Civil Society Professionals Program 2018-2019

Open Society Scholarship Programs

Deadline for Applications: March 26, 2018

Program Description

The Civil Society Professionals Program (CSPP) aims to bridge the academic experience of Scholarship Programs’ grantees to professional opportunities that can both facilitate their return home and link them to the global OSF network and wider civil society.  

CSPP interns are placed for up to 6 months at host organizations linked to the Open Society Foundations (OSF) network, such as current and former grantee organizations, global partner organizations, spin off entities, and other civil society organizations.  In all cases, placements are intended to benefit the individual and the hosting organization, with a focus on enhancing the intern’s personal and professional experience and supporting the intern’s integration into his or her chosen field in the home country or region. 

CSPP internships will be awarded on a competitive basis.  Applications are solicited from current grantees of Open Society Scholarship Programs’ master’s programs*.  Candidates will be selected on the basis of academic and professional excellence, fit with the needs of available hosting organizations, and commitment to leading positive social change in their home communities. 


The Civil Society Professionals Program is open to current master’s program grantees who will graduate in 2018.* Applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Have successfully completed a sponsored degree in 2018 with an excellent academic record;
  • Be able to commit to an internship for up to 6 months;
  • Demonstrate a clear fit to the technical and thematic expectations outlined by the hosting organization;
  • Demonstrate working proficiency in the language of the host organization;
  • Be able to work independently and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Be able to secure and maintain a visa or permit as required by the host country.

Successful applicants who already have provision for a 6 month internship as part of their current Scholarships’ grant will need to choose between the internships. 

*Grantees completing degrees in December 2017 will also be eligible to apply for 2018-19 awards


Applicants should consider the organizations on the Host Organization List carefully, outlining in the application their interest in a particular organization, their fit to a host’s proposed project(s), and the educational and professional benefits they expect from the experience.  Applicants may propose up two placement options.

CSPP aims to bridge grantees back to their home region, and priority is given to placements in the grantee’s home country or region. Placement at organizations outside the home region should involve projects relating to, or having an impact on, a home country or regional issues.  

A complete version of the Guidelines, including the List of  Host Organizations, are available here.

Grant Structure

Interns will receive the following allowances, in amounts to be determined by CSPP:
  • A monthly stipend to cover reasonable room, board and other living expenses in the host country;
  • Flights to and from the host country (as necessary, and subject to receipt of all necessary visas and travel permissions);
  • A settling in allowance (if applicable);
  • A provision for health and accident insurance

OSF will provide the above as a grant to the intern, and will not have any employment relationship with the intern.  The host organization and intern will be responsible for compliance with law in all matters related to the internship, including without limitation any employment relationship under applicable law, as well as all taxation and immigration matters.  Applicants should note that obtaining the appropriate visa status may take time and substantial coordination with the host organization and the necessary authorities.

Finalist applicants will be linked with a mentor at the host organization in advance of the final approval process and are expected to agree on an internship proposal, as well as setting mutual expectations for the experience.  The internship proposal will then be sent to CSPP staff for review and approval.  Such work should not include any lobbying or political campaign activity.

Projects that include lobbying activities will not be funded. Please carefully review the Tax Law Lobbying Rules before submitting an application. If awarded a fellowship, applicants may be required to attend a training session on the tax law lobbying rules, conducted by the OSF General Counsel’s Office and must agree to refrain from engaging in restricted lobbying activities during the term of the fellowship.

Interns will be responsible for finding their own accommodation while in the host country, with assistance as possible from the host organization. 

Selection Process

The CSPP grants will be awarded on an objective and non-discriminatory basis based on the strength of the application, the aims of the program, and the match between the priorities and capacities of the applicant and host organization, taking into account all applicable laws and regulations.

The CSPP selection committee will review all applications in April 2018, working closely with hosting organizations to identify suitable matches. Though applicants are asked to identify 2 possible hosts, the CSPP selection committee may forward applications to other hosting organizations if they present a better match. Applicants may also be asked to provide a writing sample if requested by the prospective host organization. Applicants may be invited for an interview with the prospective hosting organization and/or CSPP staff via Skype in April 2018. The CSPP selection committee will then confirm the finalists, linking each finalist with the host organization it deems suitable in May 2018.

In May 2018, matched finalists and hosts will discuss the proposed internship description and submit it to the CSPP selection committee for review and final approval, and start the visa process (if necessary).  After both the finalist and the host agree on the internship description, the CSPP selection committee approves, the internship will be confirmed.  A Memorandum of Understanding must be signed between OSF and the hosting organization before any internships can begin.

Internships will start between September and November 2018. 

The deadline is: March 26, 2018.


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