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.
We’re looking for people from around the world who are already making a difference – in civil society, in government, in the private sector, or as entrepreneurs. We want people who are ready to take the next step forward in expanding their horizons and advancing their work, and who have a commitment to giving back to their community.
- 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.
Applicants will submit a single application for the Harris MA-IDP and the Obama Foundation Scholarship.
- 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.
All applicants must complete the online application and include the following, which are required to apply for the Harris MA-IDP and participation in Obama Foundation Scholars Program:
- You may submit unofficial transcripts through the electronic application process; however, official transcripts will be required upon admission for enrolling students. Please submit transcripts for all prior academic work from any institution of higher education.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for international students. The Harris institution code is 1849 or 1832. Both codes will be accepted. You can make your reservations to take the TOEFL with ETS directly.
- You will also have the option of submitting other scores (e.g., IELTS, GRE, etc.), but the GRE is not required.
- Please include current and prior positions, preferably demonstrating 3–5 or more years of work experience, the nature of your job, and responsibilities. You may upload a current resume reflecting this information along with your education, community service, professional honors, and any other relevant information.
3 Letters of Recommendation
- You should have at least one reference from a previous professor who can speak to your academic background and preparedness for graduate studies.
- Those making a recommendation should submit letters through the electronic application—hard copy letters will be accepted but are not preferred. (Your references will receive an email requesting a recommendation.)
For more information and to apply for this opportunity, visit the official website by following this link