[Federal Register: October 25, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 207)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
[Public Notice 4176]
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant
Proposals: Islamic Countries Youth Initiative Academic Studies Program
SUMMARY: The Youth Programs Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges of
the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open
competition for grants in support of projects to bring to the United
States high school students from countries with significant Muslim
populations to attend school and live with host families. Public and
private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in
Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and public
institutions may submit proposals to carry out projects for academic
semester and year study, as described below.
The goal of the program is to foster a community of shared
interests and values developed through better mutual understanding
through first-hand participation in an exchange. The objectives are to:
Provide the opportunity for young people in selected countries to learn
more about American society, people, institutions, values and culture;
foster personal ties; enhance American understanding of the foreign
students' countries and cultures; and support program alumni to put the
knowledge and skills acquired on the exchange to good use in their home
countries. The program seeks to select students with leadership
potential and to develop their leadership skills while in the U.S. and
when they return home.
This initiative is intended to lay a solid foundation for future
exchanges by investing in the infrastructure in the U.S. and overseas
necessary to ensure fulfillment of the exchange program's objectives.
Funding will support pilot semester and year exchanges and incorporate
lessons learned into perfecting the model for conducting future
programs. Grants will be awarded both to organizations that have the
necessary infrastructure and experience conducting academic high school
exchange programs with the partner countries, as well as to those that
seek to collaborate with the Bureau in building the necessary
infrastructure for exchanges with the partner countries where this does
not currently exist. The timing of grant awards and the amount of
funding for this initiative are subject to the availability of money
that will be transferred to the Bureau.
The partner countries for this pilot initiative will be selected
based on a number of factors: (1) Foreign policy considerations, (2) a
favorable climate for exchange, (3) data collected through an
independent research study commissioned by the Bureau, and (4)
the ability of the private sector to administer exchange programs, as
demonstrated by the response to this RFGP. The tentative list includes:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, India,
Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman,
Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Syria, Tunisia,
Turkey, United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen. The Bureau
reserves the right to amend this list at any time as conditions change.
There are two phases that will be funded simultaneously. Phase I--
As noted above, a portion of the funding will be awarded to
organizations that (1) have in place the existing infrastructure in the
U.S. and in the partner countries to undertake a program with the
required quality features, as outlined in this RFGP and supplementary
documents; (2) have a recent track record of successfully conducting
high school academic year exchanges with the partner countries; and (3)
demonstrate their ability to comply with all requirements for
administering federal grants, including the relevant J-1 visa
regulations. To be eligible for this phase of the initiative, the
grantee organization must be already designated by the Department of
State as a secondary school student exchange visitor sponsor. The
Bureau expects to be able to make award decisions by April 1, 2003. It
is anticipated that participants selected for participation in phase I
programs will travel to the U.S. in the summer of 2004 for the 2004-05
academic year. In the unlikely event the grants can be awarded in time
to enable an organization to screen, select, orient and place
scholarship winners for participation in the 2003-04 academic year,
this is a possibility. As an alternative, grant recipients may bring a
contingent of students to the U.S. for the spring 2004 semester.
Approximately $2,000,000 is available for phase I grants, including
funds earmarked for a special project for Indonesia.
Phase II--In the second phase of the program, the Bureau seeks to
award grant funding to assist in the establishment of academic year
exchanges with countries where no or inadequate capability exists at
the present time. The goal is to encourage organizations to form
partnerships, consortia, and other arrangements to pool resources that
will result in successful exchange activity. J-1 visa designation is
not a requirement, but a thorough understanding of the secondary school
student exchange visitor regulations is essential. Funding availability
is April 1, 2003, the same as in phase I. Because of the longer lead
time needed for phase II, exchange participants will not begin their
programs before the 2004-05 academic year, at the earliest, and may
also participate in the 2005-06 academic year. Approximately $4,500,000
is available for phase II grants.
