Application Deadline: January 19, 2023
The application for the 2023-2024 Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University is now open!
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.
- 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.
Key components of the experience led by the Obama Foundation include:
- An orientation program to welcome the cohort to the Obama Foundation community and a concluding graduation program to celebrate the cohort’s achievements and present their action plans.
- Leadership Development Workshops and Conversations designed to improve Scholars’ ability to tell the story of their work, reflect and refine their leadership approach, and build sustained, personal resilience. Through a variety of virtual session formats, Scholars also hear about the innovative solutions coming from the Obama Foundation program participant alumni community and have conversations with high-level thought leaders across sectors.
- Development and refinement of an action plan that draws on their experiences throughout the program, centered around their initiative of focus and their future vision for their work.
- Connections across the growing alumni community, the Foundation facilitates direct connections between current Obama Scholars and prior cohorts, based on their issues of focus.
- Tailored support including an executive coach and strategic communications and fundraising experts to aid Scholars in their action plan development, and their own progression over their leadership journey.
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 English (verbal, written and spoken)
- 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
Scholars participate in an immersive program that brings together academic, skills-based and experiential learning, designed by Columbia University in consultation with the Obama Foundation.
- 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
Key components of the program at Columbia University include:
- A Weekly Seminar that runs the length of the academic year, exploring questions in tandem with key global trends including inequality, technological developments, the diffusion of power, population movements, and climate change.
- Personal and Professional Development Workshops designed to strengthen practical skills to enhance Scholars’ ability to lead. Previous workshop topics, led by institutes and faculty from across Columbia, include conflict management and resolution, design thinking, public speaking, and data analysis and interpretation.
- An Experiential Learning component that engages Scholars in the work of Columbia World Projects.
- Audited Coursework that provides Scholars with the flexibility to select and enroll in up to two graduate level courses each semester at Columbia.
- A Thought Leadership Speaker Series that introduces Scholars to seasoned practitioners from the NGO community, and philanthropic, governmental, and international organizations to expand Scholars’ networks and perspectives to help advance their work.
- Partnership with a Columbia faculty adviser selected for their subject matter expertise to provide Scholars with new insights and perspectives to inform Scholars’ work.
- Meaningful opportunities for Scholars to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus and gain exposure to different perspectives by engaging with the Columbia University community.
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