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[Federal Register: February 22, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 36)]
[Notices]               
[Page 11194-11196]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr22fe01-105]                         
=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3578]

Language and Cultural Enhancement Program; Request for Grant 
Proposals

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.

Program Information

    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 
have.
     Programming that builds on cultural issues that will have 
been introduced at the pre-departure orientation for all FSA FLEX 
students.
     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 
parents and

[[Page 11195]]

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/
PE/C/PY-01-36

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 
daronson@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 
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 
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 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.

Review Process

    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

[[Page 11196]]

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.

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 
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 
resource materials).
    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 
funding contributions.

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 appropriating funds 
annually for Department of State's exchange programs.

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 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.

Notification

    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]
BILLING CODE 4710-11-P


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