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HACEY Health’s Isaiah Owolabi announced as Obama Foundation scholar


Isaiah Owolabi

June 18th 2019, the Obama Foundation announced that Isaiah Owolabi is among its second cohort of Obama Foundation Scholars, 32 rising leaders from around the world who will study at the University of Chicago and Columbia University for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Isaiah Owolabi is project director and co-founder of HACEY Health Initiative with 10 years leveraging a multisectoral, multi-pronged, and inter-generational approach to significantly improve the life outcomes of women and girls. Most recently he has focused on driving actions and accountability for universal health coverage in Nigeria.


He is a One Young World Ambassador, and a 2012 regional winner for the Commonwealth Youth Award. In 2015 he received young leaders award presented by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham palace for his work focused on improving the health and productivity of women and girls in Nigeria.

In service of the Foundation’s efforts to support the next generation of global leaders, the Obama Foundation Scholars program partners with UChicago and Columbia to combine academic learnings with one-of-a-kind experiences led by the Obama Foundation. The program’s aim is to empower emerging leaders with a proven commitment to service with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective and impactful upon their return home.

“The inaugural class of Scholars emerged more energized and capable of creating lasting change in their communities,” said Obama Foundation CEO David Simas. “They are one of the backbones of the Obama Foundation’s global ecosystem of young leaders, and we are inspired by the connections they have made and the work they will go on to do. We are eager to grow this international network of changemakers with our second cohort of Scholars.”


The 12 Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University will participate in Columbia World Projects, an initiative in which students, faculty, and researchers from Columbia partner with governments, nonprofits, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to use university research to create tangible solutions to real-world issues. The cohort at Columbia will participate in a rigorous, immersive program that brings together academic, skills-based, and experiential learning, designed by the university in consultation with the Obama Foundation.

Some of the other Obama Scholars at Columbia University are: Kirsten Brosbøl, Former Minister of Environment and Member of Parliament, Denmark; Natalia Herbst, Director for Community Organizations, National Youth Institute, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Argentina; Edmond Byaruhanga Atto, Senior Software Engineer, Andela and Co-Founder, Arvana from Uganda and Christian Vanizette, Co-founder,, France

The Obama Foundation Scholars program was launched in 2018. The inaugural class of Scholars recently graduated, having studied a core graduate curriculum supplemented with Obama Foundation sponsored leadership programming. Each Scholar developed, with the guidance of the Obama Foundation, an action plan and approach that they are now taking back to their home regions to scale up their work and reinvest in their communities.


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