Grow your leadership potential, then boldly act.
Vision & Mission
We know you have the passion, insight and ability to tackle the most pressing issues of our times—globally or in your own backyard. Have you ever wanted to change the world? This sought-after scholarship offers an opportunity to turn your passion into action.
If selected, you will be paired with an educator from your school and join a community of 12 exceptional high school students from around the country for a year-long leadership development program. Together, you will travel to the Aspen Ideas Festival, a remarkable gathering of thinkers and change agents from around the world for an all-expenses-paid week, provided by the foundation and hosted by the Aspen Institute. In Aspen, you'll participate in seminars and informal meetings with international leaders, journalists, entrepreneurs and artists from diverse fields. Past Bezos Scholars have met with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretaries of Education Arne Duncan and Margaret Spellings, TOM’s shoe founder Blake Mycoskie, New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof, and many others.
The Challenge: Create a Ripple Effect
Following Aspen, you and your Educator Scholar return home to create a sustainable Local Idea Festival that will transform your school and community. Local Ideas Festivals advance big ideas and aspirations cultivated on the ground in Aspen. Past Bezos Scholars have mobilized peers, generated dialog and launched festivals on a range of issues—from literacy to genocide to the carbon footprint. The best ideas and festivals are sustainable and scalable. Thousands of people have attended Local Ideas Festivals in diverse communities across the country. And, some fests will celebrate their fourth annual event this year. Learn more about creating a Local Ideas Festival or view Scholars' Past Festivals.
Is This Program For You?
We are looking for exceptional public high school juniors nationwide, as well as visionary educators, who will work together on this journey. You must be intellectually curious and have the potential to motivate your school and community around an issue that you are passionate about. Past scholars have been violinists, tennis players, poets, aspiring politicians, debaters, scientists—we seek all types to make up a dynamic and diverse mix. What our Student Scholars have in common is the desire to grow as leaders and the determination to make a difference. Your Educator Scholar should be nominated by your school principal (see Apply page for full details) and be someone that you would enjoy collaborating with, as together you will launch your own Local Ideas Festival post-Aspen. Intimidated? Don't be! We look forward to learning more about you.
The application deadline for 2013 has already passed.
Please note that you must be enrolled in a public school that meets the School Criteria, below. The selection process is based on your academic achievement, essays and references, along with demonstrated leadership and community engagement.
- Demonstrates leadership in school and community
- Has scored exceptionally well on PSAT/SAT/or ACT
- Taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate classes or college/community courses
- GPA of 3.5, or higher
- Public high school junior during the 2012-2013 academic year
- Legal U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Availability of student & educator on all program dates
- Public High School (including Charter and Magnet schools)
- At least 25% of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch program. This is a firm cut-off.
- Offers Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or college credit courses