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

[Federal Register: May 2, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 85)]
[Notices]               
[Page 22149-22152]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02my02-160]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 4002]

 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Islamic Life in the United States

SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational 
and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, announces an open 
competition for two or more grants, each to support an exchange, or a 
series of exchanges, under the rubric ``Islamic Life in the United 
States.'' Public and private non-profit organizations or consortia of 
such organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue 
Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to develop and 
implement multi-phased international exchanges involving the travel of 
foreign Islamic scholars and clerics to the United States and of 
American Islamic scholars/scholars of Islamic studies and clerics to 
foreign Islamic communities.
    Organizations must have four or more years of documented experience 
in conducting international exchange to be eligible to apply for a 
grant under this competition.

Program Information

    Overview: The Office of Citizen Exchanges consults with and 
supports American public and private nonprofit organizations in 
developing and implementing multi-phased, often multi-year, exchanges 
of professionals, community leaders, scholars and academics, public 
policy advocates, non-governmental organization activists, etc. These 
exchanges address issues crucial to both the United States and the 
foreign countries involved; they promote focused, substantive, and 
cooperative interaction among counterparts; and they entail both 
theoretical and experiential learning for all participants. A primary 
goal is the development of sustained, international, institutional and 
individual linkages. In addition to providing a context for 
professional development and collaborative problem-solving, these 
projects are intended to introduce foreign participants and their 
American counterparts to one another's political, social, and economic 
structures, facilitating improved communication and enhancing mutual 
understanding. Desirable components of an exchange may be local citizen 
involvement and activities that orient foreign participants to American 
society and culture.
    The initiative Islamic Life in the United States will support the 
international exchange of Islamic scholars and clerics--influential and 
recognized for their ability to communicate, either in scholarly 
writing or through sermons--from North Africa, the Middle East 
(including the Arabian Gulf states), South Asia, East Asia, and 
Southeast Asia. The objectives of the exchange(s) are (1) to enhance 
participants' understanding about the place of Islam in American 
society and culture; (2) to broaden participants' awareness of and 
appreciation for the serious study of Islam that is conducted in the 
United States (possibly leading to plans for collaborative research and 
publishing by American and non-American scholars); and (3) to provide a 
forum for serious discussion, primarily but not exclusively among the 
American and non-American Islamic scholars and clerics participating in 
the exchange, of such issues as the compatibility--in theory and 
practice--of Islam and a democratic social and political structure and 
the social vitality that grows from mutually respectful co-existence 
among diverse religious communities in a heterogeneous society.
    Projects, to be conducted over a period of six to 18 months, may 
involve a single exchange or may, depending on the size of the grant 
requested and

[[Page 22150]]

awarded, be separated into several distinct but similar exchanges, 
e.g., one exchange involving scholars and clerics from the 
predominantly Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa and the Middle 
East; one exchange involving scholars and clerics from Afghanistan, 
Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh; and one exchange focused on scholars 
and clerics from East and Southeast Asia--primarily the Philippines, 
Indonesia and Malaysia. It is assumed that these exchanges will be 
conducted in the languages of the foreign participants, and the 
proposal should provide and budget for interpretation. Each of these 
exchanges might entail the travel of from one to three American Muslim 
scholars/project organizers to several of the countries from which 
participants would be selected to become familiar with institutions and 
communities in those countries and with individuals who might serve as 
advisers to the project or might themselves be exchange participants. 
Phase two of each exchange would involve travel to and in the United 
States of a group of from 12 to 16 scholars and clerics--no fewer than 
two per country--who, over a period of three to four weeks, would visit 
Islamic centers, consult with American Muslim scholars and clerics, 
visit and become familiar with libraries and archives of Islamic 
documents, participate in discussions at institutions--both religious 
and secular--that represent America's guarantee of human dignity and 
freedom of worship, and possibly participate in a workshop/seminar at 
an Islamic institution dedicated to scholarship and research. One 
exchange visit might be scheduled so that the participants could attend 
the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America.
    The final phase of each exchange might entail travel to the region, 
either as a group or individually, of three or four American Muslim 
scholars and clerics who would meet with counterparts and, ideally, 
cooperate with participants in the original U.S. visit in presenting a 
seminar, a series of workshops, etc. in order to expand the network of 
individuals directly affected by the exchange.
    The Office of Citizen Exchanges encourages applicants to be 
creative in planning project implementation. Activities may include 
both theoretical orientation and experiential, community-based 
initiatives designed to achieve objectives. Applicants should, in their 
proposals, identify any partner organizations and/or individuals in the 
U.S. with which/whom they are proposing to collaborate and justify the 
collaboration on the basis of experience, accomplishments, etc.

Selection of Participants

    Applications should include a description of a merit-based, focused 
participant selection process. Applicants should anticipate consulting 
with the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies in selecting 
participants, with the Embassy retaining the right to nominate 
participants and to advise the grantee regarding participants 
recommended by other entities.

Public Affairs Section Involvement

    The Public Affairs Sections (PAS) of the U.S. Embassies often play 
an important role in project implementation. Posts may evaluate project 
proposals, coordinate planning with the grantee organization and in-
country partners, facilitate in-country activities, nominate 
participants and vet grantee nominations, observe in-country 
activities, debrief participants, and evaluate project impact. U.S. 
Missions are responsible for issuing DSP2019 forms (formerly known as 
IAP-66 forms) in order for foreign participants to obtain the necessary 
J-1 visas for entry to the United States on a government-funded 
project.
    Though project administration and implementation are the 
responsibility of the grantee, the grantee is expected to inform the 
PAS in participating countries of its operations and procedures and to 
coordinate with PAS officers in the development of project activities. 
The PAS should be consulted regarding country priorities, political and 
cultural sensitivities, security issues, and logistic and programmatic 
issues.

