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[Federal Register: June 7, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 110)]
[Notices]               
[Page 36213-36215]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07jn00-136]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3332]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; U.S.-China Youth 
Exchange Initiative: Pilot Project; Notice: Request for Proposals

SUMMARY: The Youth Programs Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges, of 
the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open 
competition to award one grant for the U.S.-China Youth Exchange 
Initiative: Pilot Project. Public and private non-profit organizations 
meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may 
submit proposals for the recruitment and screening of schools, an 
assessment of communication technology, and the implementation of a 
pilot project of a reciprocal youth exchange program between secondary 
schools in the United States and in China. This program will develop 
linkages between schools and communities in the U.S. and China for the 
purpose of mutual education and the development of student 
participation in community affairs.

Program Information

Overview

    During a June 1998 visit to China, President Clinton announced a 
youth exchange program that would link schools and communities in China 
and the United States. The program has been projected to span three 
years and to provide funding for the reciprocal exchange of students 
and teachers from the paired schools. It is in anticipation of this 
program being enacted in fiscal year 2001 that the Office of Citizen 
Exchanges offers this opportunity for organizations to apply for an 
assistance award to pilot a modest school exchange project this year. 
Expansion beyond the pilot phase is subject to the availability of 
funding in subsequent fiscal years, as well as to assessments by the 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. Embassy 
in Beijing of the desired pace of expansion. The goal is to expand the 
program incrementally over the next few years.
    The focus of the principal program is to link schools and 
communities in as many provinces of China as possible with schools and 
communities across the United States and to foster interaction and 
lasting relationships between these partnered schools through Internet 
connections and reciprocal student and educator exchanges with strong 
academic content. Each one-to-one school partnership will choose a 
theme relevant to their communities; students will work together to 
complete a joint project related to this theme. Support for Internet 
connectivity and computer training is also an important component of 
the program so that the paired schools can communicate throughout the 
school year and work on these joint projects. The three-to four-week 
exchange visits to the partner community will involve studying at the 
host school, working on the thematic project, participating in cultural 
activities, and spending time with host families. The overarching goals 
of this program are to support student participation in community 
affairs and to advance mutual understanding between the youth and 
teachers of the U.S. and China.
    This competition is intended to allow the Youth Programs Division 
to select the organization that will best be able to establish these 
linkages and facilitate the joint projects and exchanges. The 
objectives of this project are (1) to plan for the principal program by 
recruiting and screening schools, (2) to assess the opportunities for 
establishing Internet access in the schools, and (3) to develop and 
implement a pilot partnership that will serve as a model for future 
development.
    The components of the program are as follows:

(1) Planning and Selection

    (a) Announce the program to recruit a strong pool of candidate 
schools and communities in the U.S. and China. Communities should 
represent the great geographic diversity of each country.
    (b) Conduct an open, merit-based competition to screen secondary 
schools for participation in the principal program. Applicants should 
be prepared to select approximately 50 schools, or 25 partnerships.
    (c) Determine the capacity of the schools to develop lines of

[[Page 36214]]

communication, especially through the use of the Internet.

(2) Pilot Project

    (a) Select a partnership to conduct a pilot exchange program (this 
will be selected outside of the larger competitive process noted 
above).
    (b) Oversee the communications and project activity between the two 
schools.
    (c) Manage the exchange of 22 participants: nine students and two 
educators (or one educator and one community member chaperone) from 
each school will visit the partner school for three to four weeks while 
the host school is in session.
    (d) Monitor and evaluate the pilot project.

