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[Federal Register: April 11, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 70)]
[Notices]               
[Page 17751-17754]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr11ap02-116]                         
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 3974]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Burma Refugee Scholarship Program

SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the 
Burma Refugee Scholarship Program (BRSP). Public and private non-profit 
organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code 
section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to develop a scholarship 
program for approximately five Burmese students and professionals 
living in India as refugees. The BRSP scholarship recipients will 
receive undergraduate, graduate, or specialized training in a variety 
of fields at U.S. educational institutions for up to a three-year 
period.

Program Information

    Overview: In 1990, at the request of Congress, the Bureau 
established the Burma Refugee Scholarship Program. Public Law 101-246 
directed the Bureau to provide grants to Burmese students and 
professionals who fled Burmese repression after 1988 and are now living 
outside Burma.
    The goal of the BRSP is to support democratic development in Burma 
by helping to educate potential leaders who could assist with Burma's 
future transition to a democratic government. The program ensures that 
selected Burmese, who are one day expected to assume leadership roles 
in their country, have an opportunity to pursue higher education in the 
U.S. and to obtain firsthand knowledge of American democratic 
institutions. It is the Bureau's intent to provide grantees with 
programs of the highest quality that meet the students' academic and 
personal needs and to further the Bureau's mission to promote mutual 
understanding. At the present time, the BRSP grantees do not return to 
Burma following their grants, but are given Significant Public Benefit 
Parole (asylum) in the U.S.
    Guidelines: Program administration activities should cover the time 
period from approximately August 31, 2002--December 31, 2005. The 
projected grantee caseload is expected to be approximately five new 
students, who would ideally begin U.S.
    English language training in late summer/ early fall 2003. BRSP 
scholarships are offered for up to two years of specialized training or 
academic study at the undergraduate or graduate level, with the 
provision of up to one year of pre-academic English language training. 
Students with undergraduate degrees who are bridging to a master's 
program would also be eligible.
    The successful applicant organization will have responsibility for 
program administration, which includes the recruitment and selection of 
eligible Burmese candidates living in India, the placement of students 
at an appropriate U.S. academic institution, and the supervision of 
students' academic programs and personal adjustment to the United 
States.
    Administration in the Region: The organization must work closely 
with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S.
    Embassy in India to coordinate appropriate documentation for BRSP 
grantees' entry into the United States.

[[Page 17752]]

Applicant proposals should include a plan to provide for publicity, 
recruitment, and selection in India. The organization will be 
responsible for administering the program through its own resources and 
subcontractors, as required. The organization must also provide 
relocation or transition assistance to the students in the U.S. at the 
time their studies are terminated.
    Requirements and Implementation: The proposal should respond to and 
describe the following major requirements:

--Planning and monitoring the entire exchange program including
    --publicizing the program to appropriate audiences in India using 
such methods as media, alumni networks, local educational institutions, 
and NGOs;
    --distributing, answering inquiries about, and receiving 
applications. (This may require the assistance of volunteers or paid 
staff in the region and/or special mailing arrangements);
    --selecting and notifying participants;
--planning relevant travel;
--placing at U.S. universities;
--conducting orientations;
--providing housing/stipends;
--providing on-going advising and student services;
--conducting cross cultural counseling;
--planning cultural and community enrichment activities about the U.S.;
--organizing internships and professional development;
--providing evaluation and alumni activities; and
--providing careful fiscal management.

