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Obama Foundation Scholarships 2023 

The Obama Foundation Scholarships provide support for individuals committed to creating positive social change by offering financial assistance, mentorship, and resources for academic and leadership development.

Applications are invited for the Obama Foundation Scholarships 2023. The Last date to Apply for the Obama Foundation Scholarships is December 12, 2023. Students will not be charged an application fee. During the 2024–2025 academic year, the Obama Foundation Scholars Program operated entirely online, with scholars taking part virtually from their home countries.

The Obama Foundation Scholarships Program will help rising leaders from the US and around the world who are already changing their communities to advance their practice with an exciting curriculum that combines academic, practical, and skills-based learning. Through the Scholars Program, people who have demonstrated a dedication to excellence are equipped with the skills necessary to make better use of their time, find novel solutions to challenging global issues, and motivate change through values-based leadership.

Young leaders who are dedicated to working together to solve today’s urgent problems will establish enduring connections through their education, building a global network that cuts across subjects and geographic boundaries. The Obama Foundation Scholarship will resume work on its global interest puzzle once the project is finished and offer a personalized action plan to expedite social improvement within its culture.

Obama Foundation Scholarships Details

Scholarship Country: United States (USA)
Host Institute: Columbia University
Course Level: BS, Master’s and PhD Degrees
Financial Coverage: Fully Funded
Who is eligible? International Students
Deadline Date: December 12, 2023

Research & Engagement

The Columbia World Projects (CWP) research and engagement team convenes scholars and practitioners to confront challenges that no single discipline or approach could successfully address. Our work is both global and local, with particular emphasis on Harlem, home of Columbia’s Manhattanville campus and CWP. 

The research and engagement team is currently working on topic areas of enormous global consequence: democratic renewal; inclusive urbanism; and implementation and scaling. Within these topic areas, the team assembles working groups and initiatives (clusters of several working groups focused on a single theme within the broader topic area).

Center for Political Economy

The Columbia Center for Political Economy identifies and advances the most promising contemporary developments within economics and promotes a new political economy with a robust institutional, cross-disciplinary orientation. With the creation of this center, Columbia University will be joining a critically important national and global effort to address the nature of the political economy and how it determines matters such as the distribution of wealth and the relationship between the public and private spheres of our lives,” said Columbia President Emeritus Lee C. Bollinger.

Idea Labs

The Idea Labs function as convening hubs for Columbia faculty and students to advance new thinking, affect graduate training, and incubate ideas. Concerned with developing new intellectual frameworks in economics and related fields that take seriously power, equity, and uncertainty, the Labs create opportunities for faculty and students to engage with practitioners and policymakers, and support, identify, and advance the most promising recent developments in academic thinking. The Labs have an intentional cross-disciplinary focus and bring together economics, history, law, political science, sociology, public health, engineering, data science, and other fields. As multi-year projects, each Idea Lab will do the following:

  • Host a Postdoctoral Research Scholar;
  • Provide Faculty Grants and, starting in the Center’s second year, Graduate Student Grants on related topics;
  • Host and co-host relevant conferences, seminars, workshops, and other public and semi-public events; and
  • Generate scholarly publications and public-facing reports.


These are one-year positions (one additional year may be possible) with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2024. Funding for the Postdoctoral Research Scholar will cover salary for up to one academic year. The scholar will commit to jointly organizing seminars and conferences, public events, and additional programmatic support and outreach.


  • November 10, 2023: New Thinking in Industrial, Innovation & Technology Policy: Perspectives from Developed & Developing Countries. This conference, hosted in partnership with the Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP), and the Tech & Innovation Initiative at the School of International and Public Affairs, will convene leading researchers from economics, sociology, engineering, and other fields to take stock of what is known and what needs to be learned about the optimal design of interventions, the challenges in evaluating interventions empirically, and the difficulties that practitioners face on the ground.
  • May 2-3, 2024: The Non-Market Effects of Market Power. To submit a paper, please complete this form by January 10, 2024.

Cohort Profile 

Since 2018, the Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University has welcomed:

  • 70 rising leaders from 54 countries who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges in their communities, countries, and regions
  • Scholars who were, on average, 33 years of age, with ages ranging from 26 to 45
  • Emerging institutional and movement leaders address a range of challenges, including strengthening governance, increasing access to high-quality healthcare, environmental sustainability, promoting women’s rights, and ending gender-based violence.

English Proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting scores from one of four exams: The internet-based or paper-based exams of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic); or the Duolingo English Test (DET). No other exams will be accepted.

This requirement is waived for applicants who:

  • have completed an undergraduate degree – not a master’s or graduate degree – in a country where English is an official language.

Minimum Scores

  • TOEFL – Internet-Based Exam: 100
  • TOEFL – Paper-Based Exam: 600
  • International English Language Testing System Academic: 7
  • Pearson Test of English Academic: 68
  • Duolingo English Test: 120 (75 on the exam taken prior to July 2019)

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

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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.

Early Career Faculty

What will it take to solve the urgent challenges of our time? How can universities enable their rich academic assets to identify solutions to complex issues, such as climate change, income inequality, democratic renewal, and preparedness for pandemics? How can universities leverage academic expertise to support the design, implementation, and evaluation of solutions to major challenges?

The Early Career Faculty Impact Fellowship: Advancing Research and Scholarship to Action is a part-time, year-long program from Columbia World Projects (CWP) for early career faculty at Columbia University. The Fellowship will support faculty in deepening their expertise in interdisciplinary, applied research for social impact.

Impact Awards

Columbia World Projects launched the CWP Impact Awards in 2022. This social impact awards program aligns with Columbia University’s Fourth Purpose of advancing human welfare and confronting the great challenges of our time. This program aims to support social impact ideas across the University designed to catalyze investment in the most promising solutions to pressing societal challenges, with potential to scale and accelerate impact. 

CWP Impact Awards emphasize 

  • Translation of evidence into innovative, practical solutions with sustainable impact
  • Interdisciplinarity and collaboration with change agents across and beyond the University
  • Substantive community and student engagement in Fourth Purpose activities
  • Partnerships and innovations that advance gender equity and racial justice
  • Collaboration that aims to solve some of the most pressing global challenges in education, health, and economic opportunity globally.

Required Documents

  • Full application process online
  • Resume/curriculum vitae: A chronological listing of work and educational backgrounds, scholarly endeavors, and other important events should be in the resume/curriculum vitae. Learn, How to Write a Powerful CV for a Scholarship
  • Personal video statement: A three-minute video that briefly introduces the candidate and their position to the selection committee should be included in the personal video statement.
  • The web application will include a link to the video statements that applicants submit to a video-sharing website like Vimeo or YouTube. The online application contains more information on the requirements for the personal video statement. Answers to quick essay queries The brief essay questions provide the selection committee with an opportunity to think about the candidate’s work sources of inspiration and how the program fits into their intended career path. Applicants can upload essay questions in the online application.

Application Deadline

The Last date to Apply for the Obama Foundation Scholarships is December 12, 2023.

How To Apply?

The best place to start if you want more information about Obama Foundation scholarships is the official website. Additionally, you can learn more about the university’s research, staff, faculty, and community involvement initiatives. Academic calendars, student handbooks, and course catalogs might also be accessible to users via the website. Click here to view the webpage.

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