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. Through these programs, we hope to help future leaders build stronger networks across the country as well as increase civic engagement among young people from across the country.

The Barack Obama Foundation Leaders Program is a one-year fellowship for leaders ages 24 through 45 who have demonstrated outstanding professional and personal success. During their program experience, these emerging leaders build a strong community of support founded on a shared commitment to values-based leadership as demonstrated by President and Mrs Obama.

The Leaders program offers practical skill building for social change, leadership coaching, discussion of critical issues, and small group support. It is designed to help participants focus on the skills needed to lead others toward a shared mission and effectively leverage their gifts to make an impact.

The 2023 Leaders program is a six-month virtual leadership development journey. Programs in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe will run between February 1 and July 15, 2023. For an average of 8-12 hours per month, the program will bring together 35-member cohorts of emerging leaders from across the regions. Participants (known as “Obama Leaders” or “Leaders”) will take part in weekly sessions that include:

  • Practical tools and training for deepening values-based leadership
  • Individualized 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


ALL of the following eligibility criteria must be met by applicants in order to be accepted into the Leaders program.

  • Citizenship/Residency: You must meet one of the criteria below:
    • 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 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.
  • 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 may include an 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.

How to apply

Please click here for the 2023 program guidelines and application.


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