Certificate program participants in Kroon Hall

Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South Frequently Asked Questions

Photo: Participants in the 2021 Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate program collaborate on a project during the program's On Campus Week.

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    What is the Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South at the Yale School of the Environment?

    This transformative program is aimed at expanding the corps of outstanding environmental leaders throughout the Global South by reducing the barriers to advanced environmental education and training, supporting them to return to their home regions with the comprehensive training needed for success, and fostering a network of these alumni leaders to advance the climate solutions necessary to safeguard local natural resources, advance their economies, and secure a sustainable future. Funding from the Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South will support the creation of two scholarship programs:

    • Three Cairns Scholars: A scholarship program that will enable YSE to meet 100% of the demonstrated tuition need for qualified students from the Global South admitted as master’s degree students through the Three Cairns Scholars Program. As Three Cairns Scholars, students also will have access to non-tuition resources, such as English-language support prior to arrival on campus, funding to support summer internships in their home countries, mentoring partnerships with YSE alumni, and career development opportunities and counseling that are designed to help ensure their success while at Yale and when they return to their home countries and regions.
    • Three Cairns Fellows: The Three Cairns Fellows program enables YSE to expand access to two of its highly rated online certificate programs for mid-career environmental professionals: Financing and Deploying Clean Energy, run by the Center for Business and Environment at Yale (CBEY), and Tropical Forest Landscapes: Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use, run by the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI). Respectively, these year-long programs develop capacity for leapfrogging transitions to renewable energy and for managing the areas of highest potential for natural carbon sequestration: tropical forests. Their impact on climate solutions is tangible and immediate — with participants reporting that they were often able to use what they learned in the morning sessions in their work that same day. To be considered as a Three Cairns Fellow, please apply directly to the certificate program you are interested in:

    Who is eligible to become a Three Cairns Scholar? How are Three Cairns Scholars selected?

    International students from the Global South who are applying to the Yale School of the Environment master’s degree programs can fill out a supplemental application to the Three Cairns Scholars Program. However, citizenship in a Global South country alone does not guarantee admission to the program.  A variety of factors are considered when evaluating individual applications, including but not limited to academic record and professional experience. The supplemental application is not meant to be onerous or a barrier to entry but will help identify students who are committed to combatting climate change and to returning to their home regions to pursue their environmental work following graduation.

    When will YSE be accepting applications for the Three Cairns Scholars Program and when will tuition support be available?

    International students can apply starting on September 15, 2022, to be admitted as master’s students in the fall of 2023 through the Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South. The program is only open to incoming first-year students who have not previously enrolled at YSE. Current students who take a leave of absence or gap year are not eligible to apply to the Three Cairns Scholars Program. We are unable to make exceptions to this policy.

    Is the Three Cairns Scholars Program a separate academic program?

    No, the Three Cairns Scholars Program provides tuition and non-tuition support to students from the Global South who are admitted to one of YSE’s four master’s degree programs  the MEM, MESc, MF, MFS. It is not a separate academic program within YSE.

    Who is the Three Cairns Group?

    Co-founded by Lise Strickler YC ’82 and Mark Gallogly in 2015, the Three Cairns Group is a mission-driven investment firm focused on accelerating the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

    Why is the Three Cairns Climate Program focused on the Global South?

    In sharing their intention to partner with YSE to establish this program, Three Cairns Group co-founders Lise Strickler YC ’82 and Mark Gallogly said: “The climate crisis is accelerating and requires urgent attention. While this crisis will affect everyone, it will not impact everyone equally. In many instances, the people who are least responsible for the climate crisis are experiencing its worst effects. Our intention with this gift is to support climate leaders from the Global South to access the education and training necessary to combat the effects of climate change and implement solutions in their home countries. We have no doubt that their expertise and leadership will also reverberate far beyond the Global South and benefit the global climate community as a whole. The Yale School of the Environment is an ideal partner for The Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South. Under the outstanding leadership of Indy Burke, we are confident that this program will benefit climate leaders from the Global South in the immediate future and for years to come.”

    How will the Three Cairns Program benefit the Yale School of the Environment as a whole?

    With the Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South, we have a unique opportunity to have a transformative impact on the next generation of climate leaders in the Global South, and consequently on how we address climate change globally. However, the impact on YSE will be equally transformative. Three Cairns Scholars and Fellows will bring knowledge, perspectives, and lived experiences from their home countries that will benefit all YSE students and benefit the School as an educational and research institution. As the Three Cairns Program grows building and strengthening YSE networks in new countries opportunities for international field work, internships, and career mentoring throughout YSE also will increase. In addition, both academic and non-academic initiatives that are developed or expanded as part of the Three Cairns Scholars Program will benefit all YSE students. For example, new courses that are introduced as part of the program, often with a new international focus, will offer all students new opportunities to pursue additional areas of interest and expand their scholarship. The benefits to YSE as a whole will continue to unfold and increase as The Three Cairns Program itself continues to develop further.

    How will the success of the Three Cairns Program be measured? 

    Goals for the program include both increasing the number of YSE master’s students from the Global South in the immediate term and building the alumni network of Global South climate leaders over time; connecting the Three Cairns Scholars (master’s students) with the Three Cairns Fellows (mid-career professionals in the certificate programs) in a strong alumni network that engages in mentorship, mutual support, continued skills development, and career advancement; and tracking the impact of the Three Cairns Scholars and Fellows as they lead in their home countries or regions.

    Are there any plans to increase support to under-resourced domestic students?

    Dean Indy Burke has set closing the gap between demonstrated need and the financial aid YSE is able to provide to all qualified students as one of her highest priorities. Today, more than 85% of YSE students receive some amount of financial aid, and she and the entire School are committed to making a YSE education accessible to more under-resourced students. Inspired by the tremendous promise of the Three Cairns Program, she has said she hopes the program can serve as a model for establishing partnerships that would support under-resourced domestic students who plan to engage in climate and other environmental work throughout the U.S.