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[Federal Register: June 14, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 115)]
[Page 32407-32409]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

[Public Notice 3698]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Edmund S. Muskie/FREEDOM Support Act Graduate Fellowship 


    Subject to the availability of funds, the Office of Academic 
Exchange Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 
announces an open competition for an assistance award. Public and 
private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in 
IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to administer the 
selection, placement, monitoring, evaluation, follow-on, and alumni 
activities for the FY 2002 Edmund S. Muskie/FREEDOM Support Act 
Graduate Fellowship Program. Proposals should include provisions for 
the recruitment of FY 2003 fellows.
    The Edmund S. Muskie/FREEDOM Support Act Graduate Fellowship 
Program (herein referred to as the Muskie/FSA Program) selects 
outstanding citizens from the New Independent States (NIS) to receive 
fellowships for Master's level study in the United States in the fields 
of business administration, economics, education, environmental 
management, international affairs, law, library and information 
science, journalism/mass communications, public administration, public 
health, and public policy. Fellowships are granted to qualified 
individuals who are citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, 
Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, 
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. Muskie/FSA Program fellows will 
be enrolled in graduate degree, certificate, and non-degree programs 
lasting one to two academic years, with the majority enrolled in two-
year degree-granting programs. It is estimated that approximately 330 
fellows will receive fellowships under the FY 2002 program. Interested 
organizations should read the entire Federal Register announcement for 
all information prior to preparing proposals.
    Organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting 
international exchange programs are not eligible for this competition.

Program Information

    Overview: The Muskie/FSA Program is designed to foster 
democratization and the transition to market economies in the NIS 
through intensive academic study and professional training. The 
academic component of the program begins in the fall semester of the 
year following the award (in this case 2002). Fellows may participate 
in a nine, twelve, eighteen, or twenty-four month academic program. 
Fellows also take part in an eight to twelve week internship during the 
summer following the first academic year, with an option for a second 
internship following the second year of study. Fellows must return to 
their home countries at the

[[Page 32408]]

conclusion of their program. The Muskie/FSA Program is not intended as 
a precursor to doctoral studies, extended professional training, or 
employment in the United States. At the end of their designated 
academic and/or internship programs, fellows are required to 
immediately return to their home countries.
    ECA will consider awarding one or more grants for this program. 
Should more than one organization be selected to administer the Muskie/
FSA Program, ECA will decide on the distribution of fellows between 
grantee organizations.
    Should an applicant organization wish to work with other 
organizations in the implementation of this program, ECA prefers that a 
sub-grant agreement be developed. However, ECA will entertain 
separately submitted proposals from two or more organizations for joint 
program management, as long as the proposals demonstrate a value-added 
relationship and clearly delineate responsibilities. Program 
responsibilities should not be duplicated and the arrangement should 
not produce prohibitive administrative expenses.
    The Muskie/FSA Program must conform to ECA requirements and 
guidelines outlined in the Solicitation Package. ECA programs are 
subject to the availability of funds and must comply with J-1 Visa 
regulations. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further 
    Applicant organizations must demonstrate the ability to administer 
all aspects of the Muskie/FSA Program--selection, university 
placements, orientation, monitoring and support of FY 2002 fellows 
including all logistics, financial management, evaluation, follow-on, 
and alumni tracking and programming, as well as advertisement for, and 
recruitment of, FY 2003 applicants in the NIS. Applicant organizations 
must demonstrate the ability to recruit and select a diverse pool of 
candidates from various geographic regions in the NIS. Organizations 
will take the lead in the recruitment and selection of appropriate host 
institutions from throughout the United States for pre-academic, 
English as a Foreign Language, and academic programs. Organizations 
will serve as the principal liaison with Muskie/FSA Program host 
institutions for ECA. Applicant organizations should demonstrate the 
ability to work with private sector organizations in the United States 
and the NIS to facilitate fellows' professional development and post-
program re-entry. Further details on specific program responsibilities 
can be found in the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation 
(POGI) Statement, which is part of the formal solicitation package 
available from ECA.
    Guidelines: The award to the grantee organization will begin on or 
about October 1, 2001 and will be approximately two years in duration. 
Recruitment and initial selection activities for FY 2002 fellows will 
be performed by the current grantee organizations. The level of funding 
for FY 2002 is uncertain, but is anticipated to be approximately 
$20,460,000. Based on this figure, applicant organizations should 
submit a budget to fund no fewer than 330 fellows. The final number of 
fellowships per country will be announced following the grant award; 
however, for planning purposes organizations should assume the 
following distribution of fellows by country: Armenia 40, Azerbaijan 
28, Belarus 9, Georgia 24, Kazakstan 15, Kyrgyzstan 11, Moldova 8, 
Russian Federation 67, Tajikistan 3, Turkmenistan 7, Ukraine 101, 
Uzbekistan 17. Additionally, applicant organizations should assume the 
following number of fellows by field of study: Business Administration 
45, Economics 30, Education 30, Environmental Management 30, 
International Affairs 35, Journalism/Mass Communications 20, Law 30, 
Library and Information Science 10, Public Administration 40, Public 
Health 30, and Public Policy 30.
    Applicant organizations are encouraged, through cost sharing and 
other methods, to provide for as many fellowships as possible above and 
beyond the minimum numbers supplied by ECA.
    Budget Guidelines: ECA grant guidelines limit organizations with 
less than four years experience conducting international exchanges to 
$60,000 in Bureau grant support. Because of the scope and complexity of 
this program, organizations with less than four years experience in 
conducting international exchanges are not eligible to apply under this 
    ECA encourages applicant organizations to provide maximum levels of 
cost sharing and funding from private sources in support of its 
programs. Applicant organizations must submit a comprehensive line item 
budget to include 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. A comprehensive narrative must 
accompany the budget, clearly explaining all proposed costs (staff 
salaries and time on task must be supported by appropriate 
documentation and certified as true and accurate representations of 
actual costs and percentage of task).
    Allowable costs for the program include the following:

