RIO - Afro-Colombian Leadership and Scholarship Program


Afro-Colombians and indigenous have limited access to graduate education opportunities within Colombia, and less so in the United States.  To assist young Afro-Colombians and indigenous in overcoming the obstacle, USAID and Fulbright Colombia will implement the Afro-Colombian Leadership and Scholarship Program (ALSP) through December 2020.  The program aims to increase the number of emerging ethnic minority leaders pursuing graduate studies in the United States.  The cooperative agreement is part of a program funded by the Colombian Ministry of Education, designed to provide graduate study opportunities in the United States to emerging ethnic minority leaders that are committed to serving their communities.  


Selection Process

The ALSP process begins with a broad outreach and recruitment campaign in universities and regions with large Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations.  All applicants undergo a rigorous and impartial selection process administered by Fulbright Colombia.  Selection criteria is based on academic merit, professional performance, leadership potential, impact of the proposed field of study, future professional goals, and the multiplier effect of the proposed program in Colombia. 

Once the selection process is completed, a preparatory phase begins to provide orientation and leadership training to participants. Selected candidates must comply with U.S. universities’ admission requirements. 

To be eligible for participation in the leadership component, participants must have been accepted into a graduate program in the U.S., or be in an advanced stage of the application process.    Pre-departure support includes a two-day orientation seminar.  The academic phase takes place over a two-year period, during which participants receive full scholarships including; tuition, living expenses, academic materials, travel expenses, and health insurance. 

Commitment to Serving the Community

Upon completion of their degree, participants return to Colombia where they serve in local communities to support development and peace building.


  • By 2017, a total of 35 Afro-Colombian leaders will have graduated from ALSP and will contribute to the development of their communities.
  • USAID, Fulbright, and the Colombian Ministry of Education will support another six Afro-Colombian and indigenous university students over a four-year period between 2017 and 2020.

Last updated: March 07, 2017

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