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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: August 23, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 164)]
[Notices]               
[Page 44425-44427]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23au01-120]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3757]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Language and Cultural Enhancement Program

NOTICE: Request for Grant Proposals.

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

SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, Youth ProgramsDivision of the 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open 
competition for a Language and Cultural Enhancement Program (LCE). 
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 
Enhancement program from mid-July to mid-August, 2002 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 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 $105,000.

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 2002/2003 will be the tenth year of the FSA/FLEX 
program, which now includes over 10,000 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 Pre-TOEFL proficiency examination. To address this concern, a pre-
academic year English language Enhancement program was developed so 
that some students from the remote areas could be selected whose Pre-
TOEFL scores were slightly lower than the standard required by the 
program. 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 and focusing primarily on conversation and comprehension.
     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.
     Developing independence skills for disabled students, 
specifically blind students who may need English Braille training as 
well as assistance in specific techniques, e.g., using a cane.
     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 
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, ``placement organizations'' will, through a grants 
competition, place the 2002-2003 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. 
Ideally, the program should take place from mid-July to mid-August, 
2002. 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 provide 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

[[Page 44426]]

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.
    Pending availability of funds, applicants may assume that grant 
activity will begin on or about May 1, 2002. 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 $105,000 to support program and administrative costs required 
to implement this program. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide 
maximum levels of cost-sharing and funding from private sources in 
support of its programs.
    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-02-20.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Youth Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/PY, 
Room 568, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 
20547, tel. (202) 619-6299, fax (202) 619-5311, e-mail 
lbeach@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 Anna Mussman on all other inquiries and correspondence.
    Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before 
sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFGP 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/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 5:00 p.m. Washington, DC time on Monday, 
October 1, 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-02-20, Program Management, ECA-IIP/
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 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

[[Page 44427]]

(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. Disability resource specialist(s) should have 
appropriate background and experience, and proposal must ensure that 
students with disabilities will be provided with adequate supports and 
reasonable accommodations.

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: August 17, 2001.
Helena Kane Finn,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 01-21344 Filed 8-22-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-11-P



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