Today, Columbia World Projects (CWP) announced the 2022-2023 cohort of Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University, 12 rising leaders from around the world who will hold a residency at CWP for the academic year.
The fifth cohort of Columbia University Obama Foundation Scholars will participate in a year-long program designed to provide Scholars with the skills, experiences and tools to scale their work and reinvest in their communities. The program includes participation in a weekly seminar, personal and professional development workshops, audited courses at Columbia University, a thought leadership speaker series, and additional programming designed by CWP in consultation with the Obama Foundation.
“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of Scholars for the upcoming academic year. I’ve seen the transformational impact the program has had on prior Scholars who participated in the program, and I am confident this will hold true for our newest Scholars. While the program will contribute to their professional development, we and the whole Columbia community will be inspired by their presence,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, the Director of Columbia World Projects.
“It has been tremendously gratifying to witness the growth and evolution of this program over the last four years,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. “The Obama Foundation Scholars have proven themselves to be an exceptionally talented group of people dedicated to addressing complex challenges in their communities and around the world. Our university community has been made richer by their engaged and forward-looking presence.”
“The Obama Scholars program provides students with the unique opportunity to give and gain insight into the work that fellow young leaders are driving in their communities, while speaking to the intersectionality of their efforts through collaboration,” said Obama Foundation Chief Executive Officer Valerie Jarrett. “We are eager to welcome the new cohort of Scholars to the Foundation family–a network of changemakers tirelessly working for a more equitable future.”
The Obama Foundation Scholars program, which launched in 2018, is designed to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective and impactful across their global communities. In addition to the cohort at Columbia University, another group of Scholars participates in the program at the University of Chicago.
Meet the 2022-2023 Scholars
Amna AkhtarUNITED KINGDOMCo-Founder and Creative Director, GirlDreamerRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Increasing access to opportunities for young women of color to support their professional and entrepreneurial development and increase representation for minority communities.
Jesús ArmasVENEZUELAPresident, Ciudadanía Sin LímitesRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Promoting democracy and human rights in Venezuela through grassroots mobilization, technology and increasing equitable access to water and energy.
Dinara AuyelbekovaKAZAKHSTANFounder and Director, Girls Power FundRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Designing and delivering innovative solutions to address gender inequality in rural Kazakhstan by promoting girls’ access to STEM education.
Kealohaku'ualohaku'upoki'i (Poki’i) BalazUNITED STATESInterim Executive Director, Lunalilo HomeRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Shaping the future of senior care and improving community health by engaging leaders, families, and neighbors to develop culturally appropriate continuums of care for the kupuna (elders...
Allison Benson-HernándezCOLOMBIAFounder, Director and Principal Researcher, Re-imaginemos Action Research CenterRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Creating opportunities for Colombians to challenge inequality and reimagine the future of their country through collaborative conversation, research-based journalism, art, and media.
Teresa BuczkowskaPOLAND AND IRELANDIntegration Manager, Immigrant Council of IrelandRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Mobilizing migrant communities to increase political participation, strengthen democracy, and support migrant voices in leadership roles.
Josue De PazMEXICO AND UNITED STATESCEO & Co-Founder, First Tech FundRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Supporting low-income youth to reach their full potential by providing access to technology, career mentorship, and skills training.
Wael Haffar HabbalSYRIA AND GREECECommunity Leader and Director, The Syrian and Greek Youth ForumRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Connecting refugees, migrants, and all Athenians living in Greece to gather, share experiences, and work together to create creative action for their communities.
Lilian NakigoziUGANDAFounder & CEO, Women Smiles UgandaRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Building innovative vertical farming technology to improve food security and empower women to develop sustainable agricultural solutions for urban spaces.
Olusola OwonikokoNIGERIAExecutive Director, Stanforte Edge; Founder, Project Enable AfricaRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces and legislation to allow people with disabilities in Nigeria to fully participate in employment and civic life.
Jackson RowlandNEW ZEALANDImpact Investing Advocate; Former Director, Ākina Invest, Ākina FoundationRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Growing New Zealand’s impact investing space to connect social impact businesses with capital and to encourage corporations and economic leaders to invest in social change.
Mustika WijayaINDONESIAFounder & Executive Director, Solar ChapterRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Promoting sustainable community development by increasing access to water, sanitation, and education in rural communities across Indonesia.