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The Obama Foundation Leaders program 2023 – Virtual

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The Obama Foundation Leaders program 2023, October 5 2022







Deadline: Friday, 21 October 2022 at 12:00 PM US Eastern Time (GMT-5)

The 2023 Obama Foundation Leaders programs will take place between
February 1 and July 15, 2023.


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:


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  • Practical tools and training for deepening values-based leadership
  • Individualized or small group coaching
  • Community groups
  • Conversations with thought leaders
  • Cultural programming that showcases the richness of diversity in the region
  • Curated spaces for deep personal reflection and interpersonal learning with peers

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.


We are looking to invite the next cohort of 35 participants per region into Leaders programs. We’re excited that you plan to apply! Before you get started,  please review the guidelines below. Should you have additional questions, you can refer to our FAQ page.

We anticipate that this application will take a minimum of one hour to complete, depending on your pace. Please plan accordingly and leave yourself plenty of time.

Timely Submissions: We strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. The Obama Foundation is not responsible for applications that are not properly submitted by the deadline. All candidates will be informed of their status via email by January 20, 2023.

Selection Process: The 2023 Leaders selection process will take place from October through December 2022. Finalists may be invited for virtual interviews in late November or early December 2022. Those who are not selected for interviews will be notified and will remain eligible for future Obama Foundation opportunities.

Résumé & References: Before you begin, please be sure to have a current English résumé ready to upload. We recommend that your résumé follow these guidelines:

  • No pictures
  • No information about family/marital status
  • Maximum of 2 pages
  • Black font color and a white background

You will also be asked to submit the name and contact information of two personal or professional references. We may reach out to your references if you advance in the selection process. Please do not ask your references to write letters of recommendation or to reach out to the Obama Foundation. We neither require nor accept letters of recommendation.

Technical Requirements and Accessibility: The 2023 Leaders program will be virtual. You will need access to a computer with a camera and a reliable internet connection to fully participate in the program. We are able to accommodate certain technical accessibility needs throughout the length of the program. More information will be provided to finalists once invited to become Leaders.

Commitment to Diversity: At the Obama Foundation, we value one another’s contributions and hold the conviction that diverse backgrounds and divergent points of view will lead us to the best solutions. We welcome Leaders across lines of race, ethnicity, spiritual beliefs, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and ability.

We are committed to recruiting an inclusive and diverse cohort with Leaders from different nationalities, issues of focus, sectors of work, personal backgrounds, and life experiences. We especially hope to identify emerging leaders who have not had the opportunity to participate in similar leadership programs in the past or who come from historically marginalized groups. We aim to build a mixed-experience cohort in which about half of participants have not yet benefited from other major leadership programs, while others bring leadership development experience and connections that they can share with the cohort.

We are also committed to making this program accessible to leaders with disabilities, from the application process to the program experience. We are able to accommodate certain technical accessibility needs throughout the length of the program. More information will be provided to finalists once invited to become Leaders; in the meantime, please contact us at [email protected] with any questions about accommodations that may help you determine whether or not to apply.


Eligibility Criteria

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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:

  • Africa: All nations, countries, and territories on the African continent.
  • Asia-Pacific: American Samoa; Australia; Brunei; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Federated States of Micronesia; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Hawai`i; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Korea, North (DPRK); Korea, South (ROK); Laos; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Macao; New Zealand; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn Islands; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Taiwan; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Vietnam; Wallis and Futuna

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/ResidencyYou must meet one of the criteria below for the region in which you are applying:

  • You are a citizen of an eligible nation or territory OR
  • You are a permanent resident of an eligible nation or territory OR
  • You are a refugee or asylum seeker in an eligible nation or territory OR
  • You have lived in an eligible nation or territory for at least the last 5 years, regardless of documentation status.

Geographic FocusYour 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.

AgeYou will be between 24 and 45 years old on July 15, 2023.

Language ProficiencyYou 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 CommitmentYou 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:

  • Possesses a clear issue of focus and can describe or measure their impact so far
  • Holds a leadership position in their changemaking work, whether full-time or volunteer
  • Demonstrates a deeply ethical, values-based, equitable, and collaborative approach to leadership
  • Demonstrates a willingness to learn from and share with other leaders in a group setting

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.


Please refer to our Leaders FAQs. For any other questions on program eligibility or special accommodations, please contact us at [email protected]. For technical support, go to



How To Apply

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A PDF of the application guidelines and questions is available to download at the bottom of this page.

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!


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