Thirty-two scholars hailing from twenty-eight countries were selected for the year-long program, which aims to empower emerging leaders with a proven commitment to service with the tools needed to make their efforts more effective upon their return home. Scholars studying at Columbia will hold residencies at Columbia World Projects, an initiative that brings faculty and researchers together with governments, nonprofits, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to generate concrete solutions to real-world issues. Those studying at the University of Chicago will earn a Master of Arts degree in International Development and Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
This year's recipients include Mariana Deschamps, deputy chief of staff to the Mexican undersecretary of cultural development, who was responsible for the design and implementation of cultural policies dedicated to expanding equal access to artistic activities; Sowmya Karun, SocialCops (India), whose work involves advising a spectrum of public and development stakeholders on how analytics and technology can be applied to solve on-the-ground problems and amplify impact; Danyang Luo, operation director of Zhitong Guangzhou LGBT Center (China), whose experiences in public health have helped him manage Zhitong's seven gay-friendly clinics in Guangzhou; and Isaiah Owolabi, project director and co-founder of HACEY Health Initiative (Nigeria), which works to improve the lives of women and girls by leveraging a multisectoral, multi-pronged, and intergenerational approach.
"This program captures the essence of why Columbia University is such an inspiring institution," said Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger. "The Obama Foundation scholars already have dedicated their lives to civic-minded projects that are helping to address problems in different regions around the globe. The academic year they will spend on campus is designed to strengthen their impact, individually and collectively — while the scholars' larger-than-life presence will enhance the experience of every member of our community. In just one short year, the Obama Foundation Scholars program has come to embody the essence of a global university located in New York City."
For a complete list of the 2019 Obama Foundation Scholars, see the Obama Foundation website.
(Photo credit: Pete Souza)