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[Federal Register: July 13, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 135)]
[Page 43390-43393]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 3358]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Program Title: Near 
East and North Africa Democracy Initiative

NOTICE: Request for Proposals.
SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State announces 
an open competition for grants under the Near East and North Africa 
Democracy Initiative. U.S. public and private non-profit organizations 
meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may 
submit proposals to develop and implement exchange programs involving 
participants from Tunisia. Two grant awards are anticipated, as 
outlined below.


    The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, consults with and supports 
American public and private nonprofit organizations in developing and 
implementing multi-phased, often multi-year, exchanges of 
professionals, academics, youth leaders, public policy advocates, etc. 
These exchanges address issues crucial to both the United States and 
the foreign countries involved, they represent focused, substantive, 
and cooperative interaction among counterparts, and they entail both 
theoretical and experiential learning for all participants. A primary 
goal is the development of sustained, international, institutional and 
individual linkages. In addition to providing a context for 
professional development and collaborative, international problem-
solving, these projects are intended to introduce Foreign participants 
and their American counterparts to one another's political, social, and 
economic structures. Desirable components of an exchange may be local 
citizen involvement and activities that orient foreign participants to 
American society and culture.
    The Near East and North African Democracy Initiative is based on 
the premise that people-to-people exchanges that focus on enhancing 
human capacity and on encouraging and strengthening democratic 
initiatives nurture the social, political, and economic development of 
society. In response to the aspirations of this program, the Office of 
Citizen Exchanges solicits proposals for two exchange projects that 
respond to the project foci and guidelines suggested below.
    1. Citizen Participation and Advocacy: Building and Strengthening 
Non-governmental Organizations.
    Social and political activism, encouraged, focused, and channeled 
through non-governmental organizations, is a basic underpinning of 
democratic society. Strengthening NGO advocacy skills, management, 
grassroots support, recruitment and motivation of volunteers, 
fundraising and financial management, media relations, and networking 
for mutual support and reinforcement encourages democratic development. 
Among other emphases, this project should focus on computer training 
and on developing cooperation between educators and NGO's for community 
action. Participants in this exchange should be leaders and potential 
leaders (social activists; public policy advocates; professionals) of 
NGO's. It is essential that organizations submitting proposals in this 
category recognize that democratic activism and foreign involvement 
with local NGO's must be carefully thought out and approached with 
sensitivity and subtlety. Close consultation with American Mission 
officers is critical. Grant requests should not exceed $125,000. ECA 
anticipates awarding one grant under this theme.
    2. Developing Leadership for Democratic Institutions.
    Political democracy is characterized by the existence of diverse 
political groupings, representing varying approaches to governing and 
service, from which an electorate may choose its leadership. Such 
groupings represent viable governing potential only when, under 
informed and skilled leadership, they are organized, more or less 
unified in perspective, able to articulate policy alternatives and to 
communicate with the electorate, capable of attracting workers and 
motivating volunteers, and able to raise funds and manage finances. The 
development of skilled leadership, upon which all other requirements 
depend, is the goal of this project. Participants should be leaders or 
potential leaders of nascent political parties in Tunisia. Applicants 

[[Page 43391]]

