The Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2020-2021

Deadline: 13 December, 2019
Open to: emerging leaders who have made meaningful contributions to their field
Benefits:  fully funded


Applications for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program are now open! You can apply for the Columbia University Scholars Program.

The Program seeks to support dynamic, collaborative, rising leaders from around the world in an innovative one-year academic experience.

The Obama Foundation Scholars Program will give rising young leaders around the world who are already making a difference in their communities the opportunity to take their work to the next level through a newly designed curriculum that brings together academic, skills-based, and hands-on learning. The Scholars Program empowers individuals with a proven commitment to service with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective, to identify innovative solutions to complex global problems, and promote change through values-based leadership.

The program will build lasting relationships among emerging leaders who are committed to working together to solve the most pressing challenges of our time, creating a global network that reaches across issues and borders. After completing the program, Obama Foundation Scholars will return to their communities and continue the important work they started in the program by implementing their own personalized action plan. They will also have an opportunity to play a role in the Obama Foundation’s efforts to inspire, train, and connect rising leaders from around the globe.


The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University seeks rising leaders from around the world who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a proven commitment to service and leadership within a community, region or country outside the United States, coupled with a demonstrated commitment to return to these communities following their completion of the program and apply their enhanced training, skills and connections on a long-term basis for the benefit of these communities;
  • Are emerging leaders who have made meaningful contributions to their field and are now at a “tipping point” in their careers;
  • Are fluent in English (verbal, written and spoken);
  • Have the ability and inclination to positively shape the future of their community;
  • Have a demonstrated commitment to humility, integrity, inclusivity, stewardship, fearlessness, imagination and teamwork.


  • Monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in New York City;
  • A furnished studio apartment within walking distance of Columbia University;
  • All tuition and fees for up to four courses at Columbia University;
  • Basic medical, dental and life insurance for the duration of the program;
  • Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities;
  • Leadership development programming led by the Obama Foundation that will help scholars gain the real-world skills, tools and experiences to expand the impact of their work when they return home.

How to apply?

In order to apply, please click here.

For more information, and to apply please visit this website.