The Civil Society Leadership Awards offers full scholarships for Master’s students from specific countries who are dedicated to fostering social change.
The Scholarship Programs’ Civil Society Leadership Awards provide fully-funded scholarships for master’s degree study to individuals who clearly demonstrate a deep commitment to leading positive social change in their communities.
The Civil Society Leadership Awards will not be offered for the academic year 2021–2022, while we consider program redesign and adjustments. Please check back in spring of 2021 for further updates. For informational purposes, you can find eligibility guidelines, application instructions, and supporting materials for the most recent Civil Society Leadership Awards competition below.
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
- be a citizen of an eligible country;
- demonstrate maturity, flexibility, and civil society leadership potential
- have an earned bachelor’s degree as of May 15, 2019 with an excellent academic record;
- demonstrate professional experience related to your chosen field of study;
- demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction (English, German or French) at a level required for admission by host universities;
- be able to participate in an intensive pre-academic summer school in July or August 2020 and start their degree program in August or September 2020;
- be able to receive and maintain a visa or study permit as required by the host country; and
- demonstrate a clear commitment to their home country or region to strengthen open society development.
The awards are available to citizens of the following countries:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of Congo
- South Sudan
Awards are available for study in the following areas:
- Communications, Journalism & Media
- Culture, History & Society
- Development Studies
- Education Management & Leadership
- Environment & Natural Resource Management
- Gender Studies
- Human Rights
- Law (including Human Rights law)
- Politics & International Studies
- Public Health Policy & Health Management
- Public Administration
- Public Policy
- Social Policy
- Social Work
The Open Society Foundations and Scholarship Programs are committed to equal opportunity, and exercise that policy in relation to all admissions processes. CSLA does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
Purpose and Priorities
Competition for the Civil Society Leadership Awards is open and merit-based. Selection is based on an applicant’s fit with the program’s objectives as well as the graduate admissions criteria of the participating universities. Academic excellence, professional aptitude, leadership potential in the field of specialization, proven commitment to open society values, and appropriate language proficiency are all important factors in evaluation.
All eligible applicants will be reviewed by an international selection committee. The proposed field of study should be logical for the goals expressed, and the application itself should be well-organized and complete. Compelling candidates will be interviewed by a selection committee comprised of university representatives, CSLA staff, and partner organization representatives, such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Selection and Notification Cycle
- Applications must be submitted by midnight, May 15, 2019, Eastern Daylight Time.
- Uncompetitive and/or ineligible applicants will be notified in late August.
- Applicants who pass external review become semi-finalists and will be invited to an interview to be scheduled in late September or October.
- Semi-finalists are required to secure two (2) letters of recommendation which must be submitted directly to CSLA by referees by October 1, 2019.
- Semi-finalists will be required to take an official language test by the end of October 2019; all candidates invited to an interview are entitled to one (1) language test, arranged and paid for by CSLA.
- Final selection will be held in November; results will be sent via email by January 2020.
- Successful semi-finalists are now CSLA finalists, and CSLA staff will initiate their host university placement process.
- The CSLA university placement process takes time; CSLA will strive to confirm placements for finalists by late April 2020.
- Once placement is secured, CSLA finalists will be notified that they are now CSLA grantees, and will be asked to sign and return a formal grant document before any further actions can be taken.
Interested applicants must complete an online or paper CSLA application and submit along with supporting documentation to be considered for CSLA support.
All candidates are strongly encouraged to apply online if possible using the Open Society Foundations grant portal, an online platform. To apply online, please register on the portal and then follow instructions.
Paper applications may be accessed in the Download Files section of this page. Please download the application form before completing or printing, and review the accompanying materials before submitting your application.
If you are applying in French, you must download and email or mail in an application form. Please consult How to Apply for further information.
If you have further questions, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions.
All application materials in French will be available on this page from March 21, 2019.