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Dalai Lama Fellowships

About the Fellowship | Deadline | Eligibility | Application Process

If you were unable to attend an Information Session, please refer to the Information Session PDF icon information_session_2016.pdf

About Dalai Lama Fellows

Dalai Lama Fellows, a unique global program personally authorized by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, envisions and works toward a world that tends to the good of the whole as well as of the individual. The Fellowship Program does this by guiding a global network of young social innovators to deepen their effectiveness by integrating secular ethics, contemplative values and compassion.

The Program awards year-long Fellowship grants of up to $6,000 to undergraduate and graduate students who want to design and launch ambitious "compassion-in-action" projects centered around one or more of the six Global Challenges: 

  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Violence
  • Access to Education
  • Gender Inequities
  • Access to Health
  • Environmental Devastation 

To learn more about the types of projects DLF is looking for, please take a look at their website, as well as the DLF e-Flyer

In addition to providing grant money, the Dalai Lama Fellowship incorporates a curriculum that guides Fellows toward transformation. Their Ethical Leadership Curriculum focuses on three core competencies integral to transformative, post-heroic leadership:

  • Emotional intelligence and compassionate action
  • Collaboration across differences
  • Designing ethical systems

This year’s journey will begin in March, when newly-selected Fellows participate in “Tilling the Soil”--a set of reflective exercises and Skype conversations with our program staff, designed to prepare Fellows for intensive learning and growth at the Ethical Leadership Assembly (ELA).  ELA is a weeklong convening of new Fellows, along with those from past years, held each June near San Francisco, California.

Funding covers project expenses and airfare to the Ethical Leadership Assemblies, to be held in July 2016 and again a year later. Room and board at the Ethical Leadership Assembly is covered by the program.

Application Deadline

Applications are closed for 2016. 


To be eligible to apply, a McGill applicant must be:

  • Enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at McGill University during the Fellowship year;
  • Able to attend the Ethical Leadership Assembly (ELA) from July 1-8, 2016 and again in 2017;
  • Available to engage with the Tilling the Soil curriculum and refine the proposed compassion-in-action project beginning April 1st, both through self-guided learning and conversations with Dalai Lama Fellows staff;
  • Prepared to dedicate sufficient time and energy to both the project, the year-long Ethical Leadership curriculum, and the Dalai Lama Fellows community.

For questions concerning eligibility requirements, please contact Bela Shah at bshah [at] dalailamafellows [dot] org.

Application Process

Please read this section carefully before beginning your application. The Dalai Lama Fellowship year is an intensive commitment; the information on this page will help acquaint you with the requirements and expectations of the Fellows.

Building a Strong Application

Top candidates demonstrate that they possess:

  • Engagement with the Dalai Lama’s focus on ethics as inner self-regulation to promote the greater good, collaborative leadership, compassion, and universal values;
  • Devotion to the empowerment of the community with which the project proposes to work, and an existing network of contacts in that community;
  • A vision to integrate the project into the life of the campus;
  • Commitment to mastery of at least one of the three core competencies emphasized in the Ethical Leadership Curriculum;
  • Commitment to being an engaged citizen of the Dalai Lama Fellows community.

A strong Compassion-in-Action Project:

  • Is mentored by a faculty or community-based member, or has a clear plan for securing mentorship;
  • Deepens the Fellow’s service orientation or ability to give time and non-monetary resources;
  • Has a clear timeframe and deliverables;
  • Plugs into and springboards off existing networks;
  • Offers new approaches to old problems;
  • Demonstrates sensible, prudent and creative budgeting;
  • Engages with the community in a sustained and meaningful way throughout the project year.

Dalai Lama Fellowship Expectations can be found on the Application Form.

Questions can be directed to Bela Shah, Program Associate, Dalai Lama Fellows at bshah [at] dalailamafellows [dot] org.