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Cambridge, Mass. — Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) today announced the creation of the Kistefos African Public Service Graduate Fellowship Fund. An $11 million gift from Christen Sveaas, founder, executive chairman, and owner of Norwegian investment firm Kistefos AS has underwritten the fellowship.
The fund will support qualified degree program candidates and executive education program participants from African nations. Kistefos African Public Service Fellows will be committed to at least three years of work in public service following their studies at HKS, with an interest in improving governance and public resources at all levels.
“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.”
The endowed fund will cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for admitted applications, welcoming its first students in the 2015-16 academic year. The gift will also contribute to the Campaign for Harvard Kennedy School, a multi-year effort to raise $500 million for financial aid, campus improvements, and key research initiatives.
“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Sveaas for his generosity and excited to welcome the first Kistefos African Public Service Fellows,” said David T. Ellwood, the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy and Dean of HKS. “A fellowship like this one is extremely effective in encouraging the best emerging leaders to apply to and attend the Kennedy School.”
This is the second HKS fellowship established by Sveaas and Kistefos. In 2006 he provided a $1.2 million gift to support students from his native Norway. Beneficiaries of the Kistefos Public Service Fellowship Program have gone on to represent Norway at the UN and promote citizens’ rights with NGOs, among other accomplishments. Sveaas is a member of the HKS Dean’s Council and Executive Committee, and he also initiated and seed-funded the Dean’s Council Challenge Fund for Financial Aid.