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[Federal Register: August 2, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 149)]
[Page 47553-47555]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 3379]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Proposals; 
Office of Citizen Exchanges; Community Connections Program: U.S. 

SUMMARY: Public and private non-profit 
organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 
1.501(c) may submit proposals to organize and implement Community 
Connections, a community-based, professional exchange program for 
business entrepreneurs and other professionals from Russia, Ukraine, 
Moldova, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The 
objective of Community Connections is to enhance the participants' 
skills in business and entrepreneurship, law, local governance, 
management, infrastructure development, curriculum development, and 
other professional-level fields. The Bureau is interested in proposals 
that provide both professional experience and exposure to American life 
and culture through internships hosted by U.S. businesses and other 
local institutions, and home stays with local community members. An 
overall objective of Community Connections is to establish long-term 

[[Page 47554]]

relationships among U.S. and international colleagues and communities. 
This program is not academic in nature. Rather, it is designed to 
provide practical, hands-on training in American business, legal, and 
public/private sector settings that can be transferred upon an 
individual's return home. The Bureau welcomes innovative proposals that 
combine elements of professional enrichment, job shadowing and 
internships appropriate to the language ability and interests of the 

    Note: The proposal submitted should not include any program 
activities related to the NIS recruitment and selection of Community 
Connections participants.

    Specific Bureau program objectives are outlined in the attached 
Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI) document.

Program Information

    Participating organizations will be expected to host both English 
speaking business internship participants and professional development 
participants with little or no English-language skills.
    Pending availability of funds, the Bureau estimates that 
approximately 1,800 professionals will participate in the FY 2001-
funded Community Connections program. All participants will be 
recruited from the selected regions by experienced U.S. organizations 
with offices in participating NIS countries. The Bureau expects that 
approximately 800 participants will be from Russia, 500 from Ukraine, 
and the remainder from Moldova, Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 
and Kazakhstan. Business internships generally are four to six weeks in 
length, and programs for other professionals generally run from three 
to four weeks in length. It is expected that programs will take place 
beginning in the fall of 2001 through the fall of 2002. Please take 
care to allow sufficient time between programs to prepare for the 
following group. Organizations that have not hosted Community 
Connections participants before are invited to submit a proposal to 
host 20 participants in total during the first year in the program. In 
an effort to minimize administrative expenses, all organizations must 
host participants in groups of ten participants each. Participants will 
be assigned to U.S. host communities by the Office of Citizen 
Exchanges, based on the following factors: existing ties between the 
regions of origin of the participants, the locations of the U.S. 
grantee organizations, the professional interests of the participants, 
preferences of the U.S. host community, any existing relationship with 
a community in the NIS, and the areas of strength of U.S. grantee 
organizations. 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. Organizations must submit a comprehensive line item 
budget based on the specific guidance in the Solicitation Package. For 
your reference, past programs have averaged a total of $6,500 for each 
participant hosted. Please use this figure as a guide when preparing a 
budget for Community Connections business and professional programs. 
Contingent upon the availability of funds from one fiscal year to the 
next, the Bureau intends to establish long-term continuing 
relationships with U.S. organizations that have demonstrated particular 
expertise in the planning and administration of long standing programs 
of importance to United States foreign policy, such as Community 
Connections. Accordingly, the Bureau reserves the right to extend 
grants programs found to be effective, by annual amendment for up to 
three additional fiscal years (not to exceed five years total), to 
provide continued support for this program. At the Bureau's discretion, 
organizations may be requested to continue activities for specific 
audiences or to expand their scope of the programming (e.g., an 
organization may be requested to host participants from the same or 
another discipline--local government, business, or legal profession--
from the same or from another country included in the program) to meet 
the changing needs of the Community Connection program. Specific budget 
guidelines are outlined in the attached Project Objectives, Goals, and 
Implementation (POGI) document.

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFP should 
reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C-01-13.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, 
Community Connections Program ECA/PE/C/EUR, Room 220, U.S. Department 
of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20547, 202-401-6884, 
202-260-0440, 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 Senior 
Program Officer Brent Beemer 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 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, 
December 1, 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 8 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-01-13, Program 
Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 336 301 4th Street, SW,. Washington, D.C. 

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

[[Page 47555]]

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.

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. 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. Program planning and ability to achieve objectives: Detailed 
agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate careful and thorough 
preparation to carry out substantive programs that have a high 
likelihood of achieving program objectives. Agenda and plan should 
adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. 
Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible.
    2. Institutional capability: Organization should demonstrate 
sufficient skills and experience in hosting visitors from other 
countries and ability to utilize local business, legal and governmental 
resources and voluntary support. Thematic expertise in project subject 
matter must be demonstrated.
    3. Cost-effectiveness: 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 also maximize cost-sharing through other private 
sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.
    4. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate the 
recipient's commitment to promoting the awareness and understanding of 
    5. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate 
the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of 
the program. The Bureau recommends that the proposal include a draft 
survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a 
methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives. 
Award-receiving organizations/institutions will be expected to submit 
intermediate reports after each project component is concluded or 
quarterly, whichever is less frequent.


    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 The FREEDOM Support Act 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: July 26, 2000.
Evelyn S. Lieberman,
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
[FR Doc. 00-19571 Filed 8-1-00; 8:45 am]

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