Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS) has announced an $11 million gift from Christen Sveaas, founder, executive chairman, and owner of Norwegian investment firm Kistefos, to establish a fellowship for African students.
The Kistefos African Public Service Graduate Fellowship Fund will provide support to degree program candidates and executive education program participants from African nations with an interest in improving governance and public resources at all levels. Starting in 2015-16, the endowed fund will cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for fellows — who must commit to at least three years of public service work following their studies. The gift also will be counted toward the Kennedy School’s multiyear effort to raise $500 million for financial aid, campus improvements, and key research initiatives.
A member of the HKS Dean's Council and Executive Committee, Sveaas also initiated and seed-funded the Dean's Council Challenge Fund for Financial Aid. In 2006, he donated $1.2 million to create a fellowship fund for students from his native Norway.
"Education is key for running good governments," said Sveaas. "And I would like to give others the opportunity to get a better education to run public services. It doesn't always seem that democracies work as they should, and I hope my small contribution can help educate the next generation of African leaders."