#OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Scholarships

The Open Society Foundation for South Africa invites eligible applicants to apply for the #OpenSocietySA25 Scholarships, which will be awarded through an open application process to individuals under the age of 35 years who have shown a commitment to furthering the goals and values of an open society.

Up to 15 full scholarships will be available for eligible candidates to pursue post-graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities under the theme: “Advancing democracy, promoting constitutionalism, and empowering vulnerable and marginalized groups.”

Each scholarship provides tuition fees at a registered South African tertiary institution plus financial support to assist with the costs associated with full-time study.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Applicants must be South African, African permanent residents, or African registered asylum seekers under the age of 35, and of colour.
  • Applicants must have at least two years of practical experience working in civil society on issues relating to the promotion of social justice.
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to human rights, social justice, and advancing constitutionalism in their careers.
  • Applicants must be nominated and fiscally hosted (throughout the period of study) by a civil society organisation that is a current or former grantee of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.
  • The scholarship award is conditional on acceptance and admission into a registered South African tertiary institution of higher learning. Preference will be given to institutions in non-urban areas and those institutions considered to be “previously disadvantaged.”
  • All applicants must utilize the award for post-graduate study in the 2019–2020 or 2020–2021 academic years.
  • Family members and partners of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa board and staff members are not eligible to apply.
  • Close friends of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa board and staff members may apply, but this will be subject to a rigorous conflict of interest check and verification by the convenor of the Selection panel (independent of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Open Society Foundations).
  • Payment and receipt of the Scholarship Award is conditional on written confirmation by the relevant tertiary institution and the host organization of acceptance into the chosen field of study. The scholarship award is for full-time study in the 2019–2020 or 2020–2021 academic year only. Failure to register for or complete the full academic program will result in the scholarship award being forfeited. The host organization will be required to monitor and report on the disbursement of the scholarship award.

Fields of Study

Applicants can pursue further studies in the following areas:

  • Law, Justice, and Governance
  • Sustainable Development and Natural Resource Management
  • Economic Rights, Justice, and Empowerment of the Poor
  • Public Health and Inequality
  • Media Freedom and Expression
  • Land Policy
  • Education and Inequality
  • Human Rights Advancement
  • Social Movements / Building Civil Society
  • Constitutionalising Foreign Policy
  • Political Economy

To apply for an #OpenSocietySA25 Scholarship, all applicants must submit the following materials and supporting documentation via the online application portal:

  • a personal statement of two pages, describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for applying. Applicants must discuss their current and previous human rights work, interest in, and commitment to the human rights and social justice sector and field, and career goals;
  • a description of the issue the applicant wishes to explore if their application is successful and why it is important for the promotion of an open society (800 words maximum);
  • letter of nomination from a current or former Open Society Foundation for South Africa grantee (host organization) and statement of commitment to financially host the applicant for a period of 12 months and administer the scholarship (tuition and stipend, with no overhead cost);
  • two letters of recommendation from professional referees (that is not a family member, friend, staff or board member of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa) that speak to the applicant’s prior work and future potential as a social justice advocate, scholar, and/or practitioner; applicants may be asked to submit a further letter of reference should the Selection panel deem it necessary;
  • a two-page abridged CV;
  • a short biographical statement; and
  • one high-resolution (file size at least 2MB) color photo (head shot).

Application Timelines

  • August 31, 2018: Application deadline
  • September 2018: Selection panel reviews all applications and shortlisted applicants notified
  • October 2018: Interviews with shortlisted applicants/successful applicants notified
  • November 30, 2018: Successful applicants will be publicly announced at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa’s #OpenSocietySA25 Commemorative Lecture

For more information about the scholarship, please visit the #OpenSocietySA25 Scholarship page on the Open Society Foundation for South Africa website, or contact [email protected].