Obama Foundation Fellowship Program 2018 for Civic Innovators Worldwide

Obama Foundation Fellowship Program 2018 for Civic Innovators Worldwide (Fully-funded)


Deadline: October 6, 2017

The Obama Foundation is now accepting applications for it’s inaugural fellowship program. The Fellowship Program seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation. Fellows will be a diverse set of community-minded rising stars – organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more – who are altering the civic engagement landscape. By engaging their fellow citizens to work together in new and meaningful ways, Obama Foundation Fellows will model how any individual can become an active citizen in their community.

The inaugural class of 20 Fellows will be integral to shaping the program and the community of Fellows for future years. For this first class, the Foundation is seeking participants who are especially excited about helping them design, test, and refine the Fellowship.

The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development. Fellows will also participate in four multi-day gatherings where they will collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward. Throughout the program, each Fellow will pursue a personalized plan to leverage Fellowship resources to take their work to the next level.

Fellowship Commitment

The Fellowship is not a full-time commitment, but active and engaged participation is key to creating a meaningful Fellowship experience. Fellows commit to:

  • Participating in the full programming of the four Fellowship gatherings
  • Devoting a few hours each month to ongoing training and programming
  • Sharing responsibility for creating a supportive, collaborative community of Fellows
  • Collaborating with the Foundation throughout the Fellowship to evaluate and refine the program for future classes
  • Contributing their leadership, creativity, and voice to other Foundation programs. In this inaugural cohort, we’re looking for Fellows who are eager to explore the roles they can play in the broader ecosystem of the Foundation — whether serving as mentors, facilitating local trainings, or writing about their work for a wider


The following are benefits included in the program:

  • Guidance in developing a personalized Fellowship roadmap to help you get the most out of the program;
  • Ongoing skill-building and training courses tailored to your particular needs;
  • Individual coaching and mentoring to help you move your work forward;
  • Participation in a global cohort of leaders poised to change the civic engagement landscape;
  • Exposure to opportunities provided by other Foundation programming, such as mentorship roles and speaking engagements;
  • Participation in four gatherings (including economy airfare to/from the event, lodging, and all meals during the events);
  • For the inaugural class – the opportunity to shape the Fellowship program for future years.


For the inaugural class, the first Fellowship gathering will take place in April 2018 in the Chicago area. For the remaining gatherings, the Foundation will communicate dates well in advance.

The Foundation will cover transportation and accommodation for the in-person convenings. While they can provide support in procuring visas, Fellows will be responsible for covering any visa costs.


  • Open to people from all over the world
  • Applicants must be 18 or older
  • Fellowship is open to organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more. It is for those working within systems like governments or businesses, as well as those working outside of formal institutions;
  • Applicants should be working to solve important public problems in creative and powerful ways;
  • Applicants should have already demonstrated meaningful impact in their communities, gaining recognition among their peers for their contributions;
  • A strong moral character is essential for the strength of this community, the integrity of the program, and the longevity of its value. They’re seeking inspirational individuals who demonstrate humility and work collaboratively with others towards shared goals.
  • Fellows must be fluent in spoken and written English as all programming will be conducted in English.


  • Begin your application to be an Obama Foundation Fellow here.


  • Application opens: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
  • Application closes: Friday, October 6, 2017
  • Applicants notified: February 2018
  • First Fellowship Gathering: April 2018

If you have a specific question, please email the Fellows program at fellows@obama.org.

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