and you must play a role to conserve and protect marine species and to respect them.”

“Today we will take some small steps to fill that gap through the official launching of the Lui Bell Pacific Marine Species Conservation Scholarship Fund.”

The scholarship will be administered by SPREP through a board and will aim to provide for the entire post-graduate tenure, depending on student performance, to a maximum of three years support for a Masters Degree in Science and four years support for a Ph.D.

The funding target is to achieve a permanent minimum annual funding pool of 60,000 USD to enable support for three new or continuing post-graduate students with inauguration of the scholarship in 2014. The Secretariat invites donors, partner organizations and friends of marine conservation to support the scholarship which was founded upon the dedication and commitment of Lui Bell to conserving Pacific marine species.

“We can see Lui’s legacy here in Samoa in many ways. Lui was the architect of the Samoa EEZ sanctuary – launched when Lui was with the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. This is Samoa’s whale, dolphin and shark sanctuary and was the first ever shark sanctuary in our region. His legacy includes Regional Action Plans for Marine Species which guide Pacific island countries in how to conserve and manage dugongs, whales, dolphins and marine turtles – he was the driving force behind the establishment of marine species sanctuaries in the region, including over 18 million square kilometers of whale and dolphin sanctuaries.”

The scholarship, which SPREP will be rolled out in 2014, will help cover course fees and other costs directly associated with attaining the qualification, including research work where approved by the Scholarship board. A call for applications will be made in the latter part of 2013.

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