Guidelines

    The grant will begin on or about November 1, 2000, and conclude 14 
months later. The pilot project activity should begin as soon as 
possible. The exchanges should take place in Fall 2001.
    This pilot project will create the foundation for the follow-on 
program. This project should be designed to best prepare the 
organization for the implementation of the full program. However, all 
applicants should be aware that there are no assurances of a specific 
level of funding for a follow-on program. As is the case with all 
Bureau exchange programs, actual funding for future activities is 
contingent upon the Congressional Appropriation and Authorization 
Process and final availability of funds. Funding to support the initial 
phase of this project is $98,900. Upon successful implementation of the 
pilot phase and pending the availability of funds, ECA reserves the 
right to amend the grant to support future program activities.
    As ECA and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing will need to carefully gauge 
the appropriate rate of growth of this program (in terms of the number 
of states or provinces, schools, and participants) and future funding 
is indefinite, ECA requests that applicants create a rank ordered list 
of the schools that they recruit and screen so that the schools can be 
approached to participate once the FY-2001 funding level has been 
determined. ECA expects to work up to the participation of as many as 
50 schools over the course of the initiative.
    Eligible applicant organizations will have the following:
     Experience working in China;
     A demonstrated track record of conducting youth exchange;
     Experience with managing international institutional 
linkages and/or experience developing the program content for short-
term exchanges;
     An established partnership with an individual or 
organization based in China or own branch office or representative 
there; and
     Access to schools in both the United States and China 
through the partner organization.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the 
complete Solicitation Package, which includes the Project Objectives, 
Guidelines, and Implementation (POGI) and the Proposal Submission 
Instructions (PSI), for further information.

Budget Guidelines

    An initial assistance award for no more than $98,900 will be 
awarded. Organizations with less than four years of experience in 
conducting international exchange programs are not eligible for this 
competition. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the 
entire program. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns 
reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may 
provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, 
location, or activity to provide clarification.
    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions.

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFP should 
reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C-00-58.
    For Further Information Contact: The Youth Programs Division, ECA/
PE/C/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW, 
Washington, DC 20547, telephone (202) 619-6299; fax (202) 619-5311; e-
mail address: clantz@pd.state.gov to request a Solicitation Package. 
The Solicitation Package contains detailed award criteria, required 
application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard 
guidelines for proposal preparation. Please specify Bureau Program 
Officer Carolyn Lantz on all other inquiries and correspondence.
    Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before 
sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFP deadline has 
passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants 
until the proposal review process has been completed.

To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet

    The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's 
website at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfps. Please read all 
information before downloading.

Deadline for Proposals

    All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs by 5:00 p.m. Washington, DC time on Friday, July 
28, 2000. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents 
postmarked the due date but received on a later date will not be 
accepted. Each applicant must ensure that the proposals are received by 
the above deadline.
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original proposal and eight copies of the application 
should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C-00-58, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, 
Room 336, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20547.
    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 
``Proposal Narrative'' sections of the proposal on a 3.5" diskette, 
formatted for DOS. These documents must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) 
format with a maximum line length of 65 characters. The Bureau will 
transmit these files electronically to the Public Affairs Section at 
the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for its review.

Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines

    Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must 
maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and 
representative of the diversity of American political, social, and 
cultural life. ``Diversity'' should be interpreted in the broadest 
sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to 
ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic 
status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to 
adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program 
administration and in program content. Please refer to the review 
criteria under the ``Support for Diversity'' section for specific 
suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public 
Law 104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of educational and 
cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom 
and democracy,'' the Bureau ``shall take

[[Page 36215]]

appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such 
programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries.'' 
Proposals should reflect advancement of this goal in their program 
contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

Year 2000 Compliance Requirement (Y2K Requirement)

    The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting 
problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing 
information in accordance with Federal management and program specific 
requirements including data exchange with the Bureau. The inability to 
process information in accordance with Federal requirements could 
result in grantees being required to return funds that have not been 
accounted for properly.
    The Bureau therefore requires all organizations use Y2K compliant 
systems including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must 
accurately process data and dates (calculating, comparing and 
sequencing) both before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and 
correctly adjust for leap years.
    Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the 
General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology 
website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.

Review Process

    The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will 
review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed 
ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein 
and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be 
reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Diplomacy section 
overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to 
panels of Bureau officers for advisory review. Proposals may also be 
reviewed by the Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Department 
elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the 
Department of State's Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public 
Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants or 
cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Authority

    Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the 
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-
256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of 
the Act is ``to enable the Government of the United States to increase 
mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the 
people of other countries * * * ; to strengthen the ties which unite us 
with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural 
interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United 
States and other nations * * * and thus to assist in the development of 
friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States 
and the other countries of the world.'' The funding authority for the 
program above is provided through legislation.

Notice

    The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may 
not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information 
provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be 
binding. Issuance of the RFP does not constitute an award commitment on 
the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, 
revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of 
the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject 
to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

Notification

    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.

    Dated: May 30, 2000.
Evelyn S. Lieberman,
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-14361 Filed 6-6-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-11-P





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