The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University brings together rising leaders from around the world who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities, countries, and regions. Over the course of an academic year, the Obama Foundation Scholars will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills, and to build new capacities and networks that will accelerate their impact in their home countries.
The inaugural cohort is comprised of twelve Obama Foundation Scholars, who will participate in an immersive program that brings together academic, skills-based, and experiential learning, designed by Columbia University in consultation with the Obama Foundation. Scholars will participate in a required course, which will run for the length of the academic year, as well as be able to select a few 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 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 with being in the City of New York.
In addition, Scholars will also participate in one-of-a-kind experiences led by the Obama Foundation, including robust networking, mentorship, service activities, and values-based leadership development, offering them a chance to learn from some of the world’s most innovative leaders and to build connections with the Obama Foundation and with Obama Foundation Scholars at the University of Chicago.
“We are proud to be a partner with the Obama Foundation in launching the Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia to advance our shared mission of developing leaders who are not only dedicated to making a difference, but also have the intellectual and practical skills to turn their ideas into action.”
Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia 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 such as broadening global access to energy while meeting global climate goals and harnessing new technologies to reduce inequality.
Upon completion of the program, Obama Foundation Scholars are expected to return to the regions where they have been working and to continue along a path of service, either through their full-time job or volunteer opportunities. 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.
The Obama Foundation Scholars program empowers individuals who have a proven commitment to service with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective, to identify innovative solutions to complex global problems, and to promote change through value-based leadership. The program will build lasting relationship among emerging leaders, creating a global network that reaches across issues and borders, and is committed to working together to solve the most pressing challenges of our time.