2019 Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University

Deadline: February 3, 2019.

The cohort of Scholars based at Columbia University will receive documentation from Columbia and the Obama Foundation in recognition of their successful completion of the program. At Columbia University, the Obama Foundation Scholars will participate in a core course developed by Columbia faculty, which will run for the academic year. Scholars will also have the ability to select a few courses offered by Columbia University, which will allow them to deepen existing areas of expertise or fill in gaps in their knowledge and skills. Additionally, these Scholars will have the opportunity to collaborate on the global issues and solutions being worked on and developed at Columbia World Projects and collaborate with cross sector experts on those initiatives.



The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University seeks rising leaders from around the world 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
  • 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, written and spoken)
  • 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




  • Monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in New York City
  • 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



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

1. Complete online application form

2. Résumé/curriculum vitae

3. Personal video statement

4. Responses to short essay questions

5. Proof of English proficiency

6. Two letters of recommendation (a maximum of three letters may be submitted)




Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University

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