Visa Regulations

    Foreign participants on programs sponsored by ECA are granted J-1 
Exchange Visitor visas by the U.S. Embassy in the sending country. All 
programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guidelines

    The Bureau anticipates awarding two or more grants from a total 
allocation of approximately $500,000 to support program and 
administrative costs required to implement this exchange initiative. 
Applicants must submit a comprehensive, line-item budget for the entire 
program based on guidance provided in the Proposal Submission 
Instructions (PSI) of the Solicitation Package. There must be a summary 
budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program 
budgets. For clarification, applicants may provide separate sub-budgets 
for each program component, phase, location, or activity. For a 
proposal to be eligible for consideration, the budget must present 
evidence of cost sharing--in cash or in kind--representing no less than 
20% of the total cost of the exchange project, e.g., an applicant 
requesting $300,000 in grant funds must demonstrate the ability/
willingness to provide $60,000 in cost sharing; an applicant requesting 
$200,000 must demonstrate the ability to provide $40,000 in cost 
sharing. Allowable costs for the program include the following:
    (1) Direct program expenses
    (2) Administrative expenses, including indirect costs. Please refer 
to the Proposal Submission Instructions for complete budget guidelines 
and formatting instructions.
    Announcement Title and Number: All correspondence with the Bureau 
concerning this RFGP should reference the above title and number ECA/
PE/C/NEA-02-71.

To Download a Solicitation Package--Request for Grant Proposal (RFGP) 
and Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)--Via Internet

    The Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the ECA Web site: 
http://exchanges.state.gov/education/RFGPs. Please read all information 
before downloading. Should you be unable to download the Proposal 
Submission Instructions from the Department of State ECA website, you 
may request this document, which contains required application forms, 
specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal 
preparation from the Office of Citizen Exchanges.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, ECA/
PE/C, Room 216, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20547, attention: Thomas Johnston. Telephone number: 
202/619-5325; fax number: 202/619-4350; Internet address: 
tjohnsto@pd.state.gov. Please specify Bureau Program Officer Thomas 
Johnston 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.

Deadline for Proposals

    All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational 
and

[[Page 22151]]

Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, DC time on June 20, 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 proposals are received by the above 
deadline.
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and 10 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/NEA-02-71, 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. The Bureau will 
transmit these files electronically to the Public Affairs section at 
the US Embassy for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it 
takes to receive embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review 
process.

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 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 Public Diplomacy 
sections of U.S. Missions 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 grants 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:
    Quality of the program idea: Proposals should be substantive, well 
thought out, focused on issues of demonstrable relevance to all 
proposed participants, and responsive, in general, to the exchange 
suggestions and guidelines provided above.
    Implementation Plan and Ability to Achieve Objectives: A detailed 
project implementation plan should establish a clear and logical 
connection between the interest, the expertise, and the logistic 
capacity of the applicant and the objectives to be achieved. The plan 
should discuss in concrete terms how the institution proposes to 
achieve the objectives. Institutional resources--including personnel--
assigned to the project should be adequate and appropriate to achieve 
project objectives. The substance of workshops and site visits should 
be included as an attachment, and the responsibilities of U.S. 
participants and in-country partners should be clearly delineated.
    Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should include an 
institutional record of successful exchange programs, with reference to 
responsible fiscal management and full compliance with reporting 
requirements. The Bureau will consider the demonstrated potential of 
new applicants and will evaluate the performance record of prior 
recipients of Bureau grants as reported by the Bureau grant staff.
    Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for sustained 
follow-on activity (building on the linkages developed under the grant 
and the activities initially funded by the grant) after grant funds 
have been depleted. This will ensure that Bureau-supported projects are 
not isolated events.
    Project Evaluation/Monitoring: Proposals should include a plan to 
monitor and evaluate the project's implementation, both as the 
activities unfold and at the end of the program. Reports should include 
both accomplishments and problems encountered. A discussion of survey 
methodology or other disclosure/measurement techniques, plus a 
description of how outcomes are defined in terms of the project's 
original objectives, is recommended. Successful applicants will be 
expected to submit a report after each project component is concluded 
or semi-annually, whichever is less frequent.
    Impact: Proposed projects should, through the establishment of 
substantive, sustainable individual and institutional linkages and 
encouraging maximum sharing of information and cross-boundary 
cooperation, enhance mutual understanding among communities and 
societies.
    Cost Effectiveness and Cost Sharing: Administrative costs should be 
kept low. Proposal budgets must provide evidence of cost sharing, 
comprised of cash or in-kind contributions, representing 20 percent or 
more of the total cost of the exchange. Cost sharing may be derived 
from diverse sources, including private sector contributions and/or 
direct institutional support.
    Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate support for the 
Bureau's policy on diversity. Features relevant to this policy should 
be cited in program implementation (selection of participants, program 
venue, and program evaluation), program content, and program 
administration.

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

[[Page 22152]]

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 22, 2002.
Rick A. Ruth,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-10904 Filed 5-1-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P




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