Black Lives Matter. Read our message from the Bezos Scholars team.


Scholars Become the Leaders We Need


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.

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.

We aim for students and educators to make meaningful gains in these leadership outcomes:

  • Leadership Efficacy: One’s internal beliefs about their likelihood of success when engaging in leadership
  • processes.
  • Collaboration: Desire and ability to work effectively with others in group processes.
  • Agency: Ability to start and sustain goal-directed efforts.
  • Navigational Agency/Navigating Pathways: Ability to envision multiple pathways to achieve goals.
  • Civic Engagement: Desire and ability to contribute to one’s community.
  • Social Generativity: Concern for future generations and engagement in actions to advance the future of a community.
Students and educators selected from the African Leadership Academy
Students and educators chosen from across the United States
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


Hours of leadership skill-building during the year-long program
World-renowned speakers and leaders who have met with Scholars over the years since 2005

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.

Aspen changed me as a leader. It made me 10,000 times more confident in the way I connect with people. – Caitlyn Hess, 2017 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). 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.

Local Ideas Festivals launched since 2005
Global network of Bezos Scholar Students and Educator alumni
People that have attended Local Ideas Festivals across the U.S. and in South Africa since 2005

Local Ideas Festivals are as varied and dynamic as the Scholars themselves. Many Festivals fall into one of the categories below, though we are always excited to see new Festivals 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. 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. Scholars go on to pursue higher education, competitive internships, and successfully win prestigious scholarships and awards; one recently met the Queen of England!

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

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