Leaders: Asia-Pacific 2019 FAQ

Q: What is the deadline for submitting my application?
The 2019 application closed at 6:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, August 25, 2019.

Q: What are the application requirements?
The Foundation is committed to recruiting a diverse cohort of Leaders, and encourages all individuals to apply regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or disability status.

You must meet all of the following criteria to be accepted into the Leaders: Asia-Pacific program:

1. You must be a citizen of one of the qualifying countries/territories OR a permanent resident of Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

The qualifying countries/territories are: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong (PRC), Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, Macao (PRC), New Zealand, Niue, North Korea (DPRK), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea (ROK), Taiwan, Thailand, The Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna.

Please note that citizens and residents of South Asian countries are not eligible for this particular program. The Obama Foundation expects to offer leadership programs for South Asian countries in the future.

2. You must currently reside in one of the qualifying countries/territories, listed above. (It is okay to reside in a country or territory other than the Asia-Pacific country/territory of your nationality as long as it is a qualifying country/territory.)

3. You must be between 24-40 years old on August 25, 2019, which is the closing date of the application.

4. You must be fluent in speaking, reading, and writing English.

Q: Having reviewed the application requirements, I am unsure if I’m eligible to apply for the program. What should I do?
To see if you would be a good fit for this program in the future, you can take the eligibility questionnaire below.

Q: What happens if I am unable to complete my application before the deadline?
We cannot accept applications after 6:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, August 25, 2019. No exceptions will be made.

Q: I am from one of the qualifying countries/territories, but I don’t currently reside in my country of citizenship. Am I eligible to apply for the program in the future?
Yes, as long as you currently reside in another qualifying country and/or territory. Citizens of Asia-Pacific countries who reside outside of qualifying countries/territories are not eligible to apply for this program.

Q: When will I find out if I have been selected for the Leaders program?
All applicants will be notified of their status via email no later than November 1, 2019.


Q: What is expected of program participants?

  • Leaders are required to participate in an in-person convening from December 10-14, 2019, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Depending on flight availabilities, some Leaders will have to travel from the 8th, and return home as late as the 16th;
  • Leaders are required to take part in intense online and virtual programming activities throughout the program year, for approximately eight hours per month. This includes interactive webinars, accountability group meetings, peer review of action plans, and discussions around the values-based leadership and challenges facing ethical leaders;
  • Leaders are committed to ongoing learning and peer mentoring through in-person gatherings;
  • As active stewards of the program, Leaders are expected to collaborate with the Foundation to evaluate and refine the program for future cohorts.

Q: What will happen at the convening?
From December 10-14, 2019, the Leaders will participate in an intensive convening that includes plenary sessions, problem-solving workshops, leadership sessions, skillbuilding trainings, and opportunities to hear from and work with experts from the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

Q: Will Leaders be paid a stipend?
Leaders will not be paid a stipend.

Q: Will the Foundation accommodate applicants and Leaders with disabilities?
The Obama Foundation does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, parental status, citizenship status, or any other protected status. The Obama Foundation will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure you can travel safely to Malaysia and fully participate in the program.

Q: Will the Obama Foundation contact my references?
The Foundation will reach out to references on a case-by-case basis. We ask that references do not contact the Obama Foundation.

Q: Will I need to cover the costs of travel for the covening in Kuala Lumpur, if I am selected?
The Foundation covers economy class airfare, ground transportation in Malaysia, and shared dormitory accommodations during the dates of the in-person convening. Leaders are responsible for covering any costs related to acquiring a passport and obtaining a Malaysian visa.

Q: Will the Obama Foundation offer grants or other types of financial support for my work?
No. The Obama Foundation is not a grantmaking entity.

Q: If selected, can I travel to the Malaysia convening with my family?
All aspects of the convening – including all events, meals, break times, and accommodations – are solely for the selected Leaders. Families, friends, and guests will not be able to join Leaders at any portion of the convening, including meals and break times.

Additionally, accommodations will be economy hotel rooms, and each room will include two twin beds and one bathroom to be shared between two Leaders. Family, friends, and guests will not be able to stay in the accommodations provided.

For more information on our eligibility requirements, please participate in our Eligibility Quiz.