(1) Program Expenses
(2) Domestic Administration
(3) Overseas Administration

    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with ECA 
concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/A/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of Academic Exchange 
Programs, ECA/A/E/EUR, Room 246, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 
4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone: (202) 619-5429, fax: 
(202) 260-7985, 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 ECA Program Officer 
Nadine Asef-Sargent on all inquiries and correspondence.
    Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before 
sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP deadline has 
passed, ECA 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 ECA'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, DC 
time, Thursday, August 9, 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 ten (10) 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-02-02, Program Management, ECA/EX/
PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 

[[Page 32409]]

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. ECA will transmit these files 
electronically to Public Affairs Sections at U.S. Embassies in the NIS 
for review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to obtain 
embassy comments for ECA's grants review process.
    Diversity, Freedom and Democracy Guidelines: Pursuant to ECA'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,'' ECA ``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, to the full extent deemed feasible.
    Review Process: ECA 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. The Program Office, as well as the 
Public Affairs Sections overseas, where appropriate, will review all 
eligible proposals. Eligible proposals will be subject to compliance 
with Federal and ECA regulations and guidelines and forwarded to ECA 
grant panels 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 
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final 
technical authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative 
agreements) resides with an ECA 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 Development: The proposal should exhibit originality, 
substance, precision, and relevance to ECA's mission. Objectives should 
be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. A detailed and relevant work 
plan should demonstrate substantive understanding of program goals and 
logistical capacity.
    2. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program's 
goals. The proposal should demonstrate an institutional record of 
successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management 
and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past ECA 
grants. ECA will consider the past performance of prior recipients and 
the demonstrated potential of new applicants.
    3. Multiplier Effect: The program should strengthen long-term 
mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and 
establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages.
    4. Support of Diversity: The proposal should demonstrate the 
applicant organization's commitment to promoting the awareness and 
understanding of diversity through participant recruitment efforts, the 
selection of U.S. host institutions, and other measures.
    5. Follow-on and Alumni Activities: The proposal should provide a 
plan for continued activity which ensures that ECA-supported programs 
are not isolated events, but have meaning and scope beyond the time the 
actual exchange took place.
    6. Project Evaluation: The proposal should include plans to 
evaluate the program's success, both during and after the program.
    7. 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.
    8. Cost-sharing: The proposal should maximize cost sharing through 
private sector support as well as institutional direct funding 
    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 
principally through FREEDOM Support Act legislation.
    Notice: The terms and conditions published in this RFGP are binding 
and may not be modified by any ECA representative. Explanatory 
information provided by ECA that contradicts published language will 
not be binding. Issuance of the RFGP does not constitute an award 
commitment on the part of the Government. ECA 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 ECA procedures.

    Dated: June 5, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-15052 Filed 6-13-01; 8:45 am]