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The University of Chicago and the Obama Foundation on June 16 announced plans for a newly designed University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars Program, a joint initiative for promising civic leaders from around the United States and the world who have demonstrated the potential to make an impact on pressing issues facing their communities.

Launching in the 2021–2022 academic year, this one-year co-curricular program will be open to current UChicago students entering their final year of their master’s studies at either the Booth School of Business, the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, or the Harris School of Public Policy. Drawing on the University of Chicago’s distinctive interdisciplinary tradition and the Obama Foundation’s significant expertise in civic and values-based leadership, the University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars Program brings together a diverse group of current students and strives to empower them with the education, skills, relationships, and perspectives needed to address pressing societal challenges faced by communities across the globe. Over the course of the program, Scholars will have access to a robust set of supplemental programming to complement the final year of their core degree requirements within their respective schools.

“The education that students receive at the University of Chicago provides more than essential knowledge in their fields. It empowers them with the habits of mind and intellectual skills they will need to make a lasting impact in communities, and to address evolving and complex social and policy problems in all parts of the world,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer. “By developing a global network of leaders and engaged organizations, the Obama Foundation Scholars Program will help our students address the most important challenges facing communities here in Chicago and around the world.”

“The University of Chicago has always meant a lot to Michelle and me, and we are excited to work with them to help lift up a new generation of leaders,” said former President Barack Obama. “As we prepare to break ground on the Obama Presidential Center, this program will also spotlight the important work being done on civic leadership here in Chicago. Our hope is to inspire our Scholars to take the lessons they learn here back to their own communities and keep making a difference.”

“Solving the world’s greatest problems requires the efforts of committed leaders who are equipped with cutting-edge tools and insights,” said Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “We are excited to bring our distinctive, data-driven and collaborative approach to learning, plus Booth’s and the Obama Foundation’s vast global networks, to the next generation of social sector leaders.”

The program begins in early September 2021, and applications for the 2021–22 academic year are due June 27, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. CT. Interested University of Chicago students may visit the program website for more information on UChicago Obama Foundation Scholars Program, eligibility criteria, and details on how to apply. More information can be found on the Obama Foundation website.

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