Disability Rights Scholarship Program

The Disability Rights Scholarship Program provides yearlong LLM awards to disability rights advocates and lawyers to develop new legislation, jurisprudence, impact litigation, and scholarship.

With the knowledge and networks gained through the program, we expect that fellows will have the ability to challenge rights violations in their home countries by drafting enforceable legislation consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), utilizing enforcement mechanisms set forth in the Convention, taking forward disability rights litigation requesting CRPD-compliant remedies, and engaging in disability rights advocacy. Alumni will also be qualified to train and mentor new lawyers in disability rights through clinical programs.

Eligibility Criteria

The program does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.  Candidates with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. The competition is merit-based and open to those meeting the following criteria:

  • Citizen and legal resident of an eligible country at the time of application (China; Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia; Mexico, Peru, Colombia; Tunisia);
  • Work experience in the legal profession or advocacy focusing on human/disability rights;
  • Excellent academic record with a bachelor of laws (LLB; in exceptional circumstances, those without a LLB but with substantial relevant experience may be considered);
  • Demonstrated leadership in the field of disability rights;
  • Proficient in spoken and written English or French and able to meet university-designated minimum scores on standardized language tests;
  • Able to participate in an intensive academic writing program in Summer 2015;
  • Able to begin the graduate program in August or September 2015;
  • Able to receive and maintain visa or study permit required by host country;
  • Clearly committed to return to home country to aid ongoing disability rights work.

Employees of the Open Society Foundations and employees of local administering organizations (and their immediate family members), who are directly involved in the administration of scholarships are not eligible; nor are individuals receiving other Open Society Foundations–funded support during the fellowship period.


For further details, please see the detailed guidelines available in Download Files section of the page or contact the appropriate regional coordinator. For those needing materials in a different format, please contact the regional coordinator: 

Residents of Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, or Zambia

Centre for Human Rights
(c/o Mr. Jehoshaphat Njau)
Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, 002, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 5408
Email: [email protected]

Residents of Colombia, Mexico, or Peru

Prof. Francisco Bariffi
Centro de Investigación y Docencia en Derechos Humanos
Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Calle 25 de Mayo 2855. 8º piso
Mar del Plata, CP 7600, ARGENTINA
Tel-Fax: +54-223-491-1376
Email: [email protected]
Website: redcdpd.net

Residents of China

Wing Mai Sang
Open Society Foundations
Scholarship Programs
224 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
Tel: +1-212-548-0379
Email: [email protected]