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[Federal Register: February 15, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 32)]
[Notices]               
[Page 10553-10555]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15fe01-93]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3572]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Regional Scholar Exchange Program; Notice: Request for Grant 
Proposals

SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces an open competition 
for administration of the Regional Scholar Exchange Program for the 
academic year 2002-2003. Public and private non-profit organizations 
meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may 
submit proposals to administer recruitment, selection, placement, 
monitoring, evaluation, and follow-on activities.
    Program Information: The Regional Scholar Exchange Program provides 
opportunities for junior and mid-level university faculty, researchers, 
and scholars in the social sciences and humanities from the Newly 
Independent States (NIS) and the United States to receive fellowships 
for study at U.S. and NIS institutions.
    All RSEP fellows are matched with host advisors who guide their 
research and professional development. All fellows conduct research on 
specific topics, write academic papers, articles and books, and deliver 
lectures with the goal of contributing to the further development of 
higher education and scholarship in their home countries. Fellowships 
are for a duration of four months for scholars from the NIS and up to 
nine months for scholars from the United States.
    ECA will consider awarding one or more grants for this program. 
Applicant organizations may apply to recruit and host all fellows or a 
number of fellows considered feasible and reasonable for the 
organization. Should more than one organization be selected to 
administer the program, the Bureau will decide on the distribution of 
fellows between administering organizations.
    Should an applicant organization wish to work with other 
organizations in the implementation of this program, a sub grant 
agreement must be arranged. Programs and projects must conform with 
Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the Solicitation 
Package. ECA programs are subject to the availability of funds. 
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.
    Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire 
program or any number of fellows that the organization applies to 
administer. The total award for the entire program will not exceed 
$2,000,000. If more than one organization is awarded a grant, the 
Bureau will divide the total funding between the organizations. There 
must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both 
administrative and program budgets. The Bureau encourages applicants to 
provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding from private sources 
in support of its programs. 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 RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/A/
E/EUR-01-10.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Office of Academic Exchange 
Programs, ECA/A/E/EUR, Room 246, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Phone: 202-205-0525; Fax: 202-260-
7985, ljilka@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 
Manager Lucy Jilka on all other inquiries and correspondence. Please 
read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending 
inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP

[[Page 10554]]

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: 
http://exchanges.state.gov/education/RFGPs. 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, DC 
time on April 6, 2001. 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 eight copies of the application should be 
sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/E/EUR-01-10, Program Management, ECA/EX/
PM, Room 534, 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 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.'' Public Law 106-113 requires that 
the governments of the countries described above do not have 
inappropriate influence in the selection process. Proposals should 
reflect advancement of these goals in their program content, to the 
fullest 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 Public Affairs Sections 
overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to 
panels of Department of State 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 Assistant Secretary for Educational and 
Cultural 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 plan: Proposals should include academic 
rigor, thorough conception of the project, demonstration of meeting 
participants' needs, contributions to understanding the partner 
country, specific details of recruitment, selection, placement, 
professional development, and monitoring processes, proposed alumni and 
follow-on activities, alumni tracking, qualifications and expertise of 
program staff and participants, and relevance to ECA's mission and U.S. 
foreign policy goals and objectives.
    2. Program planning and organizational capacity: A detailed work 
plan and time line should demonstrate the organization's logistical and 
administrative capacity to implement the program. Proposals must 
demonstrate how the organization and its staff will meet the program's 
objectives and work plan. Proposed personnel and organizational 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to implement the program 
requirements and achieve program objectives.
    3. Organization's track record: ECA will consider relevant ECA and 
outside assessments of the organization's experience in developing, 
implementing, administering, and evaluating scholarly research 
exchanges with the NIS, including responsible fiscal management and 
full compliance with all reporting requirements for past ECA grants as 
determined by ECA's Office of Contracts. ECA will consider the past 
performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new 
applicants.
    4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs must demonstrate an 
impact on the wider community of scholars, policy makers, opinion-
leaders, and public, private, and third sector professionals through 
the sharing of information and the establishment of long-term 
institutional and individual linkages among U.S. and NIS scholars and 
practitioners.
    5. Cost effectiveness and 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. Organizations should maximize cost sharing 
through other private sector support as well as institutional direct 
funding contributions.
    6. Support of diversity and pluralism: Proposals should demonstrate 
substantive support of ECA's policy on diversity through the 
recruitment, selection and placement of participants, to the extent 
feasible for the applicant organizations.
    7. Alumni and follow-on activities: Proposals should provide a plan 
for alumni and other follow-on activities (without ECA support) which 
ensures that ECA supported programs are coordinated with and 
incorporated into other ECA and PAS alumni activities so that fellows 
may benefit from overall ECA supported alumni programs.
    8. Program evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate 
the program's success. A results-oriented draft survey questionnaire or 
other technique plus a description of a methodology to be used to link 
outcomes to original project objectives is required as well as a 
comprehensive plan to track participants before, during, and after 
their fellowships.

Authority

    Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the 
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act

[[Page 10555]]

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 cited above is provided 
through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Notice

    The terms and conditions published in this RFGP 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 RFGP 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. In addition, it reserves the 
right to accept proposals in whole or in part and make an award or 
awards in accordance with what serves the best interest of the Regional 
Scholar Exchange Program. 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: February 7, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-3756 Filed 2-14-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-U


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