Our Next Generation Leaders


Bezos Scholars are united by a shared passion for making a difference and a desire to lead change. Rich in diversity of experience, they seek new challenges and respond with creativity, courage, and commitment.

Selected as teams of rising high school seniors and educators, they spend the week immersed in learning and return home to inspire action in their schools, communities, and beyond.

Our African Scholars come from all over the continent, and join together at their school, the African Leadership Academy, in Johannesburg, South Africa. They cross the Atlantic Ocean to join with our U.S. Scholars, who come from all corners of the United States, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, in Aspen, Colorado.

Scholars selected each year
Different countries represented to date by the African Leadership Academy Scholars
Our Scholars bring passion and a fresh perspective to our world’s most pressing issues. This program allows young people and educators to make a lasting change in their communities and the world for years to come. – Jackie Bezos, President, Bezos Family Foundation

Cultivating Big Ideas


Miles traveled by Scholars from the African Leadership Academy to Aspen
World-renowned speakers and thought leaders who have met with Scholars
Hours of leadership curriculum taught on the ground in Aspen

The Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado is an eye-opening experience for Scholars. Few other places allow young people to engage directly with global thought leaders—from scientists and artists to policy makers and activists. The questions Scholars ask and the youthful energy they bring to the Festival is profound. The week is filled with hands-on leadership skill-building, Socratic seminars led by acclaimed moderators, and many inspirational experiences.

My week in Aspen inspired me to become a more courageous, effective leader. – Peter Yang, 2016 Bezos Scholar

Transforming Communities


Upon returning home, Scholars are tasked with developing and executing their own community change project, known as a Local Ideas Festival (LIF). Students gain significant personal and team-based leadership skills through this project-based learning experience, which combines their unique passion with addresing a community need. With ongoing support from their educator and school administration, students build a committed team to support the execution of their initiative, thereby impacting peers, their school, and the broader community for years to come.

People attend an LIF—every year!
Schools have hosted Local Ideas Festivals

Local Ideas Festivals are as varied and dynamic as the Scholars themselves. While these Festivals can focus on anything a Scholar is passionate about - they often fall in to one of the categories below. We are always excited to see new Festival ideas that break the mold!


Our Scholars embrace the power of the arts as a medium for dialogue, a tool for response and action, and a fun way to engage even the youngest members in the community.

Global Issues

From World Water Week to women’s rights, our Scholars engage and motivate their communities around global issues—building awareness and creating a tangible opportunity for taking action.

Bridge Building

We know we are stronger as a united community. Our Scholars foster civic engagement, embrace culture and diversity, and promote volunteerism.

The Environment

With LIFs celebrating conservation, climate change, and sustainability, our Scholars have demonstrated their heart for preserving the natural world.


Scholars know the importance of meaningful learning experiences, and have built opportunities to increase mentorship, college access, STEAM/STEM, and literacy programs.


Be it mental or physical well-being, our Scholars prioritize healthy life styles and creating community supports for all ages.

Global Impact


After the year-long program, Bezos Scholars continue to support and inspire one another—sparking positive change in their communities. Scholars go on to pursue higher education, competitive internships, and successfully win prestigious scholarships and awards; one recently met the Queen of England! The Bezos Scholars Program offers alumni support through internship opportunities, ongoing gatherings of food and conversation, and more importantly, lifelong support in pursuit of their passions.

Bezos Scholar alumni
Countries Bezos Scholars have visited for work, service, activism, and more

It only takes a few great minds to start changing the world.