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[Federal Register: September 21, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 184)]
[Page 57222-57225]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 3422]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; The FREEDOM Support 
Act/Future Leaders Exchange (FSA/FLEX) Program: Host Family and School 

NOTICE: Request for Proposals.

SUMMARY: The Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the placement 
component of the FREEDOM Support Act/Future Leaders Exchange (FSA/FLEX) 
program. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the 
provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit 
proposals to recruit and select host families and schools for high 
school students between the ages of 15 and 17 from the New Independent 
States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. In addition to identifying 
schools and screening, selecting, and orienting families, organizations 
will be responsible for: Orienting students at the local level; 
providing support services for students; arranging enhancement 
activities that reinforce program goals; monitoring students during 
their stay in the U.S.; providing re-entry training; and assessing 
student performance and progress. The award of grants and the number of 
students who will participate is subject to the availability of funding 
in fiscal year 2001.

Program Information Overview


     Academic year 2001/2002 will be the ninth year of the FSA/FLEX 
program, which now includes over 8,000 alumni. This inbound, academic 
year component of the NIS Secondary School Initiative was originally 
authorized under the FREEDOM Support Act of 1992 and is funded by 
annual allocations from the Foreign Operations and State Department 
appropriations. The goals of the program are to promote mutual 
understanding and foster a relationship between the people of the NIS 
and the U.S.; assist the successor generation of the NIS to develop the 
qualities it will need to lead in the transformation of those countries 
in the 21st century; and to promote democratic values and civic 
responsibility by giving NIS youth the opportunity to live in American 
society and participate in focused activities for an academic year.


     To place approximately 1,000 pre-selected high school 
students from the NIS in qualified, well-motivated host families and 
welcoming schools.
     To expose program participants to American culture and 
democracy through homestay experiences and enhancement activities that 
will enable them to attain a broad view of the society and culture of 
the U.S.
     To encourage FSA/FLEX program participants to share their 
culture, lifestyle and traditions with U.S. citizens.
    Through participation in the FLEX program, students should:
    1. Acquire an understanding of important elements of a civil 
society. This includes concepts such as volunteerism, the idea that 
American citizens can and do act at the grassroots level to deal with 
societal problems, and an awareness of and respect for the rule of law.
    2. Acquire an understanding of a free market economy and private 
enterprise. This includes awareness of privatization and an 
appreciation of the role of the entrepreneur in economic growth.
    3. Develop an appreciation for American culture.
    4. Interact with Americans and generate enduring ties.
    5. Teach Americans about the cultures of their home countries.
    6. Gain leadership capacity that will enable them to initiate and 

[[Page 57223]]

activities in their home countries that focus on development and 
community service in their role as FLEX alumni.

Other Components

    Two organizations operating as a consortium have been awarded 
grants to perform the following functions: recruitment and selection of 
students; targeting recruitment for students with disabilities; 
assistance in documentation and preparation of IAP-66 forms; 
preparation of cross-cultural materials; pre-departure orientation; 
international travel from home to host community and return; 
facilitation of ongoing communication between the natural parents and 
placement organization, as needed; maintenance of a student database 
and provision of data to the Department of State; and ongoing follow-up 
with alumni after their return to the NIS. Additionally, a separate 
grant will be awarded for the conduct of a one-week mid-year civic 
education program in Washington, D.C., for a select number of students 
who successfully compete for the Washington program. Most of the 
students with disabilities, as well as a select number of additional 
students who are identified as needing English language enhancement 
before entering their host communities, will attend a Language and 
Cultural Enhancement (LCE) program in July 2001, which will be 
conducted under a grant awarded exclusively for that purpose. The 
announcements of the competitions for these grants will be published 


    Organizations chosen under this competition are responsible for the 
    (1) Recruitment, screening, selection, and NIS-specific orientation 
of host families;
    (2) School enrollment;
    (3) Local orientation for participants;
    (4) Placement of a small number of students with disabilities;
    (5) Ensuring that all students identified for the pre-academic-year 
LCE program have their permanent year-long placement by the time they 
arrive at the LCE program;
    (6) Specialized training of local staff and volunteers to work with 
NIS students;
    (7) Preparation and dissemination of materials to students 
pertaining to the respective placement organization;
    (8) Dispersal of program-specific information, such as alumni 
activity reports and School Administrator handbooks, to respective 
persons involved with the program (e.g., host families, school 
administrators, local coordinators);
    (9) Program-related enhancement activities;
    (10) Troubleshooting;
    (11) Communication with the organizations conducting other program 
components, when appropriate;
    (12) Evaluation of the students' performance;
    (13) Quarterly evaluation of the organization's success in 
achieving program goals;
    (14) Re-entry training to prepare students for readjustment to 
their home environments.
    Applicants may request a grant for the placement of at least 20 
students. There is no ceiling on the number of students who may be 
placed by one organization. It is anticipated that 15-20 grants will be 
awarded for this component of the FLEX program. Placements will be 
distributed throughout the U.S. Students may be clustered in one or 
more regions or dispersed. Applicants must demonstrate that training of 
local staff ensures their competence in providing NIS-specific 
orientation programs, appropriate enhancement activities, and quality 
supervision and counseling of students from the NIS. Please refer to 
the Solicitation Package, available on request from the address listed 
below, for details on essential program elements, permissible costs, 
and criteria used to select students.
    Grants should begin at the point that the complete applications on 
selected finalists are delivered to the placement organizations, no 
later than March 15, 2001. Most participants arrive in their host 
communities during the month of August and remain for 10 or 11 months 
until their departure during the period mid-May to late June 2002.
    Administration of the program must be in compliance with reporting 
and withholding regulations for federal, state, and local taxes are 
applicable. Recipient organizations should demonstrate tax regulation 
adherence in the proposal narrative and budget.
    Applicants should submit the health and accident insurance plans 
they intend to use for students on this program. If use of a private 
plan is proposed, the State Department will compare that plan with the 
Bureau plan and make a determination of which will be applicable.
    Participants will travel on J-1 visas issued by the State 
Department using a government program number. Organizations must comply 
with J-1 visa regulations in carrying out their responsibilities under 
the FLEX program. Please refer to Solicitation Package for further 

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.
    Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire 
program. Per capita costs should not exceed $5,175. 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. 
Allowable costs for the program include the following:
    (1) A monthly stipend and a one-time incidentals allowance for 
participants, as established by the Department of State;
    (2) Costs associated with student enhancement activities and 
    (3) Health and accident insurance.
    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/PY, Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20547, tel. (202) 619-6299, and fax (202) 619-5311, e-
mail 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 of Education 
and Cultural Affairs Program Officer Anna Mussman 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,

[[Page 57224]]

DC time on Monday, November 13. 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/PY-01-18, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 
336, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.

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.

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 State Department 
Geographic Area Office and Public Diplomacy section at the U.S. embassy 
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 the program idea: Proposals should exhibit 
originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's 
    2. Program planning: 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 
    3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be 
reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly 
demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and 
    4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen 
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of 
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual 
    5. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate 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).
    6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or 
project's goals.
    7. Institution's Record/Ability: 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 Bureau Grant 
Staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior 
recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
    8. 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. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus 
description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original 
project objectives are recommended. Successful applicants will be 
expected to submit quarterly reports, which should be included as an 
inherent component of the work plan.
    9. 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 


    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 pertaining to the 
Department of State and FREEDOM Support Act appropriations.


    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.

[[Page 57225]]

    Dated: September 15, 2000.
Helena Kane Finn,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
[FR Doc. 00-24284 Filed 9-20-00; 8:45 am]