    To the extent possible, the applicant should designate a contact 
person in India who would provide assistance with dissemination and 
submission of applications.
    Length of Program: The proposed length of the Burmese refugee 
scholarships is up to three years--up to one year of intensive English-
language training followed by up to two years of academic training. The 
duration of the scholarship grant should not exceed three years. 
Students must understand this policy in advance. Where there are 
compelling circumstances, at the discretion of the project director and 
the Bureau's program officer, students may receive a limited extension 
to complete their degrees. Summer periods should be used for a mix of 
academic, professional, and cultural enrichment activities.
    Pre-academic and English-Language Training: Applicants must 
describe plans for pre-academic preparation and English-language 
training, and for administering TOEFL or other test(s) as required by 
applicant institutions. It is assumed that most participants in this 
scholarship program will need up to one year of English-language 
instruction. Several levels of intensive English-language courses, from 
beginning to advanced, should be made available. The Bureau recommends 
that participants be tested immediately after the initial orientation 
to determine which level of English-language courses is appropriate. 
Students who need additional instruction beyond the first year will be 
required to take the additional instruction at their placement 
universities.
    Recruitment: The recruitment material and scholarship publicity 
should provide all relevant information to potential applicants.
    The key conditions, benefits, and terms of the program--what is, 
and what is not covered under the grant--should be fully described to 
candidates and nominees before they accept an award and travel to the 
U.S. The description of study opportunities should be basic and include 
essential information for applicants who are unfamiliar with the U.S. 
educational system, and the policy on dependents should be described.
    Stipends: Please address the question of participant stipend levels 
in the narrative, including what expenses the stipend is intended to 
cover and the estimated monthly cost of housing provided to students. 
The current stipend level is $1025 per month.
    Fields of Study: Eligibility fields for the FY-02 program should 
respond to critical development needs in Burma, promote mutual 
understanding and potential linkages with the U.S., and attract 
academically qualified students who are likely to become future leaders 
in Burma. The program announcement might include a statement such as: 
``Eligible fields of study are drawn from the standard university 
curriculum, with priority given to agriculture, business 
administration, community/public health, economics, education, 
environmental studies, journalism, legal studies, natural resources 
management, political science, and public administration. If a subject 
area is proposed that is not among these priority fields, candidates 
should give special attention to explaining how this course of study 
would support the goals of the program.'' The final list of eligible 
fields and the text of the announcement must be reviewed and approved 
by the Office of Academic Programs, in consultation with the Bureau's 
East Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau (EAP/PD), prior to program 
implementation.
    Selection Criteria: The Burma Refugee Scholarship Program is 
targeted toward Burmese students and professionals who reside outside 
Burma. The proposal should outline the selection criteria and selection 
process for the program. A corresponding statement of the selection 
criteria should be included in the program announcement for potential 
applicants. The leadership elements and the expectation that students 
will be active alumni following the conclusion of the program should be 
emphasized. Applicants should work closely with the Bureau in 
developing the selection criteria.
    Timeline: The proposal should include a projected timeline, from 
the first recruitment announcement to student arrival and placement in 
the U.S., which takes into consideration the logistical and 
communications obstacles in the region. These include immigration 
requirements, travel arrangements, obtaining student records, and other 
time-consuming activities. The timeline should include dates of key 
events, such as ``candidates notified,'' ``pre-arrival materials 
mailed,'' etc.
    U.S. Educational System, American Culture, and Institutions: It is 
essential that prior to arrival, as well as during orientation, 
applicants and participants be informed of the general nature, 
philosophy, and goals of U.S. higher education, particularly with 
regard to the broad scope of a liberal arts bachelor's degree program. 
Applicants and participants should clearly understand that they will be 
required to take courses in a variety of academic fields and should be 
briefed about the specifics of this grant. Students should receive 
guidance from the academic advisor to assist them in choosing 
appropriate courses.
    To support the mutual understanding goal of the exchange, the 
Bureau is particularly interested in opportunities for academic and 
enrichment experiences related to U.S. institutions, society, and 
culture. It is recommended that the applicant stipulate that students 
take one or more courses in a U.S. Studies field, such as American 
history, literature, or government. The Bureau welcomes other creative 
ideas for exposing students to American institutions, such as 
discussion groups on U.S. issues, visits to political campaign offices 
and polling places, attendance at school board or city council 
meetings, exposure to American religious institutions, and civic-
related volunteer work. Student attendance at museums, concerts, plays, 
and other

