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[Federal Register: February 22, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 36)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 3578]
Language and Cultural Enhancement Program; Request for Grant
AGENCY: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; State.
SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth Programs Division of
the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open
competition for a Language and Cultural Enhancement Program. Public and
private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in
IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to conduct a four-
week homestay-based, English Language and Cultural Enrichment program
from mid-July to mid-August, 2001 for 50 students from the New
Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union selected for the
Freedom Support Act (FSA) Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program.
Approximately 15 of the participants will be students with physical
disabilities who were specially recruited and selected. The remaining
35 students will be from more isolated regions of the NIS, where there
is less opportunity for quality English instruction. The purpose of the
program is to raise the English capability of these students to the
level where they are able to attend regular classes when their academic
program starts in the fall. Additionally, this program will ease the
acculturation process when students transit to their permanent host
families and communities. Only one grant will be awarded. Funds
requested for this project may not exceed $100,000.
Objectives: To prepare a select group of students with special
needs to attend school in the fall and perform at a level closer to
that of those FSA/FLEX students who make up the majority of the program
finalists. To provide students with cultural tools and strategies that
will foster a successful exchange experience.
Background: Academic year 2001/2002 will be the ninth year of the
FSA/FLEX program, which now includes over 8,000 alumni. This 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 Department of State 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 for an academic year.
During the program's early years, there was concern that students
from the more remote regions of the NIS might be underrepresented
because the lack of English competence in those regions could prevent
applicants from meeting the rigorous English language requirements of
the FLEX recruitment process, including attaining a reasonable score on
the Secondary Level English Proficiency (SLEP) examination. To address
this concern, a pre-academic year English language enrichment program
was developed so that some students from the remote areas could be
selected whose SLEP scores were slightly lower than average. In 1996,
the FLEX program added a component incorporating students with
disabilities, who do have a need for some special language and cultural
training before initiating their academic year program. The enhancement
program for which proposals are being solicited here is in support of
both groups of students.
The essential components of the enhancement program are:
A four-week course of study in English, approximately 5.5
hours a day, to build on the language skills that the students already
Programming that builds on cultural issues that will have
been introduced at the pre-departure orientation for all FSA FLEX
Orientation programming that addresses the special needs
of the students with disabilities and their unique adjustment issues.
Accommodation with volunteer host families for the period
of the workshop.
Preparing the students for the transition to their
permanent host families and communities.
Other Components: Two organizations have already been awarded
grants to perform the following functions: recruitment and selection of
all FLEX students; preparation of cross-cultural materials; pre-
departure orientation; international travel from home to host community
and return; facilitation of ongoing communication between the natural
placement organizations, as needed; maintenance of a student database
and provision of data to Department of State; and ongoing follow-up
with alumni upon their return to the NIS.
Additionally, 17 ``placement organizations'' have been selected
through a grants competition to place the 2001-2002 FSA FLEX students
in schools and homestays for the academic year, to monitor their
progress, and to conduct program-related cultural enrichment
activities. The organization selected for the Language and Cultural
Enhancement Program will be asked to interact with the placement
organizations to ensure the students' smooth transition from this pre-
academic training to their permanent placements.
Guidelines: Applicants should consult the Project Objectives Goals
and Implementation (POGI) guidelines for a detailed statement of work.
The program must take place from mid-July to mid-August, 2001. The
venue for the program should be one with minor distractions to enable
students to focus on the coursework and experience life in a typical
American family and community. It should be conducive to a smooth
transition to the students' permanent placements. Whenever possible,
the coursework should have a forward-focus that provides opportunities
for students to view situations in the context of the host family and
community to which they'll be going, rather than the LCE host family
with whom they are staying only for the duration of this special
program. The region in which the LCE program is taking place should
also have resources that can be drawn upon for cultural enrichment.
Students with disabilities will need to be carefully assessed by
someone with expertise in working with persons with disabilities. This
individual(s) should also provide support and serve as a resource on
disabilities for the LCE teachers, as well as the students, during the
duration of the program. At all times, reasonable accommodations must
be provided, as needed, for all participants with disabilities. FLEX
participants travel on J-1 visas issued by the Department of State
using a government program number. The students are covered by the
health and accident insurance policies used by their placement
organizations. The grantee organization will acknowledge its
responsibility to coordinate with the appropriate organization(s) any
time medical treatment is needed for the duration of the students'
participation in the enhancement program.
Applicants may assume that grant activity will begin by May 1,
2001. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to
the 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 Bureau anticipates awarding
one grant in the amount of $100,000 to support program and
administrative costs required to implement this program.
Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire
program. 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. See POGI for allowable
costs for the program. 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/
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY,
Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington,
D.C. 20547, tel. (202) 619-6299, fax (202) 619-5311, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Diana Aronson 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
http://exchanges.state.gov/education/rfps. Please read all information
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 Monday, March 29,
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 seven 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-01-36, Program Management, ECA/EX/
PM, Room 534, 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.'' 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 contents, to the
full extent deemed feasible.
The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all 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 other Bureau officers, 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 Bureau elements. Final
funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final
technical authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative
agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.
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
mission. Integration of language and culture components should adhere
to stated objectives of this project.
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
above. Refer to POGI regarding elements that should be included in a
calendar of activities/timetable.
3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be
measurable, tangible and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate
how the organization will meet the program's objectives and plan.
4. 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
staff and speakers, program venue, host families) and program content
(curriculum, orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, and
5. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or
project's goals. Coordinator responsible for curriculum, materials
development and instruction should demonstrate relevant ESL/U.S.
culture teaching experience and qualifications.
6. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an
institutional record of successful language/culture 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.
7. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate
the program's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of
the program. A draft survey questionnaire, tests, or other techniques
plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original
project objectives is recommended. Successful applicant will be
expected to submit a final report after project is concluded.
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
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 appropriating funds
annually for Department of State's exchange programs.
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 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: February 12, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs,
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-4396 Filed 2-21-01; 8:45 am]
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