2023/2024 Fully Funded Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University

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Application Deadline: January 19, 2023

Columbia World Projects is a major, university-wide initiative that aims to forge a closer and more useful connection between Columbia University’s vast research capabilities and the needs of the world.

In consultation with colleagues within and outside Columbia, we devise projects that we staff and operate with partners in New York City, across the United States, and around the world. These projects span a range of topics and are rooted in university research. Each project has a finite duration and clear, measurable objectives. When our direct involvement in a project ends, the work should continue and have a broad impact beyond the project itself.

We have many activities beyond our projects. We are an active presence on the Columbia campus and in the surrounding community through a wide range of events and convenings that engage faculty, students, and community members in our larger mission to connect the worlds of knowledge and action.

In the same spirit, we 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.

Eligibility Requirements:

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

Scholar Benefits:

  • Monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in New York City
  • 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 in New York City
  • Air travel to and from home country and any program-related activities