[[Page 17753]]

cultural events featuring American content should be encouraged and 
facilitated whenever possible. The awardee will be requested to keep 
the Bureau informed of the progress of this portion of the program 
throughout the year.
    Program Activities: Applicants should describe plans for: 
Orientation, including pre-departure orientation; goals and approaches 
for the academic portion of the program, including any special 
activities such as internships or academic enrichment; cultural and 
community projects; evaluation and follow-up; and alumni-tracking. For 
example, volunteer work, student presentations to the local community, 
and matching of students with a local host family might be among the 
enrichment activities proposed. Internships should be designed to 
provide a close match with a student's field of academic or 
professional interest. Applicants must demonstrate that they can 
provide support systems (such as tutoring, counseling, host family, 
mentor or buddy system, consultation with student advisor and project 
director) to the students during the program.
    Pre-arrival Information: Applicants should provide a sample of the 
pre-arrival information. Information should be complete and detailed. 
Key points concerning academic requirements, academic departments and 
available courses, housing, what to pack, personal budgeting 
considerations, policies on dependents, and other critical issues 
should be included in the material. The material should be designed to 
serve as a useful post-arrival reference as well, supplemented with 
additional information.
    GPRA--Outcomes and Results: Applicants must include a statement of 
goals and expected outcomes for the program, including how results 
would be measured, as necessitated by Government Performance and 
Results Act (GPRA). Outcomes might include, but are not limited to, the 
following areas: developing a cadre of Burmese leaders with first-hand 
experience in the U.S., advancement of development goals for Burma, 
conflict resolution and building viable non-governmental institutions 
in Burma, or expansion of professional relationships between 
individuals and institutions in the U.S. and Burma. Project goals and 
planning should be linked to USG objectives. For example, if it is a 
goal to produce or influence leaders in Burma, potential leadership 
qualities should be among the selection criteria for applicants.
    Measurements might include: alumni achievements and activities, the 
quality and quantity of institutional linkages established as a result 
of the program, and degree of positive change in participant and/or 
public attitudes as a result of the program.

Budget Guidelines

    The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant of up to $300,000 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 this 
program. Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four 
years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will 
be limited to $60,000. Proposals whose administrative costs are 20% or 
less of the total requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.
    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 in order to provide clarification.
    Allowable costs for the program include the following:

A. Program Costs

    (1). One-way economy fare international travel from their overseas 
location;
    (2). Domestic travel;
    (3). Tuition, room and board, stipends, incidental expenses, 
maintenance for university vacation periods;
    (4). Educational materials;
    (5). Cost of standardized test fees;
    (6). Per diem for orientation, professional, academic, and cultural 
enrichment.

B. Administrative Costs

    (1). Staff salaries and benefits;
    (2). Staff travel;
    (3). Communications (including telephone, fax, postage, etc.);
    (4). Office supplies;
    (5). Other direct costs.
    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines and formatting instructions.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau 
concerning this RFGP should reference the Burma Refugee Scholarship 
Program and number ECA/A/E/EAP-02-BRSP.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Mary Hanlon, Office of Academic 
Exchange Programs, ECA/A/E/EAP, Room 208, United States Department of 
State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, phone: (202) 619-
5406, fax: (202) 401-1728, email: mhanlon@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 Program 
Officer Mary Hanlon on all 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 p.m. Washington, DC time on May 23, 2002. 
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 proposal is received by the above 
deadline. Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and seven (7) 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/EAP-02-BRSP, Program Management, ECA/
EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
    Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary'' and 
``Proposal 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.

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.

[[Page 17754]]

    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 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. All eligible proposals will be 
reviewed by the program office, as well as the appropriate Public 
Diplomacy Section overseas. Eligible proposals will be subject to 
compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and 
forwarded to Bureau 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 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.
    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.
    3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be 
reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly 
demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and 
plan.
    4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen 
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of 
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual 
linkages.
    5. 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 
participants, program venue, and program evaluation) and program 
content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource 
materials, and follow-up activities).
    6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or 
project's goals.
    7. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an 
institutional record of successful exchange 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.
    8. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for 
continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that 
Bureau supported programs are not isolated events.
    9. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate 
the project's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of 
the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus 
description of a methodology used to link outcomes to original project 
objectives is recommended. Successful applicants will be expected to 
submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded 
or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.
    10. 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. 
Proposals whose administrative costs are 20% or less of the total 
requested from ECA will be deemed more competitive.
    11. Cost-sharing: 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.

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 RFGP 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: April 4, 2002.
Rick A. Ruth,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-8833 Filed 4-10-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P




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