[Federal Register: August 23, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 164)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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. 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
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
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.
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.
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: 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]
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