Civil Society Leadership Awards -Open Society Foundation

Deadline: 15 September 2016 (annual)
Open to: students in all subjects who want pursuing Masters Degree to study in various countries
Scholarship: scholarships range from (partial) tuition waivers to full scholarships covering all tuition fees plus living expenses.


The Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) provide fully funded master’s degree study to individuals who clearly demonstrate academic and professional excellence and a deep commitment to leading positive social change in their communities. CSLA directly assists future leaders in countries where civil society is challenged by a deficit of democratic practice in local governance and social development.

Awards are available for master’s degree study in the following fields at host universities across the world:

  • Communications and medial;
  • Culture, history, and society;
  • Development studies;
  • Economics;
  • Education management and leadership;
  • Environment and natural resource management;
  • Human rights and/or gender studies;
  • Law (including human rights law);
  • Politics and international studies;
  • Public health policy and health management;
  • Public policy and administration;
  • Social work and social policy.


  • CSLA does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability;
  • Available to citizens of the following countries:  Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan;
  • Demonstrate maturity, flexibility, and civil society leadership potential;
  • Have excellent academic records and an earned bachelor’s degree before applying;
  • Have proficiency in the language of instruction (English, German, or French) at a level required for admission by partner universities, as evidenced by standardized language test scores;
  • Be able to participate in an intensive academic writing program in July or August 2017 and start their degree program in August or September 2017;
  • Be able to receive and maintain a visa or study permit as required by the host country;
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to return to their home country or region to continue supporting open society development.


  • 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 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.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must complete and submit an online or paper CSLA application in English to be considered for CSLA support. Please note that some universities require a separate application for graduate study at that institution. In these cases, Open Society will notify candidates and assist with the university application process.

  1. Online Application: All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for the CSLA scholarship online.
  2. Paper Application: The application and reference forms can be found in the Download Files section of this page. Please download the application form before completing or printing.
  3. Electronic applications and all supporting materials should be submitted to email by September 15, 2016.

More information on the official website

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