Nikki Santos, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute Announced as New Obama Foundation United States Leader

August 1, 2023

Inaugural cohort has 100 Leaders from 35 states, DC, and 2 U.S. territories

Contact: Lizette Olmos Godfrey
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, August 1, 2023 – The  Aspen Institute announces that Center for Native American Youth Executive Director Nikki Santos will participate in the 2023-2024 Obama Foundation’s Leaders Program. Santos  was chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The program is an initiative that builds upon the Foundation’s global work to support emerging leaders domestically in the United States. It offers 100 leaders from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to acquire new skills and tools to drive lasting change in their communities. It is a six-month virtual program that supports and connects emerging leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe through a value-based leadership framework inspired by the ideals and legacy of President and Mrs. Obama. 

“I look forward to scaling the impact of my work for Native American communities as an Obama Foundation USA Leader,” said Santos “Working alongside the inaugural United States Leaders, I will gain necessary insights and resources to drive systemic change and create lasting solutions to the challenges that impact our Native American youth. I am honored to collaborate with leaders from diverse backgrounds to advance equity, justice, and social progress.”  

Santos was selected based on her leadership experience which includes being recognized as a 2023 Social Impact Woman to Watch by NonprofitHR, a 2023 National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 40 Under 40,  a member of the Inclusion Advisory Council for Pinterest, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nation’s Mountain Partnership, a committee member for the Miss Indian World Pageant for the Gathering of Nations Pow-wow and promotes other organizations in advisory capacities. She is an enrolled citizen of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and proudly leads with Indigenous values. 

The inaugural cohort of the United States “Obama Leaders” is composed of values-driven changemakers from every corner of the country. Hailing from 37 states; Washington, D.C.; American Samoa; Guam; and five tribal nations, these Obama Leaders are united by their passion for building a stronger, more sustainable, and more inclusive world.

To learn more about the program and the individuals who make up the inaugural cohort, visit

If you are interested in scheduling an interview with Nikki Santos please contact Lizette Olmos Godfrey at


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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