2022 Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University

Deadline: December 22, 2021.

Application for Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2022/2023 cohort is open at Columbia University in the city of New York.

In the same spirit, Columbia University operate the Obama Foundation Scholars Program to use university resources to help make an annual cohort of rising activists more effective in their work. And we are researchers ourselves, on broad topics like cities and democratic institutions, rigorously studying how research can translate into successful practice.

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. A cornerstone of the program is a weekly seminar, which runs for the length of the academic year. Scholars will also have an opportunity to select and enroll in additional courses offered by Columbia University that are relevant to their specific field or values-based leadership, or that fill in gaps in their previous studies. 


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


The Obama Foundation Scholars program covers the following costs:

  • Monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in New York City
  • A furnished studio apartment within walking distance of Columbia University, if the program is able to convene in person
  • All tuition and fees for up to four courses at Columbia University
  • Basic medical, dental, and life insurance for the duration of the program in New York City, if the program is able to convene in person
  • Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities, if the program is able to convene in person


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

  1. ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: Complete the online application form by December 22 at 5PM ET.
  2. Resume/curriculum vitae
  3. Personal video statement
  4. Responses to short essay questions
  5. Proof of English proficiency
  6. Two letters of recommendation


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