NINA Florencia Giheno is the recipient of two AusAid scholarships.

The first was an Australian Development Scholarship (ADS) in 2003, her undergraduate degree a Double Major in Accounting and Management from the University of Newcastle. Her second scholarship was in 2010 under the Australia Leadership Award (ALA) a prestigious scholarship recognising young professional leaders. Ms Giheno was given the opportunity to study at one of the top eight universities in Australia, the University of Adelaide. Nina completed her Masters in International Trade and Development in December 2011, an 18-month course that she completed in a year by studying it in intense mode.

As a result of her leadership qualities and academic results she was one of 30 successful recipients that were awarded the Prime Minister’s Pacific-Australia (PMPA) Awards and an internship at the Pacific Trade and Invest (PT&I) Sydney office.Pacific Islands Trade & Invest is the region’s lead export facilitation, investment and tourism promotion agency. As an arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat based in Fiji, it focuses on the international promotion and support of businesses in the Pacific Island countries. It is the only Pacific Islands agency tasked by leaders to develop, grow and promote industry and business in all 14 Pacific Island countries in export, investment and tourism promotion across international markets. PT&I has four trade offices in its network – Sydney, Auckland, Beijing and Tokyo, as well as a World Trade Organisation (WTO) representative office in Geneva.

On the investment side, PT&I is responsible for promoting and attracting foreign direct investment into the Pacific Islands. It does this by delivering market intelligence, connections and support to foreign investors and helps them identify the best opportunities in the region. By doing so, it aims to grow Pacific Island economies, and create business and job opportunities for its people.

PT&I believes that the people of the Pacific Islands are one of its greatest assets and is keen to support its future leaders. PT&I saw the value in partnering with the Australian Government to select the best candidates. This assurance is primarily to have good quality candidates who would be supported during their placement. Tim Martin, the Investment Program Manager stated that: “Ms Giheno was well qualified and had the education and work experience to really add value to our business. Nina’s postgraduate degree in International Trade and Development, and her experience working for multinational corporations were particularly attractive. We knew these skills would assist us to complete tasks and projects with increased efficiency and insight.

“Nina’s role in our organisation also presented a strategic opportunity for us. As the largest of the Pacific Island nations (in terms of economy, population and geography) it is important that we grow a strong professional and social network within PNG.

“In her key function as the Investment Program Assistant, Nina assisted in putting together the 2nd annual ‘Investment Opportunities in the Pacific Islands’ publication. The finished publication has been very well received by a broad readership and draws together projects seeking foreign investment from across the 14 Pacific Island countries (it can be found at Her deep understanding of the challenges facing the region, and her strong commitment to PNG meant that she was able to offer unique insights and perspectives.

”Ms Giheno remarks: “PNG is one of the stronger pacific islands economies and blessed in terms of resources. However, business opportunities need to be provided for PNG’s vast majority and our smaller neighbouring island nations. It is very beneficial to have agencies like PT&I that help empower the people of our 14 South Pacific countries. I embrace the challenge to return back home, like many of the other awardees and contribute positively to the development of PNG and to our region, as a whole.

Ms Giheno has postponed her September graduation ceremony this year to April 2013 where she is eager to have a double celebration, her postgraduate degree and her Private Pilot Licence.