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Leaders Program


A group of men and women in business attire ranging from light to deep skin tone stands together while writing and looking over a whiteboard

The Obama Foundation’s Leaders program aims to inspire, empower, and connect regional cohorts of changemakers to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities and throughout their region.

These emerging leaders from around the world, generally 24-45 years old, forge societies and communities rooted in shared values, where all people belong, participate, and thrive.

The Leaders program launched in Africa in 2018, expanded to Asia Pacific in 2019, and inaugurated Europe in 2020. During the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum in New York City, we announced our newest program in the United States.

Obama Foundation Leaders hail from a wide variety of nations and territories, work across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and address a full range of social impact issues.

The Leaders program offers practical skill building for social change, leadership coaching, discussion of critical issues, and small group support. As participants, Leaders self-define a values-based foundation for sustained leadership, cultivate relationships with others to catalyze more inclusive, lasting change, and prepare to engage with issues at the systems level.

Upon completion of the program, Leaders will have gained a deeper understanding of how values-based leadership advances their ability to enact change. They will be inspired to take further action, propelled by new ideas and skills. Most importantly, Leaders will continue to gain a broader continental and global perspective, joining the Obama Leadership Network, a growing global alumni community of over 1,000 active changemakers.

The application for our 2024-2025 Leaders programs is now closed.

Leaders Programs by Region

In the center of the photo, Michelle Obama is wearing a gray jumpsuit with blue heels and embracing a smiling medium brown skin toned child who is wearing a black and shite checkered dress, gray and black horizontal striped tights and brown ankle boots. To the right of them, Barack Obama is turned away from the camera wearing a dark colored suit, shaking hands with a woman standing on risers. Michelle and Barack are surrounded by about 50 smiling people of various skin tones who are standing on 5 levels of risers.

Leaders Program Alumni

See previous program participants and graduates.