Gleitsman Leadership Fellowships are awarded to students with a strong background in -- or strong potential for -- leadership in social activism.  Gleitsman Leadership Fellows are committed to tackling complex social problems by enabling, empowering, and inspiring collective social action.

Download the Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship one pager.

How to apply:

  1. Apply to the Harvard Kennedy School.
  2. Applicants for the Gleitsman Fellowship must submit through the financial aid portal:
  • A biographical profile, not to exceed 150 words (This profile should be short, concise and in the third person.) Please include the following highlights: an introductory sentence including your name; the degree you are pursuing at Harvard Kennedy School in addition to any joint degree at Harvard or concurrent degree program at another graduate or professional institution; where you are from and where you currently reside; an overview and highlights of your relevant work/professional experience; significant leadership achievements including awards or certifications; and educational credentials with the degrees earned and institutions attended. 
  • A document containing written responses to two essay prompts related to your experience, education, leadership capacity, and the fellowship;
    • Please discuss your passion and commitment to social activism. Indicate specific experience/s that demonstrate leadership in that sphere, including challenges you faced and how you have confronted them (500 words or less).
    • Please describe areas of leadership growth or opportunity you hope to pursue while a student at HKS (200 words or less). 


Finalists for the Gleitsman Fellowship will be interviewed in late February by members of the fellowship selection committee.

Upon admission to HKS, applicants will be notified if they are selected for the Gleitsman Fellowship.

The fellowship provides:

  • Financial support toward a master’s degree program at Harvard Kennedy School. 
  • A comprehensive co-curricular program to augment your leadership development
  • A network of exceptional peers and mentors who will enhance your ability to impact the communities you serve

Recipients of the Gleitsman Fellowship will receive a scholarship for full tuition, fees, and health insurance for the course of their study. Financial support is only provided for the cost of attendance at HKS, joint or concurrent degree students will receive financial aid from the fellowship when HKS is their school in residence as determined by the financial aid office.


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.

Fellows will participate in a yearlong co-curricular program designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. This not-for-credit program is intended to inspire, to provide concrete opportunities for leadership skill-building, and to connect fellows with an interdisciplinary network of like-minded peers and mentors that will last a lifetime. The fellowship co-curricular program includes dinner seminars, an annual retreat, and experiential learning grounded in discussions with visionary leaders whose work has had a significant impact in the world. The program will also focus on strengthening the capacity for public leadership through reflection, mentorship, and skill building.

The Fellows will create a vibrant network of students and alumni committed to advancing knowledge, collaborating on solutions to pressing problems affecting marginalized communities, and building leadership capacity in their communities, their nation, and the world.

Note: Before submitting your application, we expect that you have thoroughly reviewed all pertinent information related to the Gleitsman fellowship, including but not limited to: program requirements, eligibility information, and the background and purpose of the fellowship. Being a CPL fellow carries with it certain responsibilities including maintenance of good academic standing as required by your degree program; attendance at all fellowship programming for the entire duration of the fellowship; leading program sessions and service activities including a field experience trip and responsible conduct in representing CPL and Harvard University. Please visit our Fellowship FAQs page for more information.

Commitment to Nondiscrimination: As a matter of commitment, policy, and law, Harvard Kennedy School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, color, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, intellectual focus, disability, or veteran status. The School strongly believes diversity enhances the value of all its activities, from research and teaching to degree programs and public events. The School encourages applications from candidates who are interested in careers in public service and acknowledges a special responsibility to train effective leaders in public policy and management.

Program Manager

Elisha Gechter

The Center for Public Leadership acknowledges the generosity of the Estate of Alan Gleitsman for its support of the Gleitsman Leadership Fellowship.