focus on democratic orientation, development of the skills necessary 
for successful organizational management and leadership, and both 
theoretical and experiential introduction to best practices in party 
building and strengthening. Grant requests should not exceed $125,000. 
ECA anticipates awarding one grant under this theme.
    Activities for the above projects might include:
    1. Initial needs assessment/orientation travel (if necessary) by 
American organizers to develop contacts and relationships with both 
American Mission officers and counterpart organizations/individuals in 
    2. A U.S.-based program, including orientation to program purposes 
and to U.S. society, discussions, site visits, limited shadowing or 
internship opportunities
    3. A return visit by selected American professionals to collaborate 
with participants in the U.S.-based program in conducting workshops, 
seminars, on-site training, networking
    4. Longer, intensive internship in the U.S. for two or three 
selected Tunisian participants
    The Office of Citizen Exchanges encourages applicants to be 
creative in planning project implementation. Activities may include 
both theoretical orientation and experiential, community-based 
initiatives designed to achieve concrete objectives.
    Applicants should, in their proposals, identify any partner 
organizations and/or individuals in the U.S. with which/whom they are 
proposing to collaborate and justify on the basis of experience, 
accomplishments, etc.
Selection of Participants
    Successful applications should include a description of an open, 
merit-based participant selection process. Applicants should anticipate 
working closely with the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy in 
Tunis in selecting participants, with the Embassy retaining the right 
to nominate participants and to advise the grantee regarding 
participants recommended by other entities.
Public Affairs Section Involvement
    The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassies (PAS) play an 
important role in project implementation. Posts evaluate project 
proposals, coordinate planning with the grantee organization and in-
country partners, facilitate in-country activities, nominate 
participants and vet grantee nominations, observe in-country 
activities, debrief participants, and evaluate project impact. U.S. 
Missions are responsible for issuing IAP-66 forms in order for foreign 
participants to obtain the necessary J-1 visas for entry to the United 
States. They also serve as a link to in-country partners and 
    Though project administration and implementation are the 
responsibility the grantee, the grantee is expected to inform the PAS 
in participating countries of its operations and procedures and to 
coordinate with and involve PAS officers in the development of project 
activities. The PAS should be consulted regarding country priorities, 
political and cultural sensitivities, current security issues, and 
related logistic and programmatic issues.
Visa Regulations
    Foreign participants on programs sponsored by ECA are granted J-1 
Exchange Visitor visas by the U.S. Embassy in the sending country. All 
programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.
Budget Guidelines
    Applicants must submit a comprehensive line item budget based on 
guidance provided in the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) of the 
Solicitation Package. Maximum award amounts are cited above. Grants 
awarded to organizations with less than four years of experience in 
conducting international exchange programs will not be considered under 
this competition.
    Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire 
program. Awards may not exceed the amounts cited in the guidelines 
above. 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. Proposals should present evidence of 
cost sharing--in cash or in kind--representing approximately 33% or 
more of the total cost of the exchange project.
    Allowable costs include the following:
    (1) Direct program expenses
    (2) Adminstrative expenses, including indirect costs
    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-00-70.

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, attention: Thomas Johnston. Telephone number 202/
260-0299 or 202/619-5325; fax number 202/619-4350; 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 Thomas Johnston on 
all 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: 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 p.m. Washington, D.C. 
time on Friday, October 6, 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-00-70, 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 US 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

[[Page 43392]]

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 
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 by the Public Diplomacy 
section of the U.S. Mission overseas. Eligible proposals will be 
forwarded to panels of State Department 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 the program idea: Proposals should be substantive, 
well thought out, focused on issues of demonstrable relevance to all 
proposed participants, and responsive, in general, to the exchange 
suggestions and guidelines provided above.
    2. Implementation Plan and Ability to Achieve Objectives: A 
detailed project implementation plan should establish a clear and 
logical connection between the interest, the expertise, and the 
logistic capacity of the applicant and the objectives to be achieved. 
The plan should discuss, in concrete terms, how the institution 
proposes to achieve the objectives. Institutional resources--including 
personnel--assigned to the project should be adequate and appropriate 
to achieve project objectives. The substance of workshops and site 
visits should be included as an attachment, and the responsibilities of 
U.S. participants and in-country partners should be clearly described.
    3. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should include an 
institutional record of successful exchange programs, with reference to 
responsible fiscal management and full compliance with reporting 
requirements. The Bureau will consider the demonstrated potential of 
new applicants and will evaluate the performance record of prior 
recipients of Bureau grants as reported by the Bureau grant staff.
    4. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for 
sustained follow-on activity (building on the linkages developed under 
the grant and the activities initially funded by the grant, after grant 
funds have been depleted), ensuring that Bureau-supported projects are 
not isolated events.
    5. Project Evaluation/Monitoring: Proposals should include a plan 
to monitor and evaluate the project's implementation, both as the 
activities unfold and at the end of the program. Reports should include 
both accomplishments and problems encountered. A discussion of survey 
methodology or other disclosure/measurement techniques, plus a 
description of how outcomes are defined in terms of the project's 
original objectives, is recommended. Successful applicants will be 
expected to submit a report after each project component is concluded 
or semi-annually, whichever is less frequent.
    6. Impact: Proposed projects should, through the establishment of 
substantive, sustainable individual and institutional linkages and 
encouraging maximum sharing of information and cross-boundary 
cooperation, enhance mutual understanding among communities and 
    7. Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Administrative costs should 
be kept low. Proposal budgets that provide evidence of cost sharing, 
comprised of cash or in-kind contributions, representing 33 percent or 
more of the total cost of the exchange will be given priority 
consideration. Cost sharing may be derived from diverse sources, 
including private sector contributions and/or direct institutional 
    8. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate support for 
the Bureau's policy on diversity. Features relevant to this policy 
should be cited in program implementation (selection of participants, 
program venue, and program evaluation), program content, and program 

    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 revise, reduce, or increase proposal 
budgets in accordance with the needs of the program

[[Page 43393]]

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. 00-17254 Filed 7-12-00; 8:45 am]