The Scholars program at Columbia University 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, thereby creating a global network that reaches across issues and borders. After completing the program, Obama Foundation Scholars will return to work on their global issue of focus and implement their personalized action plan to accelerate positive change within their community. Furthermore, have an opportunity to play a role in the Obama Foundation’s efforts to inspire, empower, and connect rising leaders from around the globe.
The Obama Foundation offers a robust curriculum of leadership development, training, networking activities, and customized support throughout the academic year to help the Obama Scholars gain the real-world skills, tools, and experiences they need to expand the impact of their work when they return home. These experiences allow Scholars to gain insights from high-level leaders across sectors and from the wealth of knowledge across the network of Obama Foundation program participants while planning the way they’d like to reinvest their new skills, networks, and knowledge after they graduate from the program.
Foundation-led activities include both cohorts of Scholars, based at Columbia, with the aim of creating a broader global community of practice for shared learning to both inform Scholars’ approaches to their own work and accelerate that work as they return to their communities after graduation. Each cohort’s experience is tailored to tap into the rich research ecosystems of these two world-class institutions and the cities where they are based, providing unique and immersive learning opportunities for Scholars in New York City.
- 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 in New York City.
- Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities.
The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University seeks rising leaders from the United States and around the world who meet the following criteria:
- Are emerging leaders who have made meaningful contributions to their field and are now at a “breakthrough moment” in their careers
- Have a proven commitment to service and leadership within a community, region, or country 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 fluent in verbal, written, and spoken English
- Have the ability and inclination to positively shape the future of their community
- Have a demonstrated commitment to inclusivity, community-orientation, hope, courage, imagination, strategy, accountability, integrity and resilience
Eligible Regions: The Obama Foundation Scholars Program is designed for individuals with a history of and future commitment to living in and making significant contributions to communities, regions, and countries around the world.