Applications now open for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2024-2025

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The Obama Foundation & Columbia University invite scholars from across the world to apply for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2024-2025.

📅 Deadline: December 12, 2023

Are you an emerging leader passionate about creating positive change in your community and beyond? This fully-funded 9-month residency program at Columbia University will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate your influence.

The fellowship is a full-time, residential program at Columbia and cannot be undertaken at the same time as a degree program.


The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University brings together rising leaders from the United States and around the world who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities and countries. 

Scholars complete a fully-funded 9-month residency on campus at Columbia World Projects, deepening their knowledge and skills, and building new capacities and networks to accelerate their impact.

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.


Obama Foundation Scholars reside at Columbia World Projects (CWP), an initiative that mobilizes the university’s researchers and scholars to work with governments, organizations, businesses and communities to tackle global challenges. 

During the fellowship, you can expect to:

📚 Engage in a Weekly Seminar, exploring global trends/challenges
💼 Hone your leadership skills with Personal and Professional Development Workshops
🌱 Get hands-on experience with Experiential Learning at Columbia World Projects

📖 Dive into Audited Coursework, tailored to your interests
🗣️ Be inspired by the Thought Leadership Speaker Series
🧠 Benefit from guidance by a Columbia faculty adviser
🤝 Connect with the vibrant Columbia University community


Upon completion of the program, Obama Foundation Scholars, empowered by their experience, return to the regions where they have been working and continue along a path of service.

The purpose of the program is to help Obama Foundation Scholars take the connections and skills they acquire during the program and apply them for the benefit of their communities, countries, and regions. 

Obama Foundation Scholars are expected to remain engaged with the Obama Foundation and Columbia World Projects after the conclusion of the program. In summary, the benefits are:

💰 Monthly stipend for living expenses in NYC
🏢 Furnished apartment near Columbia University
📚 Full tuition for up to four courses
🩺 Health insurance in NYC
✈️ Travel to/from home & program events


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

Please note: Priority will be given to applicants who have not matriculated at Columbia University. 


The Obama Foundation Scholars Program is accepting applications for the 2024-2025 program until December 12, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.

A complete application, submitted entirely online, includes the following materials:

Complete online application form

Complete the online application form by 5 p.m. ET on December 12, 2023.

Resume/curriculum vitae

The resume/curriculum vitae should be a chronological listing of your employment and academic history, and other significant activities, including any awards, publications, or other achievements․

For more information, see the program’s About page.


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