Civil Society Leadership Awards - Master's Degree Grant

Publish Date: Aug 05, 2016

Deadline: Sep 15, 2016

About Grant

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 media
  • 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


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be a citizen of an eligible country (Belarus, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan);
  • demonstrate maturity, flexibility and civil society leadership potential;
  • have excellent academic records and a bachelor's degree awarded before the deadline;
  • demonstrate professional experience in a relevant area;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction (English, German or French) at a level required for admission by partner universities;
  • 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.

CSLA Award Structure

Successful applicants will receive the following support:

  • Tuition and mandatory university fees;
  • Monthly stipend for room, board, and other living expenses;
  • Program-related travel;
  • Accident and sickness insurance during the program;
  • Funds for educational materials and professional development;
  • Attendance at a regional grantee conference;
  • Pre-academic preparation via summer schools.

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 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 in the essays, and the application itself should be 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).


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.

Online Application

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for the CSLA scholarship online.

Paper Application

The application and reference forms can be found in the Download Files section of this page.

Electronic applications and all supporting materials should be submitted to by September 15, 2016.

To learn more details, please click on the "Further official information" link below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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Eligible Countries





Democratic Republic of the Congo


Equatorial Guinea





Myanmar (Burma)

South Sudan