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[Federal Register: July 13, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 135)]
[Page 43393-43395]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 3359]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; A Writer's 
Perspective on Contemporary Social Issues in the United States

NOTICE: Request for Proposals.
SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, announces a 
competition for a project designed for Vietnam titled A Writer's 
Perspective on Contemporary Social Issues in the United States. U.S. 
public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions 
described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501 ( c ) may submit proposals.

Program Information:

    Overview: Within Vietnam there is a lack of understanding of U.S. 
culture and society. This circumstance derives from decades of 
isolation and often makes Vietnamese cautious about cooperating with 
the U.S. One of the best ways to promote increased understanding of the 
U.S. is to enable Vietnamese writers, artists, journalists and 
academics to meet and discuss with American writers and academic 
specialists on contemporary social issues and observe how American 
social critics express concerns over these issues.
    The proposed program would bring a delegation of 13 Vietnamese to 
the United States for a three-week study tour. During the study tour, 
members of the delegation should meet with range of writers who write 
on social and political issues. These meetings will explore how 
American writers, both fiction and nonfiction, influence the public's 
perception of contemporary political and social questions. A key 
element of the project is how writers define their role as social and 
political critics and how the written word can play a role in framing 
the issues confronting society. Additional meetings should be scheduled 
with American journalists from both the print and the electronic media 
who write about contemporary social issues. Finally, the study tour 
should permit the participants to experience the ethnic and cultural 
diversity of the U.S. It is anticipated that the program will be 
conducted between September 2000 and December 2000. The grant should be 
awarded by mid-July. Applicants should identify the local organizations 
and individuals with whom they are proposing to collaborate and 
describe in detail previous cooperative programming and/or contacts.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guidelines

    Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years 
of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be 
limited to $60,000. The total requested from the Bureau not exceed 
$190,000. Please note: All funding decisions are subject to final 
Congressional action. Additional budget guidelines are explained in the 
Solicitation Package.
    Allowable costs for the program include the following:
    1. International and domestic air fares; visas; transit costs; 
ground transportation costs.
    2. Per Diem. For the U.S. program, organizations have the option of 
using a flat $160/day for program participants or the published U.S. 
Federal per diem rates for individual American cities. For activities 
outside the U.S., the published Federal per diem rates must be used. 
NOTE: U.S. escorting staff must use the published Federal per diem 
rates, not the flat rate. Per diem rates may be accessed at 
    3. Interpreters: If needed, interpreters for the U.S. program are 
provided by the State Department's Language Services Division. 
Typically, a pair of simultaneous interpreters is provided for every 
four visitors who need interpretation. Bureau grants do not pay for 
foreign interpreters to accompany delegations from their home country. 
Grant proposal budgets should contain a flat $160/day per diem for each 
Department of State interpreter, as well as home-program-home air 
transportation of $400 per interpreter plus any U.S. travel expenses 
during the program. Salary expenses are covered centrally and should 
not be part of an applicant's proposed budget.
    4. Book and cultural allowance: Participants are entitled to and 
escorts are reimbursed a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per 
person, plus a participant book allowance of $50. U.S. staff do not get 
these benefits.
    5. Consultants. May be used to provide specialized expertise or to 
make presentations. Daily honoraria generally do not exceed $250 per 
day. Subcontracting organizations may also be used, in which case the 
written agreement between the prospective grantee and subcontractor 
should be included in the proposal.
    6. Room rental, which generally should not exceed $250 per day.
    7. Materials development. Proposals may contain costs to purchase, 
develop, and translate materials for participants.
    8. One working meal per project. Per capita costs may not exceed 
$5-8 for a lunch and $14-20 for a dinner, excluding room rental. The 
number of invited guests may not exceed participants by more than a 
factor of two-to-one.
    9. A return travel allowance of $70 for each participant which is 
to be used for incidental expenditures incurred during international 
    10. All Bureau-funded delegates will be covered under the terms of 
a Bureau-sponsored health insurance policy. The premium is paid by the 
Bureau directly to the insurance company.
    11. Other costs necessary for the effective administration of the 
program, including salaries for grant organization employees, benefits, 
and other direct and indirect costs per detailed instructions in the 
application package.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau 
concerning this RFP should reference the above title and number ECA/PE/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/
PE/C, Room 224, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20547, telephone number 202/619-5326 and fax number 202/
260-0440, Internet address, 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 Raymond H. Harvey 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

[[Page 43394]]

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 Please read all information before 
    Deadline for Proposals: All proposal copies must be received at the 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, DC 
time on Thursday, September 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 and ten copies of the application should be sent 
to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/C-00-55, 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 for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it 
takes to get embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review process.

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 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

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.

Review Criteria

    Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed 
according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank 
ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:
    1. Quality of Program Idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, 
substance, precision, and relevance to the Agency mission.
    2. Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Program Objectives: Detailed 
agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive 
undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda and plan should adhere to 
the program overview and guidelines described above. Objectives should 
be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly 
demonstrate how the institution will meet the program objectives and 
    3. Multiplier Effect/Impact: Proposed programs should strengthen 
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of 
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual 
    4. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate the 
substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and 
relevant features should be cited in both program administration 
(selection of participants, program venue, and program evaluation) and 
program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, 
resource materials, and follow-up activities
    5. Institutional Capacity/Reputation/Ability: Proposed personnel 
and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to 
achieve the program's or project's goal. Proposals should demonstrate 
an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including 
responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting 
requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by USIA's Office of 
Contracts. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior 
recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
    6. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for 
continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) which ensures 
that Bureau-supported programs are not isolated events.
    7. Evaluation Plan: Proposals should provide a plan for a thorough 
and objective evaluation of the program/project by the grantee 
    8. Cost-Effectiveness/Cost Sharing: The overhead and administrative 
components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be 
kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and 
appropriate. Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other 
private sector support as well as institutional direct funding 

[[Page 43395]]

    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.


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

    Dated: June 27, 2000.
Evelyn S. Lieberman,
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-17255 Filed 7-12-00; 8:45 am]