Fully-funded: Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2021

Fully-funded: Obama Foundation Scholars Program 2021

In this post, you will find a complete guide on how to apply for the 2021 edition of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program.

Scholarship Information:

The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University gathers young leaders from around the world who have shown a great level of commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities, countries, and regions. In the course of an academic year, the Obama Foundation Scholars will have the opportunity to widen their knowledge and skills and to build new capacities and networks that will showcase the impact they will make in their home countries.

The inaugural cohort is comprised of twelve accomplished leaders, who are participating in an immersive program that brings together academic, skills-based and experiential learning, designed by Columbia University in consultation with the Obama Foundation. Scholars participate in a required course, which will run for the length of the academic year, as well as additional courses offered by Columbia University that are important to their specific field or values-based leadership, or that fill in gaps in their previous studies. The program also takes advantage of the 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.


The Obama foundation scholars program at Columbia University is geared towards getting young leaders from across the world who must have met these criteria:

  • Has proven to be committed in 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 and development of these communities.
  • Are young leaders who have made impacts and contributed immensely to their field and are at the climax in their careers.
  • They are fluent in English.
  • Are able to incline to positively changing the future of their communities.
  • Has shown great humility, integrity, inclusivity, stewardship, fearlessness, creativity and teamwork
  • 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 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:

  • Online application form
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Personal video statement
  • Responses to short essay questions
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Three letters of recommendation.
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