Mr. René Frank, winner of the 2002 UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award, passed away in New York this week after a brief illness. He was 86.
Mr. Frank, a champion of home ownership for people around the world, especially the poorest of the poor. From 1952, he spent a lifetime actively engaged in various aspects of the real estate profession rising to be the Honorary Deputy President of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) as well as the chairman of Global Housing Foundation, an initiative formed in partnership with UN-HABITAT.
Apart from being a partner of Jean-Marc Levet & Partners, he was an accomplished author whose work was widely acknowledged in newspapers around the world. He also acted as a real estate consultant to the U.S. State Department earning his views a permanent place in the U.S. Congressional Record.
Also, he taught the first International Real Estate course at New York University in 1974. Born in Manheim, Germany in 1920, he moved with his family to France where they lived from 1933 to 1947. In World War II, he served as an active member of French resistance against the Nazis, undertaking many perilous missions. He moved to the United States in 1947 and lived there for the rest of his life.
“His passing is a great loss to the cause of human settlements and inclusive cities,” said UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. “He will be remembered as someone deeply committed to expanding the contribution of the private sector in the improvement of housing conditions worldwide. Our prayers are with his family.”