2023 Leaders Frequently Asked Questions
The 2023 Global Leaders Program
Q: What is the 2023 Obama Leaders program?
The 2023 Leaders program is a six-month virtual leadership development journey with programs in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe and the United States. Programs in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe will run between February 1 and July 15, 2023. For an average of 8-12 hours per month, the program will bring together 35-member cohorts of emerging leaders from across the regions. Leaders United States will run between June 1 and November 17, 2023 for an average of 8-12 hours per month. The Leaders United States program will bring together a 100-member cohort from across the United States. Participants (known as “Obama Leaders” or “Leaders”) will take part in weekly sessions that include:
- Practical tools and training for deepening values-based leadership
- Individualized coaching
- Community groups
- Conversations with thought leaders
- Cultural programming that showcases the richness of diversity in the region
- Curated spaces for deep personal reflection and interpersonal learning with peers
Upon completion of the program, Obama Leaders will become part of the Obama Foundation’s leadership network—a growing community of civically active, positive role models who are creating tangible solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.
Q: Which nations and territories are part of the Leaders program?
Leaders can come from a variety of nations and territories, including:
All 55 nations and territories on the continent.
American Samoa; Australia; Brunei; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Federated States of Micronesia; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Hawai’i; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Korea, North (DPRK); Korea, South (ROK); Laos; Macao; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn Islands; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Taiwan; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Vietnam; Wallis and Futuna.
Any of the 46 Council of Europe member states and Kosovo.
All 50 states and United States territories (American Samoa; Guam; Northern Mariana Islands; Puerto Rico; United States Virgin Islands; Minor Outlying Islands; Bajo Nuevo Bank; Baker Island; Howland Island; Jarvis Island; Johnston Atoll; Kingman Reef; Midway Islands; Navassa Island; and Palmyra Atoll).
Q: Who is eligible to apply for the program?
ALL of the following eligibility criteria must be met by applicants in order to be accepted into the Leaders program.
- Citizenship/Residency: You must meet one of the criteria below:
- You are a citizen of an eligible nation or territory OR
- You are a permanent resident of an eligible nation or territory OR
- You are a refugee or asylum seeker in an eligible nation or territory OR
- You have lived in an eligible nation or territory for at least the last 5 years, regardless of documentation status.
- Geographic Focus: Your current and future work is geographically focused on creating positive change for your local community, an eligible nation or territory, and/or the broader region.
- Leadership Experience: You can demonstrate at least three years of relevant experience in your issue area.
- Age: You will be between 24- and 45-years-old on July 15, 2023 (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) or December 1, 2023 (United States).
- Language Proficiency: You are professionally proficient in English (spoken and written).
- Political Campaigns: You will not be engaging in an electoral campaign for political office between February 1 and July 15, 2023 (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) and January 1 and December 1, 2023 (United States).
- Program Commitment: You can commit to fully participating in the entire duration of the program between February 1 and July 15, 2023 (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) or June 1 and November 17, 2023 (United States), which may include an in-person convening (public health, safety, and security conditions permitting) in late June- early July (or November for Leaders United States), and up to 12 hours of live virtual programming per month. Participants should have no more than three absences in order to attend the convening and complete the program.
Q: What type of person is an ideal candidate for this program?
Aside from the specific eligibility criteria listed above, the ideal candidate:
- Has a clear issue of focus and can describe the impact they have made: The ideal candidate has been working to advance positive social change on a specific issue or set of issues for at least the last three years and can demonstrate that their work has had a measurable impact in advancing progress on their issue.
- Holds a leadership position in their changemaking work: The ideal candidate holds a leadership role in a civil society organization, start-up or business, the media, or elected office. This could be someone who is the founder or head of an organization, but it could also be someone who leads positive change from within an organization. Candidates do not have to be engaged in this work full-time.
- Stands out for their integrity and values-driven approach to leadership: Ideal candidates demonstrate a deeply ethical, values-based, and collaborative approach to leadership. They are generous leaders, eager to share opportunities and open doors for others. They bring a strong commitment to equity, to inclusion of communities that have been historically marginalized, and to working together to build a brighter future.
- Demonstrates a willingness to learn: Ideal candidates have a keen sense of how much they can learn from others, regardless of their experience level. They bring genuine curiosity and an open mind and are willing to share their experiences and knowledge with their cohort.
- Demonstrates a desire to connect with other changemakers: Ideal candidates seek to collaborate with others in the larger Obama Foundation leadership network in order to have a larger impact.
Q: What kind of sessions should I expect as part of the program?
The Leaders program is designed to build connection and community within the cohort by enabling Leaders to reflect on their own values and activate shared values. Each regional program will meet virtually over Zoom for an average of four times per month, engaging with trainers, subject matter experts, and their peers to deepen their leadership practice. Each session will last approximately two hours. Sessions will primarily be held at times convenient to the majority of participants in the region as well as Foundation staff.
Additionally, there will be a mandatory participation in one hour of coaching and one hour of community session discussions per month.
There may be occasional optional sessions that highlight special and or timely opportunities. In total, Leaders can expect to dedicate an average of 8–12 hours per month over the course of the virtual program.
Q: What if I need to miss some sessions?
