Christian Benimana, now a TED Fellow, dreamed of becoming an architect, but there were no design schools in his home country of Rwanda, so he applied and was accepted to Tongji University in Shanghai, China. Not letting his inability to speak Mandarin stand in his way, he spent a year gaining fluency before pursuing his degree in architecture. Upon returning to Rwanda, Christian joined MASS Design Group as a Global Health Corps Design Fellow in 2010, and today directs the firm’s Rwanda Programs and the African Design Centre. He has taught at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, and chairs the Education Boards of the Rwandan Institute of Architects and the East African Institute of Architects. Christian’s goal is to develop the talent and potential of the next generation of African designers with socially-focused design principles. He announced the plans for the African Design Centre at the UN Solutions Summit in New York in 2015.
In this episode:
– Christian shares his story
– The purpose of African Design Centre
– What is possible by building with local labor and resources
– The biggest challenge so far in his career
– What drives him to do what he does
– What is the one advice he will give to young Africans on the continent or in the diaspora looking to add value to the continent?
– And of course answers the trademark question, If you had 10 thousand Africans at your disposal, with expertise in every field, what would you do?
Christian’s Favorite book: Just Mercy