Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) 2023

Applications for the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) are no longer being accepted. We will go over the details of this scholarship program, its benefits, and the application process in this article.

International students can apply for the Civil Society Leadership Awards 2023, which are fully funded master’s scholarships. CSLA Scholarships from the Open Society Foundations will provide a monthly stipend for room, board, and other living expenses, as well as tuition and necessary university fees, accident and illness insurance, and housing during the program.

International students from certain countries (see list below) can apply for the Civil Society Leadership Awards to get master’s degrees at educational institutions in Germany, France, Hong Kong, Latvia, Hungary, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, and the United States.

Civil Society Leadership Awards CSLA
Civil Society Leadership Awards

The Open Society Foundations have funded more than 20,000 CSLA scholarships for young people to study in the US and Europe, especially at Central European University, since the 1980s. These awards are fully funded and given to students who have demonstrated academic and professional excellence as well as a strong desire to make a difference in their communities.

Interesting Facts About Civil Society Leadership Award

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The Civil Society Leadership Award (CSLA) is a prestigious scholarship program offered by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to support outstanding individuals from around the world who are actively engaged in civil society and demonstrate a strong commitment to positive social change. Here are some interesting facts about the Civil Society Leadership Award:

  1. Open Society Foundations: The Civil Society Leadership Award is administered by the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic organization founded by George Soros. OSF supports various initiatives aimed at promoting democracy, human rights, and social justice around the world.
  2. Global Reach: The CSLA program is open to individuals from countries all over the world, including countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. It is not limited to specific regions or continents.
  3. Master’s Degree Scholarships: CSLA scholarships are primarily offered for master’s degree programs at accredited universities and institutions outside of the scholar’s home country. These scholarships cover tuition fees and related expenses.
  4. Support for Various Disciplines: The program supports individuals pursuing a wide range of academic disciplines and fields of study, including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering, law, public health, and more. This diversity reflects the program’s commitment to fostering leadership across various sectors.
  5. Selection Process: The CSLA program employs a highly competitive and rigorous selection process. Applicants are evaluated based on their academic and professional achievements, leadership potential, and their commitment to civil society and social change.
  6. Leadership Development: CSLA not only provides financial support for education but also offers leadership development opportunities. Scholars participate in various leadership and professional development activities, including conferences, workshops, and networking events.
  7. Commitment to Civil Society: Applicants are required to demonstrate their active involvement in civil society activities and a commitment to making a positive impact on their communities and societies.
  8. Postgraduate Obligations: Upon completion of their studies, CSLA scholars are expected to return to their home countries and contribute to the development of civil society and social change initiatives. This commitment to return and apply their knowledge and skills is a key element of the program.
  9. Alumni Network: CSLA has a vibrant alumni network that connects past and current scholars. This network provides ongoing support, mentoring, and opportunities for collaboration among individuals who share a passion for civil society and social justice.
  10. Impact: Over the years, the CSLA program has supported hundreds of individuals who have gone on to become leaders and change-makers in their respective fields and countries.

The Civil Society Leadership Award is a prestigious opportunity for individuals who are dedicated to advancing civil society and positive social change, providing them with the resources and support they need to further their education and impact.


  • Level of Study: Masters
  • Institution: CSLA Host University Guide
  • Study in: Germany, France, Hong Kong, Latvia, Hungary, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Poland, and United States
  • Opportunity Focus Areas: See list below
  • Program Period: 2 Years
  • Deadline: May 15, annually (Note: Closed till spring)
Civil Society Leadership Awards CSLA
Civil Society Leadership Awards CSLA

Courses Offered:

  • Culture, History & Society
  • Communications, Journalism & Media
  • Development Studies
  • Education Management & Leadership
  • Economics
  • Environment & Natural Resource Management
  • Gender Studies
  • Law (including Human Rights law)
  • Human Rights
  • Politics & International Studies
  • Public Policy & Administration
  • Public Health Policy & Health Management
  • Social Work & Social Policy

Following are some of the programs that can be funded by the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) scholarship:

  • Violence, Conflict and Development (MSc) at SOAS University of London
  • Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (MSc) at Durham University
  • Globalization and Development Studies (MA) at Maastricht University
  • Sustainable International Development (MA) at Brandeis University
  • International Development Policy (MA/PgCert) at Duke University
  • Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights (MA/PGDip) at University of Nottingham


Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) provide the recipient with the following benefits:

  • Monthly stipend for room, board, and other living expenses
  • Pre-academic preparation via summer schools
  • Tuition and mandatory university fees
  • Accident and sickness insurance during the program
  • Program-related travel
  • Funds for educational materials and professional development
  • Accommodations during the application process and the duration of the grant for applicants with disabilities.
  • Attendance at a regional Scholarship Programs conference


To qualify for the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) Scholarship, candidates must fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • Required Language: English
  • Eligible Countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Have an earned bachelor’s degree as of May 15, with an excellent academic record;
  • Demonstrate maturity, flexibility, and civil society leadership potential
  • Demonstrate professional experience related to your chosen field of study;
  • Be able to participate in an intensive pre-academic summer school in July or August and start their degree program in August or September;
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction (English, German or French) at a level required for admission by host universities;
  • 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.

How to Apply?

Please visit the official website using the link given at the end. However, here are important instructions for availing of the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA):

  • Submit a Scholarship Application directly to the Open Society Foundations  before deadline.
  • Submit an online postgraduate application for an eligible program at the university of your choice. You can check the  CSLA Host Universities here. Please note that your scholarship application will not be considered unless you have also submitted an academic application to selected university.

To know more about the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) 2023

Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) FAQs

In what ways do the Open Society Foundations contribute to society?

The mission of the Open Society Foundations is to help establish accountable democracies where all citizens have a voice. We tackle a wide range of problems across many different regions and topics to achieve this goal. A number of national and regional foundations with ties to Open Society also prioritize topics and concerns specific to open societies in their own locations.

Can i apply for multiple at once?

Yes. Many organizations receive money from multiple Open Society initiatives or affiliates. We merge numerous bids into a single award where possible to reduce administrative expenses and grantee strain.

Who can apply for CSLA grant?

We can fund formally organized groups directly or indirectly through middlemen (fiscal sponsors, fiscal agents).
Each Open Society Foundations program has its unique grantee selection process. Organizations or individuals whose values, goals, and work correspond with specified tactics may inquire with the applicable program.

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