Open Society Foundations Disability Rights Scholarship Program 1041 views

Type of Funding

Fully funded




The Open Society Foundations is inviting disability rights advocates, lawyers, and educators from Ethiopia, Lesotho, Sudan, South Sudan, Czech Republic, Georgia, and Ukraine, to apply for its Disability Rights Scholarship Program for AY 2020-2021, which will provide financial support for a 1-year Master of Laws (LLM), commencing August or September 2020.

The program’s aims is to provide disability rights advocates and lawyers with the necessary expertise to develop new legislation, jurisprudence, policy, research, and scholarship to harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Fellows will be clustered at and matched with universities according to their chosen area of specialization, academic profile, and professional aspirations. Participating schools include:

  • School of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada
  • School of Law, University of Leeds, UK
  • College of Law, Syracuse University, USA, and
  • Washington College of Law, American University, USA.


The fellowship provides: tuition and mandatory university fees; a monthly stipend for room, board, and other living expenses; program-related travel; accident and health insurance; funds for educational materials and professional development; all costs associated with pre-academic summer program and annual conference; and support for students with disabilities to obtain reasonable accommodation.

The fellowship does NOT provide funding for dependent family members.


Only citizens and legal residents of Ethiopia, Lesotho, Sudan, South Sudan, Czech Republic, Georgia, or Ukraine, with work experience in the legal profession or advocacy focusing on human/disability rights are eligible. They need to have an excellent academic record with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). In exceptional circumstances, those without a LL.B but with substantial relevant experience may be considered. Applicants must have demonstrated leadership in the field of disability rights and are clearly committed to returning to their home countries to advance the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities.

Applicants have to be proficient in spoken and written English or French and able to meet university-designated minimum scores on standardized language tests, and be able to participate in a an intensive academic writing program in July–August 2020 that comprises academic writing, social science, and humanities-based seminars. They have to be able to begin the LLM program in August or September 2020.

Candidates with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications will be selected based on academic excellence, professional aptitude, leadership potential, and proven commitment to work in the field of disability rights in the home country.


Applications are to be done online by 6 January 2020.

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