Yale School of Architecture Launches Francis Kéré Scholarship for African Students

Francis Kéré

The Yale School of Architecture has announced the creation of the Francis Kéré Scholarship, named after the renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect Francis Kéré. This new scholarship, funded by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, will support African students pursuing architectural studies at Yale. The initiative underscores Yale’s commitment to fostering diversity and excellence within its academic community.

Francis Kéré, a native of Burkina Faso, has made significant contributions to architecture through his Berlin-based firm, Kéré Architecture, which he founded in 2005. Kéré’s practice is celebrated for its innovative approach to sustainable materials and construction methods, with notable projects including the National Assembly of Benin and the Goethe Institut Dakar. Additionally, he established the Kéré Foundation to support education, environmental, and health initiatives in his hometown of Gando, Burkina Faso.

Kéré’s relationship with Yale began with his initial visiting professorship in 2019. He was appointed the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professor in Fall 2022, during which he led students on educational trips to Ghana and Benin. His courses often emphasize the exploration of sustainable materials and new construction techniques.

Expressing his gratitude, Kéré remarked, “It is a tremendous honor to have this scholarship named after me. There are so many aspiring African architects and with a Yale education they will be able to excel. I am the first African architect to be recognized with a Pritzker, and, thanks to the Francis Kéré Scholarship, I hope there will be many more to come.”

The Francis Kéré Scholarship Fund is poised for potential growth through additional contributions. Currently, the Yale School of Architecture has ten African students among its 225 graduate enrollees. Yale’s policy of need-based financial aid, which is independent of nationality, distinguishes it from many other institutions.

Dean Deborah Berke highlighted the significance of the scholarship, stating, “This gift ensures that anyone with the drive and the skills will be able to pursue the career they want. This scholarship will empower future generations of leaders.”

The Francis Kéré Scholarship follows the recent establishment of the Jane & Kevin Roche Scholarship Fund, named in honor of another Pritzker Prize-winning architect. This scholarship was introduced to support future designers and was announced at a special event held at the Yale School of Architecture last year.

The Francis Kéré Scholarship marks a significant step towards increasing accessibility and representation in the field of architecture, paving the way for future African architects to achieve their potential and contribute to the global architectural landscape.

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