Apply for the 2023 Obama Foundation ScholarsHIP Program for Emerging Leaders

       2023 Obama Foundation Emerging Leaders Scholars Program   The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University will be participating in Columbia World Projects, a new initiative in which faculty and researchers from Columbia University will partner with governments, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to develop concrete solutions to real-world problems.



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The program will also make use of the one-of-a-kind chances for involvement that are made available as a result of the program’s location in New York City, which is home to one of the most significant research centers in the whole world.

2023 Obama Foundation Emerging Leaders Scholars Program



  • Host: Obama Foundation
  • Category: Training | Fellowships
  • Eligible Countries: All Countries
  • Reward: Full Sponsorship
  • Deadline: October  21, 2022


Foundation for Obama Scholars live at Columbia World Projects, a new program that aims to bring university research out into the world in the form of projects that will have a big and long-lasting positive effect on people’s lives and help lead the way to solutions to hard-to-solve problems, as well as improve research and scholarship. CWP activities will be done by scholars during the school year.

When the program is over, Obama Foundation Scholars take what they’ve learned and go back to where they’ve been working to continue doing good.

The goal of the program is to help Obama Foundation Scholars use the connections and skills they gain during the program to help their communities, countries, and regions. We hope that Obama Foundation Scholars will stay involved with the foundation even after the program is over.



Check that you satisfy ALL of the qualifying requirements listed below before continuing:

You are currently a resident of one of the following eligible nations or territories in the region to which you are applying, and that nation or territory is listed below:

Africa refers to all of the countries, regions, and states that are located on the African continent.
Asia-Pacific: American Samoa, Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawai’i, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, North (DPRK); Korea, South (ROK); Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, Macao, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau

Please take into consideration that citizens of the countries in South Asia cannot participate in this particular program. In the not-too-distant future, the Obama Foundation intends to make its leadership development programs available to the nations of South Asia.


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Citizenship/ResidencyYou must meet one of the criteria below for the region in which you are applying:

  • 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 FocusYour 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 in which you are applying.

Leadership Experience: You can demonstrate at least three years of relevant experience in your issue area.

AgeYou will be between 24 and 45 years old on July 15, 2023.

Language ProficiencyYou 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.

Program CommitmentYou can commit to fully participating in the entire duration of the program between February 1 and July 15, 2023, which will include a three day in-person convening (public health, safety, and security conditions permitting) in late June or early July, 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.




Duration and Reward


  • 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
  • Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities
  • Leadership development programming led by the Obama Foundation that will help scholars gain the real-world skills, tools and experiences to expand the impact of their work when they return home




As described above, we aim to assemble a Leaders cohort from a pool of candidates with a range of backgrounds, identities, and experience levels.  We take all of these into consideration when deciding upon who is invited to become a Leader.

Our ideal candidates have these characteristics:

  • Possesses a clear issue of focus and can describe or measure their impact so far
  • Holds a leadership position in their change making work, whether full-time or volunteer
  • Demonstrates a deeply ethical, values-based, equitable, and collaborative approach to leadership
  • Demonstrates a willingness to learn from and share with other leaders in a group setting

We have learned over the years that while many candidates may possess most or all of these attributes, because of capacity limitations, we can’t enroll everyone who applies to this highly competitive program. Therefore, we try to curate a deliberate mix of participants whose perspectives and experiences will complement each other.


Method of Application


Use the link provided below to apply

After reading the criteria below, create an account and login. At the end of the application, be sure to click on EACH submit button on successive screens!

A PDF of the application guidelines and questions is available to download at the bottom of this page


Deadline: October  21, 2022

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