Bezos Scholars are united by a shared passion for making a difference and a desire to lead change. Scholars seek new challenges and respond with creativity, courage, and commitment. They join the program with different lived experiences, strengths, areas for growth, and unique interests. This diversity is one of our greatest strengths.
Our Scholars travel from across the U.S. and the Africa Leadership Academy to spend a week immersed in learning at the Aspen Ideas Festival and return home to inspire action in their schools, communities, and beyond.
Throughout the year-long program, we aim to build capacities in values-based leadership, social-emotional learning, and social innovation. We’ve aligned outcomes for the program with the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership, a quantitative research program that examines how to leverage learning and development inside and outside of traditional classrooms.
The beauty of the Bezos Scholars Program lies in its use of evidence-based practices: robust curricula, leadership skill building for students, advocacy development for educators, and community engagement to create a powerful learning experience. Impact assessments demonstrate that after the year-long program, Student Scholars yield equivalent or higher learning gains across critical leadership and socio-emotional outcomes than their peers did after a full year of college.
We aim for Student Scholars to make meaningful gains in these leadership outcomes:
For Educator Scholars, a majority report that the year-long program becomes a memorable and meaningful experience that deepens and/or reignites their passion and commitment to their field. In their role as mentors, advocates, and allies to Student Scholars, we aim for Educator Scholars to make meaningful gains in the following:
The Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado is an eye-opening experience for Scholars and their educators. Few such events allow young people to engage directly with global thought leaders—from scientists and artists to policy makers and activists. The week is filled with hands-on leadership skill-building, Socratic seminars led by acclaimed moderators, and bonding with fellow Scholars.
Upon returning home, Scholars are tasked with developing and executing their own community change project, known as a Local Ideas Festival (LIF). Scholars gain significant personal and team-based leadership skills through this project-based learning experience, which combines their unique passion with addressing a community need. With ongoing support from their educator and school administration, Scholars build a committed team to support their LIF, with a vision of affecting peers, their school, and the broader community for years to come.
After the year-long program, Bezos Scholars continue to support and inspire one another—and spark positive change in their communities. The program facilitates an active and engaged alumni network, which includes:
Scholars go on to pursue higher education, take gap years, earn scholarships, travel, volunteer, intern, and launch initiatives, organizations, and businesses. No matter their path, they are all active, engaged global citizens interested in leadership development and taking action for the greater good.