Application Deadline: July 10, 2022.

Presidential Leadership Scholars brings together bold and principled leaders who are committed to facing critical challenges, both at home and around the world, and who are interested in exploring lessons learned during the administrations of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Montgomery County Updates: Department of Recreation Director Graduates from Presidential  Leadership Scholars Program

Each year, a diverse group of mid-career professionals begin a journey to hone their leadership abilities through interactions with former presidents, key administration officials, leading academics, and business and civic leaders.

Scholars put their learning into action through a personal leadership project, intended to solve a problem or pressing issue in their community, country, or the world. They gain the skills necessary to work across divides and develop a network that spans traditional geographic, professional, political, and economic boundaries. PLS challenges pre-existing perceptions and inspires the Scholars to lead lasting, positive change.


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.

Curriculum & Logistics

Featuring course sessions led by distinguished professors and practitioners representing a variety of perspectives on leadership, the Presidential Leadership Scholars program comes at no cost to accepted participants.

The curriculum focuses on four core leadership skills: Vision and Communication, Decision Making, Persuasion and Influence, and Strategic Partnerships. Spread over six months, the sessions involve approximately 20 days of on-location instruction and interaction, coupled with pre- and post-module assignments and evaluations. In addition, Scholars form meaningful relationships with one another and learn from each other’s divergent views and backgrounds.

The Successful Applicant

The program assembles a unique and diverse cohort of high-potential leaders. 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.

Application Process

Throughout this application, you will be required to provide personal background information (academic, professional, etc.), responses to essay questions, recommendations, and a summary of your Personal Leadership Project.

Following a thorough review of each application, we will invite a group of applicants to interview for final selection into the program. Finalists will be notified by mid-September if they have been invited to participate in the interview process. Interviews will be conducted via videoconference in late October, and final acceptance decisions will be made before the end of December 2021.


You are required to apply with a Personal Leadership Project (PLP) that you will work on throughout the program. This project may represent the next step in an initiative on which you are already working, or the first step in a new project. The project should provide you with the opportunity to apply the skills and competencies learned throughout the program. We expect Scholars to have adequately thought through many of the important elements required to achieve a significant outcome by the end of the program:

  • Focus on a socially relevant initiative.
  • Have an achievable six-month goal, even if the project itself will be achieved over a longer timeframe than six months.
  • Leverage the Scholar’s existing knowledge and experience.
  • Benefit from participation in the program.

All application materials, including recommendations, must be submitted online by 11:59 PM PDT, July 10, 2022.


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.

What specific travel costs are covered?
The program provides domestic air transportation (when applicable), ground transportation, hotel lodging, and meals during all modules.

Are there travel costs that are not covered?
Scholars are responsible for the costs of transportation to and from the airport and airport parking, if applicable, in the participant’s home city. Meals consumed before or outside of the modules specific dates and times are not covered. At the beginning of each Module, each scholar is expected to provide a credit card for incidental charges at each hotel.

Website: Presidential Leadership Scholars