About the Bezos Scholars Program

Every spring, 30 top high school students and exceptional educators from across the U.S. and Africa are selected to participate in this year-long leadership development program. A total of 24 U.S. high school juniors and educators will be selected to represent their 12 respective high schools

Cultivating Big Ideas

The program kicks off with an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the acclaimed Aspen Ideas Festival (AIF), a remarkable gathering of thinkers and change agents from around the world. On the Aspen Institute campus, located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Student and Educator Scholars participate in all that the festival has to offer including: 

  • Festival sessions where notable speakers and guests discuss their work, issues and ideas that inspire them.
  • Small, roundtable discussions with some of the greatest minds of our time ranging from writers and artists to entrepreneurs - change agents from the world around! Past Scholars have been privileged to meet with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, youth activisit Clifton Kinnie, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and journalist Nicholas Kristof, to name just a few.
  • Interactive leadership training sessions that prepare them for the challenge ahead: sparking community change via sustainable Local Ideas Festivals.  

Local Ideas Festivals: Transforming Communities

Scholars return home prepared to affect change in their own communities through Local Ideas Festivals.

Throughout the academic year, Scholars participate in virtual Bezos Scholars Program trainings and are invited to apply for a $1,000 seed grant to design and implement their Local Ideas Festival.

The Ripple Effect

Local Ideas Festivals continue to inspire community change well beyond their incipience.  There are several communities celebrating third, fourth and even seventh annual Local Ideas Festivals! This sustainble change is made possible through the leadership of Educator Scholars and student successors. Student Scholars continue to be leaders, even as their defined community shifts from their home town, to university and beyond.