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Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2021-2022 for Emerging Leaders to Study at University of Columbia

The Obama Foundation Scholars Program seeks to support dynamic, collaborative, rising leaders from around the world in an innovative one-year academic experience.

Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University will participate in Columbia World Projects, a new initiative in which faculty and researchers from Columbia will partner with governments, nonprofits, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to create tangible solutions to real-world issues. The program will also take advantage of the unique opportunities for engagement that come with being at one of the world’s most important centers of research and in the city of New York.

Obama Foundation Scholars reside at Columbia World Projects, a new initiative that aims to systematically bring university research out into the world in the form of projects that will have a significant and lasting positive impact on people’s lives and will help guide the way to solutions to intractable problems, while additionally enriching research and scholarship. Scholars will participate in CWP activities during the academic year.

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. It is our expectation that Obama Foundation Scholars will remain engaged with the Obama Foundation after the conclusion of the program.

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About Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program will inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders from across the African continent through a core set of shared values and leadership skills. Together, they will form a network of innovative and ethical changemakers and positive role models who will be well-prepared to create tangible solutions to the biggest challenges in their communities, countries, and continent. From government, to civil society, to the private sector and beyond, we’re looking for changemakers who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the common good within their ... read more


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Obama Foundation Masters Scholarship


Aim and Benefits of Obama Foundation Masters Scholarship

  1. Monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in New York City
  2. A furnished studio apartment within walking distance of Columbia University
  3. All tuition and fees for up to four courses at Columbia University
  4. Basic medical, dental and life insurance for the duration of the program
  5. Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities
  6. 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

Requirements for Obama Foundation Masters Scholarship Qualification

The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University seeks rising leaders from around the world who meet the following criteria:

  1. 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
  2. Are emerging leaders who have made meaningful contributions to their field and are now at a “tipping point” in their careers
  3. Are fluent in English (verbal, written and spoken)
  4. Have the ability and inclination to positively shape the future of their community
  5. Have a demonstrated commitment to humility, integrity, inclusivity, stewardship, fearlessness, imagination and teamwork

Checkout: How To Write A Scholarship Essay - Scholarship Essay Examples

Documents Required for Application

  1. Resume/curriculum vitae
  2. Personal video statement
  3. Responses to short essay questions
  4. Proof of English proficiency


Application Deadline

February 5, 2021


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Obama Foundation on cwp.embark.com to apply

It is important to read through the Obama Foundation Scholars Webpage, the FAQ as well as the Columbia Webpage before applying.

For more details, visit Obama Foundation website



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