Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship

Gleitsman Leadership Fellowships are funded through an endowed gift to CPL from the estate of Alan L. Gleitsman. These fellowships provide significant financial support and a robust cocurricular experience to promising Harvard Kennedy School students interested in social change.

About the program

Gleitsman Fellowships recognize Harvard Kennedy School students for their background or potential as activists. With the income generated by a $23 million endowed gift from the estate of Alan L. Gleitsman, CPL launched the Gleitsman Program in Leadership for Social Change (GPLSC) in 2007. It was Mr. Gleitsman’s hope that if the world knew of the accomplishments of social activists, others would be inspired by their stories and would fight to correct some of the other problems facing the world, thereby improving the quality of life for all of us.

  • Gleitsman Fellows are awarded a scholarship up to full tuition and health fees for up to two years, depending on the length of their graduate degree program.
  • Successful applicants will demonstrate their potential as emerging social activists and innovators and interest in pursuing a career with transformative impact on society, as well as demonstrating strong character and excellent academic credentials.
  • The Gleitsman Fellows are part of the Center for Public Leadership’s community of graduate fellows and will participate in an enriching co-curricular experience designed to enhance their skills and engage their development as the next generation of public leaders. The co-curricular program typically includes a welcome retreat, a weekly series of speakers, workshops and seminars, a field experience (a multi-day trip to a major U.S. city), and opportunities to connect with other Center for Public Leadership fellows and alumni.
  • Welcome Retreat: CPL Fellows interact with and get to know one another and begin the process of supporting one another’s aspirations as leaders.
  • Leadership Discussion Series: On a weekly basis, the Fellows engage one another as well as eminent practitioners and local and national leaders on topics of service and leadership.
  • Field Experience: Fellows, along with selected students from the broader Kennedy School community, take a multi-day trip to a major U.S. city and meet with area leaders in order to gain an understanding of the deep rooted problems of society and innovative approaches to resolving them.
  • Connection with CPL and Gleitsman Fellows Network: Fellows engage with these other emerging leaders as they begin their careers through opportunities like roundtable discussions, mentoring experiences with fellowship alumni, leadership skills workshops, and networking events.


Award decisions will be primarily merit based but with a consideration of financial need as determined by the HKS Student Financial Services. Both domestic and international students are eligible to apply. Active participation in the weekly co-curricular program is a requirement of all fellows for the duration of their award.


Step 1: Apply to Harvard Kennedy School: Application deadline is early December 1, 2016.
Step 2: Apply for the Fellowship: Application deadline for the Gleitsman Fellowship is February 24, 2017.

To apply for the Gleitsman Fellowship please visit the Student Financial Services web site.

Applicants must submit:

  1. Resume or Curriculum Vitae, not to exceed 2 pages in length.
  2. A document containing written responses to the following two prompts:
    1. Please discuss a topic you are passionate about and its personal significance (1,000 words or less).
    2. Please discuss briefly your interest in the fellowship and how your experiences and goals have motivated you to apply (200 words or less).
  3. Two letters of recommendation specific to your fit for the Gleitsman Fellowship. The letters must be in PDF form, signed by the referrer, on letterhead indicating the referrer’s institution. All application materials, including recommendations must be submitted by the fellowship application deadline, February 28, 2017. 


Finalists for the Gleitsman Fellowship will be asked to participate in an interview with members of the Gleitsman Fellowship Selection Committee.

Gleitsman FAQS

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