Columbia Welcomes Obama Scholars

Photos of the Obama Scholars
The inaugural Obama Foundation Scholars. Photo courtesy of the Obama Foundation.

Twelve young civic leaders from as many countries are coming to Columbia this fall to participate in the Obama Foundation Scholars program, a new collaboration between the University and the nonprofit foundation created by former president Barack Obama ’83CC. Participants in the yearlong residency will receive rigorous academic instruction and experiential training related to the policy, development, and social-advocacy work they do in their home countries. The program is part of the Columbia World Projects initiative, which was established last year to support academic endeavors that address pressing global problems.

Among the inaugural Obama Foundation Scholars are the founder of a Vietnamese nonprofit that mobilizes young people to promote environmental preservation; the head of a Singaporean organization that provides reusable menstrual products to women in poor communities; and the cofounder of a Nigerian company that simplifies public-finance documents to make government more transparent.

“We are proud to be a partner with the Obama Foundation in launching the Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia to advance our shared mission of developing leaders who are not only dedicated to making a difference but also have the intellectual and practical skills to turn their ideas into action,” says President Lee C. Bollinger.