The Barack Obama Foundation’s Leaders programs aim to inspire, empower and connect regional cohorts of changemakers to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities and throughout their region.
Launched in 2018, the Obama Foundation Leaders program is a six-month, virtual leadership development journey that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities, in their regions, and across the world. The Foundation operates Leaders programs in three regions internationally: Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.
To date, the program has built a network of more than 700 leaders, hailing from more than 100 nations and territories around the world. These leaders work across various sectors and issue areas and are brought together by a commitment to values-based leadership rooted in the legacy of President and Mrs. Obama.
The program will bring together 35 emerging leaders from across each region. Participants (known as “Obama Leaders” or “Leaders”) will take part in weekly sessions that include:
Each regional program will meet virtually over Zoom an average of four times per month, engaging with trainers, subject matter experts, and their peers to deepen their leadership practice. Each session will last approximately two hours. Additionally, each regional program will aim to host an in-person convening—public health, safety, and security conditions permitting—as a forum for deeper community-building, learning, and celebration.
Upon completion of the program, Obama Leaders will become part of the Obama Foundation’s global leadership network—a growing community of changemakers who are advancing tangible solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.
Please be sure that you meet ALL of the following eligibility criteria:
Based in Region: You currently reside in one of the following eligible nations or territories in the region in which you are applying:
Please note that residents of South Asian countries are not eligible for this particular program. The Obama Foundation expects to offer leadership programs for South Asian countries in the future.
Citizenship/Residency: You must meet one of the criteria below for the region in which you are applying:
Geographic Focus: Your current and future work is geographically focused on creating positive change for your local community, an eligible nation or territory, and/or the broader region in which you are applying.
Leadership Experience: You can demonstrate at least three years of relevant experience in your issue area.
Age: You will be between 24 and 45 years old on July 15, 2023.
Language Proficiency: You are professionally proficient in English (spoken and written).
Political Campaigns: You will not be engaging in an electoral campaign for political office between February 1 and July 15, 2023.
Program Commitment: You can commit to fully participating in the entire duration of the program between February 1 and July 15, 2023, which will include a three day in-person convening (public health, safety, and security conditions permitting) in late June or early July, and up to 12 hours of live virtual programming per month. Participants should have no more than three absences in order to attend the convening and complete the program.
As described above, we aim to assemble a Leaders cohort from a pool of candidates with a range of backgrounds, identities, and experience levels. We take all of these into consideration when deciding upon who is invited to become a Leader.
Our ideal candidates have these characteristics:
We have learned over the years that while many candidates may possess most or all of these attributes, because of capacity limitations, we can’t enroll everyone who applies to this highly competitive program. Therefore, we try to curate a deliberate mix of participants whose perspectives and experiences will complement each other.
To submit an application, create an account and login. At the end of the application, be sure to click on EACH submit button on successive screens!
A PDF of the application guidelines and questions is available to download at the bottom of this page.
The deadline for 2023 Leaders applications is Friday, 21 October 2022 at 12:00 PM US Eastern Time (GMT-5).
We look forward to learning more about you and your work!
For more information, visit https://www.obama.org/leaders/