The Obama Foundation Scholars Program

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.

The program will build lasting relationships among emerging leaders who are committed to working together to solve the most pressing challenges of our time, creating a global network that reaches across issues and borders. After completing the program, Obama Foundation Scholars will return to their communities and continue the important work they started in the program by implementing their own personalized action plan. They will also have an opportunity to play a role in the Obama Foundation’s efforts to inspire, train, and connect rising leaders from around the globe.

Obama Foundation Scholars at the University of Chicago will earn a Master of Arts degree focused on International Development and Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. 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.

Qualifications

We’re seeking emerging leaders from around the world who meet the following criteria:

  • Significant work experience (typically 3-5 years or more) 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 global challenge or policy issue.
  • A clear commitment to return to and reinvest your new skills in your community after the program concludes.

If that sounds like you, then you have the opportunity to participate in the Obama Foundation Scholars Program. You’ll earn a Master of Arts in International Development and Policy (MA-IDP) at Harris Public Policy and receive a full scholarship that includes access to exceptional programming outside of the classroom.

Application Process

Applicants will submit a single application for the Harris MA-IDP and the Obama Foundation Scholarship.

Timeline

  • Applications are due Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
  • Notifications of admission and scholarship decisions to be released on Thursday, May 31, 2018.
  • Candidates have until Sunday, July 1, 2018 to confirm this acceptance.
  • Leadership Development Week (for scholarship recipients) begins late summer. (Date TBD)
  • Harris Welcome Week begins Monday, September 27, 2018.
  • Classes begin Monday, October 1, 2018.
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