$11 Million Gift Sponsors African Students Fellowship

Norwegian business magnate Christen Sveaas has donated $11 million to the Kennedy School of Government to found the Kistefos African Public Service Graduate Fellowship Fund. The gift will cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for admitted students beginning next fall.

Forming part of the school’s $500 million capital campaign, Sveaas’s donation stands as one of the largest publicly announced gifts to HKS this academic year. The School's campaign has reached at least $355 million, HKS Dean David T. Ellwood ’75 said.

Sveaas is the founder and executive chairman of the Norwegian investment firm Kistefos AS. He has served as a member of the Kennedy School’s Dean’s Council since 2003. In 2006, he provided $1.2 million to HKS to sponsor a fellowship for students from Norway.

In a press release Wednesday, Sveaas emphasized future African politicians’ role in strengthening democracy as motivation for his gift.

“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,” Sveaas said.


Ellwood added that Sveaas’s donation will help reduce the cost of education for international students that come to HKS from Africa.  

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Sveaas for his generosity and excited to welcome the first Kistefos African Public Service Fellows,” Ellwood said. “A fellowship like this one is extremely effective in encouraging the best emerging leaders to apply to and attend the Kennedy School.”

—Staff writer Forrest K. Lewis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ForrestKLewis.