Obama Foundation Scholars Program

Obama Foundation Scholars Program for Emerging Leaders to Study at University of Chicago 2018/2019

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

Application Deadline: 10th April 2018

Eligible Countries: All

To Be Taken At (Country): University of Chicago, USA

About the Award: The Obama Foundation Scholars Program is a new program from the Obama Foundation and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy for rising leaders from around the world who are focused on an issue of global importance, have a track record and commitment to advancing the public good, and want to accelerate their impact. The Obama Foundation Scholars Program seeks a diverse cohort for our first class who represent a cross section of backgrounds including those working in government, the private sector, and NGOs and civil society organizations.

 The Obama Foundation Scholars Program will give rising young leaders around the world who are already making a difference in their communities the opportunity to take their work to the next level through a newly designed curriculum that brings together academic, skills-based, and hands-on learning. The Scholars Program empowers individuals with 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 promote change through values-based leadership.

Field of Study: Master of Arts in International Development and Policy

Type: Masters, Training

Eligibility: Rising leaders from around the world who meet the below criteria are encouraged to apply:

Significant work experience and professional accomplishments with a clear trajectory of increasing impact.

  • Demonstrated record of community service or working for the public good, either through a full-time professional role or significant engagement outside of primary employment.
  • Possess a clear focus on a globally applicable challenge.
  • A clear commitment to return to and reinvest your new skills in your community after the program concludes.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award:  

  • Obama Foundation Scholars at the University of Chicago will receive a fully-funded scholarship to study a Master of Arts degree focused on International Development and Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
  • Any travel costs for these experiences will also be fully covered.
  • In addition to classroom studies, the Obama Foundation will offer a robust program of leadership development and service activities throughout the academic year to help Scholars gain the real-world skills, tools, and experiences to expand the impact of their work when they return home.  These may include leadership development convenings; program experiences in New York and Washington, DC; speaker series with innovators across a variety of sectors; individual and group service projects; mentorship through the Obama Foundation network; potential internship placements; and action plan development for post-program activities.
  • Some of these Foundation activities will include experiences throughout Chicago and the South Side. By engaging with the local community, students will have the opportunity to complement what they learn in the classroom and also to bring their unique perspectives to Chicago.

Duration of Program: 1 year


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

Visit the Program Webpage for Details

Award Providers: Obama Foundation

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