Program Details

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program focuses on leadership opportunities that inspire people to create solutions for complex challenges in their communities, whether local, national, or international. This program is the only of its kind that can provide the insight drawn from the experiences of these presidents, the advisors who worked closely with them, and the resources of these centers coupled together with the best minds from leadership studies. Our strong emphasis on cultivating a lifelong network of participants, faculty, and staff also creates a unique professional development experience.

The program assembles a unique and diverse cohort of high-potential leaders from all sectors. Scholars most successful in the program share certain characteristics:

  • Civically minded: Acts to improve society.
  • Open to feedback: Seeks, mindfully accepts, and actively responds to assessments of their behavior and performance.
  • Accepting of diverse points of view: Welcomes opportunities to interact with and learn from others with different backgrounds or perspectives.
  • Meaningful professional experience: Has breadth and depth of professional experience — typically 10+ years — and will build on the PLS experience for years to come.
  • Demonstrated leadership: Presents an established record of engagement and leadership. (PLS is not an introductory course in leadership.)
  • Influence: Is in a position to implement the change they desire.
  • Committed to the program: Can fully participate in a rigorous and intense six-month program.

What commitments are expected of alumni?

Program alumni are expected to remain involved in the program through a variety of ways. This includes, but is not limited to, recruiting and mentoring new Scholars, sharing leadership experiences with new classes, and participating in follow-up interviews and surveys. Alumni are also encouraged to stay connected with each other, and provide valued support to the projects and initiatives pursued after their time in the program.

Approach to Leadership

The PLS program challenges Scholars to develop their leadership skills in an environment in which individuals’ experiences are seen as strengths and are respected, supported, and valued. Within this welcoming and inclusive climate, Scholars are expected to do the following both in and out of the program:

  • Engage in deep reflection about their personal leadership development, including acknowledging habits of exclusion and creating new habits of inclusion.
  • Commit to meaningful interactions with others whose life experiences and perspectives are different than their own, even if those interactions are uncomfortable.
  • Include diverse perspectives in the framing of challenges and consideration of responses.
  • Work to ensure the full participation of others in influencing change.
  • Seek understanding with others, especially when they disagree.

Why should I apply to be a Presidential Leadership Scholar?

The PLS Program intends to take your leadership skills and your career to the next level. As a Scholar, you will become a part of the growing PLS network of alumni, fellow Scholars, faculty, and presidential administration alumni that can be future collaborators and advocates of your work.


Is there an application fee? No, there are zero financial costs associated with applying to the PLS program.What is the cost to attend?The four presidential centers are committed to offering this opportunity to leaders across the country, regardless of their financial means. To honor this commitment, program tuition, housing, meals, and travel during the course sessions in the host city are funded in full by contributions from foundations, individuals, and corporations.


The minimum age for participants is 21. While there is no maximum age, most Scholars have 10+ years of professional experience and are at a point in their careers where their participation and the lessons learned in PLS will be able to be put into practice for many years to come.

To be considered for the PLS program, all applicants must fit one of the following criteria regarding citizenship and country of residence:

– A citizen of the United States living and working in the country;

– A citizen of the United States living and working outside of the country, but who can pay for all non-domestic costs associated with traveling to each module;

– A legal resident of the United States living and working in the country.


Applications to join the Presidential Leadership Scholars Class of 2024 are open through July 9, 2023 at midnight.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button