To participate in a Leaders program, we ask that you make every effort to attend all of the Core Program (approximately one session per week, 8-12 hours per month, with several sessions falling on the weekends). We understand that the program requires a significant and extended time commitment, and that both personal and professional circumstances may occasionally prevent you from joining sessions. Participants should not miss more than three sessions over the course of the six-month program.
Q: Will there be additional work required outside of the program sessions?
Occasionally, we may ask you to do some preparatory or follow-up work for a session. However, we understand that many Leaders are working full-time and/or have other personal and professional commitments. We will try to keep additional work to a minimum.
Q: When will we receive the program calendar?
The Leaders programs in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe will run between February 1 and July 15, 2023 and Leaders United States will run between June 1 and November 17, 2023. Candidates selected for the 2023 cohort will receive a detailed program calendar prior to the start of their program.
Q: I have a disability. Will the Foundation make accommodations to ensure that I can fully participate in the program?
We are committed to making this program accessible to Leaders with disabilities. We are able to accommodate certain technical accessibility needs throughout the length of the program. More information will be provided to finalists once invited to become Leaders; in the meantime, please contact us at [email protected] [email protected] (United States) with any questions about accommodations that may help you determine whether or not to apply.
Q: I don’t have a laptop or reliable internet access. Will I be able to fully participate in the program?
You will need access to a computer with a camera and a reliable internet connection to fully participate in the program. We are able to accommodate certain technical accessibility needs throughout the length of the program. More information will be provided to finalists once invited to become Leaders.
Q: Will Leaders be paid a stipend?
Leaders will not be paid a stipend.
Q: Will the Obama Foundation offer grants or other types of financial support for my work?
No. The Obama Foundation does not offer grants or financial support during the program term.
Q: Will we have the opportunity to meet in person?
The 2023 program will be mostly virtual. Our intention is to include an in-person convening (public health, safety, and security conditions permitting) in late June or early July 2023 (or November for Leaders United States convening). Participants should have no more than three absences in order to attend the convening and complete the program.
The Application Process
Q: What is the deadline for submitting my application?
The 2023 Leaders program application will close at 12:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, October 21, 2022. The Leaders United States application will close at 12:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, February 3, 2023. In order to avoid technical glitches or other problems due to issues such as internet access, we strongly advise you to complete the application early. Due to the number of applications we receive, the Obama Foundation cannot be responsible for applications that are not submitted on time, regardless of the reason.
Q: I am having technical issues submitting my application. What can I do?
Please contact the Reviewr Support Center for any technical issues with the application.
Q: What happens if I am unable to complete my application before the deadline?
Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications after 12:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, October 21, 2022 & Friday, February 3 , 2023.
Q: Is there an education requirement for admission?
No, there is no education requirement for admission to the Obama Leaders programs.
Q: Does my social impact work have to be my full time profession to be eligible?
No. Candidates do not have to be doing their social impact work full-time or as their main profession to be eligible. Ideal candidates have a clear issue area of focus and can clearly illustrate the impact of their work.
Q: I have reviewed the application requirements, but I’m still unsure if I’m eligible to apply for the program. What should I do?
We encourage you to begin the application! As you answer the questions honestly and thoughtfully, we hope it will become clear if this program is right for you. If you have questions about a specific eligibility requirement, please email [email protected] (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) or [email protected] (United States). Due to the high volume of applications, you might experience a delay in response, so please contact us well before the deadline.
Q: If I applied in past years and was not selected, can I apply again this year? Can I apply in future years?
Absolutely! We welcome applicants who were not selected in previous years to apply again, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. Previous applications won’t influence this year’s review process.
Q: I am a citizen or permanent resident of an eligible nation or territory, but don’t currently reside in my country of citizenship/residency. Am I eligible to apply for the program?
It depends. You are eligible for the program if you currently reside in any eligible nation or territory. However, applicants who currently reside outside of the larger region (Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, or the United States and US territories) are not eligible to apply.
Q: How are Leaders selected?
The selection process will take place from October to December 2022 (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe). The Leaders United States selection process will take place from January to April 2023. We carefully review every application and do additional research to verify information included. Finalists will be invited for virtual interviews in November 2022 & April 2023 (Leaders United States) with Obama Foundation staff and program alumni.
Q: Will the Obama Foundation contact my references?
The Obama Foundation will reach out to references on a case-by-case basis. We ask that references do not contact the Obama Foundation.
Q: How will I find out if I have been selected for the Leaders program?
All applicants will be notified of their status via email by January 20, 2023 or Thursday, May 5, 2023 if applying for Leaders United States.
The Obama Foundation Leadership Network
Q: What is the Obama Foundation’s alumni network like? How can I stay involved after completing the program?
Once you complete the Leaders program, you will become part of the Obama Foundation’s alumni network, a global community of values-driven leaders. As of Summer 2022, there are over 800 alumni in the Obama Foundation’s network. They include participants from other Obama Foundation programs and regions.
Alumni have access to a range of Obama Foundation support. The alumni experience includes opportunities to meet alumni from other regions and programs, invitations to Foundation events, a regular alumni newsletter, and more.
As we continue to grow and build out alumni offerings, we hope that you will remain engaged with the Foundation and its global network.
Thank you for your interest in the Obama Leaders program! If you have any additional questions, please contact us: [email protected].