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 universities participating in the CSLA program:

  • Development Studies;
  • Public Health & Health Management;
  • Education Management & Leadership;
  • Law & Human Rights;
  • Public Policy & Administration;
  • Environment & Natural Resource Management;
  • Social Work & Social Policy;
  • Politics & International Studies;
  • Other select Humanities & Social Sciences.


  • CSLA does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of an eligible country;
  • 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 or French) at the desired university program, as evidenced by standardized language test scores;
  • Be able to participate in an intensive academic writing program in July or August 2015 and start their degree program in August or September 2015;
  • Be able to receive and maintain a visa or study permit as required by the host country; and
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to return to their home country or region to continue supporting open society development.

Ineligibility Criteria
The award does not provide:

  • funding for applicants from any country not listed above;
  • funding for foreign language teaching degrees, business administration, physical sciences, engineering, or medical degrees;
  • funding for courses or universities not listed in the full guidelines;
  • funding for dependent family members;
  • funding for individuals receiving other Open Society–funded individual grants during the fellowship period;
  • funding for employees of Open Society Foundations directly involved in the administration of scholarship programs.

Target Countries
.The awards are available to citizens of the following countries:

  • Azerbaijan;
  • Belarus;
  • Cambodia;
  • Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Egypt;
  • Equatorial Guinea;
  • Eritrea;
  • Ethiopia;
  • Laos;
  • Libya;
  • Republic of Congo;
  • South Sudan;
  • Sudan;
  • Syria;
  • Turkmenistan;
  • Uzbekistan.

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, the Open Society Foundations will notify candidates and assist with the university application process.

Deadline: Application closes on December 15, 2014
Click here to apply

Subscribe to our newsletter!
Clicking "Subscribe me" is successful, even if you don't see any confirmation here