Obama Foundation Scholars FAQ

Q: Who can apply for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program?

A: The Obama Foundation Scholars Program seeks a diverse cohort who represent a cross section of backgrounds including those working in government, the private sector, and NGOs and civil society organizations. Please check back for more information on the application for the 2021-2022 Columbia University Scholars program.

The Columbia University Obama Foundation Scholars Program seeks rising leaders from around the 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 going forward.
  • 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 and written).
  • 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.

You can find more information on Columbia University Obama Foundation Scholars requirements and application timelines HERE.

Q: How does the Obama Foundation Scholars Program differ from the Obama Foundation Fellowship Program?

A: These programs are both part of the Obama Foundation’s goal of inspiring and empowering emerging leaders from around the world, but offer different paths for participants so they can tailor their Foundation experience to their unique situation.

The Obama Foundation Scholars is a one-year, full time program and participants will live in New York for the duration of the academic year. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing safety precautions around international travel, the program will commence virtually during the 2020-21 fall semester.

The Obama Foundation Fellowship is a two-year, non-residential program that offers hands-on training, resources, and leadership to community-minded rising stars from around the world. Over the course of their program, Fellows participate in four multi-day gatherings and digital programming which empowers them to tackle the problems they face in their communities in different and innovative ways.

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