The following apply to both phases of this program:
1. While the emphasis is on bringing foreign students to the U.S.,
programs that provide opportunities for American high school students
to study in the partner countries for a semester or year are eligible
2. The essential components for all academic study projects
undertaken with Bureau grant funding are: Collaboration with American
embassies overseas in planning and implementing the exchange; an open,
merit-based recruitment and selection process; testing for adequate
English language ability for foreign participants; in-country pre-
departure orientation; placement in schools that are committed to
pursuing the program's objectives and will assist the students to be
successful in academic, extracurricular and social activities; the
ability to maintain on-program support in the students' home and host
countries for the duration of the exchange; enhancement programming
during the exchange in leadership development, civil society issues
(including citizen activism and community service), and cultural
enrichment; ongoing orientation and reentry training; community
outreach to amplify the impact of the program and promote mutual
understanding; and the ability to track and work with alumni to
reinforce what was learned on the exchange and help them adjust to
their home environments and apply what they acquired to promote the
3. All grantees are required to include people with physical
disabilities in the exchange.
4. Grant funding will be used to develop cultural orientation
materials for use by all organizations that benefit from ECA grants
under this initiative. Organizations may submit a proposal to develop
these materials as a project by itself or as part of a grant for the
5. Collaboration with Department of State efforts and networking
with educational, civic, and other organizations to engage public
schools and the American public in hosting participants in this
6. All exchange participants must travel on J-1 visas using DS2019s
issued by the ECA program office under its program designation.
7. Grant funding will be available to pay for a percentage of the
students in phase II exchanges to participate in a pre-academic English
enhancement and cultural adjustment program, on an as-needed basis.
Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further information,
especially the Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) and
the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI).
The number of grants awarded under phase I will be determined by
the number of competitive proposals judged meritorious. The minimum bid
for any organization is the amount needed to sponsor 40 students. There
is no maximum bid limit. For phase II, in developing countries where
there has been no previous exchange experience, the minimum number of
students per country is 40. The objective is to foster the level of
programming necessary to sustain an in-country organization in a cost-
effective manner. See the POGI for additional budget details. 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 encourages applicants to provide maximum
levels of cost-sharing and funding from private sources in support of
Announcement Title and Number
All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should
reference the above title and number ECA/PE/C/PY-03-20.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Youth Programs Division, Office of
Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S.
Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20547, 202-619-
6299, fax 619-5311, email@example.com to request the POGI and PSI.
These documents contain detailed award criteria, required application
forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for
proposal preparation. Please specify Bureau Program Robert Persiko 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
Web site: 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 Monday, December
16, 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, one fully-tabbed copy, and eight copies with
Tabs A-F 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-03-20, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room
534, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20547.
Applicants must also submit the ``Executive Summary,'' ``Proposal
Narrative,'' budget sections and resumes, as well as important
appendices, as e-mail attachments in Microsoft Word and Excel to the
program office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Bureau will transmit these
files electronically to the Public Affairs Section at the U.S.
embassies for their review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes
to get 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.
Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is placing renewed
emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J
visa) Programs and adherence by grantees and sponsors to all
regulations governing the J visa. Therefore, proposals should
demonstrate the applicant's capacity to meet all requirements governing
the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR
6Z, including the oversight of Responsible Officers and Alternate
Responsible Officers, screening and selection of program participants,
provision of pre-arrival information and orientation to participants,
monitoring of participants, proper maintenance and security of forms,
record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. As noted above, ECA
will be responsible for issuing DS-2019 forms to participants in this
program. A copy of the complete regulations governing the
administration of Exchange Visitor (J) programs is available at http://
exchanges.state.gov/education/jexchanges, or from: United States
Department of State, Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation,
ECA/EC/ECD-SA-44, Room 734, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547,
Telephone: (202) 401-9810, FAX: (202) 401-9809.
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 Affairs personnel
overseas, where appropriate. 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
resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.
Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed
according to the criteria stated below. The review is an assessment of
the proposal's strengths and weaknesses in key areas. These criteria
are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal
1. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit
originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's
mission and the purposes outlined in the solicitation.
2. Program planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should
demonstrate the ability to ensure that the proposed project
accomplishes the stated objectives in the desired time frame.
3. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen
long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of
information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual
ties both during the exchange and after the participants return home.
4. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive
support of the Bureau's policy on diversity in all program aspects
including participants (exchange students and hosts), sending and
hosting communities, orientation, and program activities. Proposals
should articulate a diversity plan, not just a statement of compliance.
5. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program's
goals. Proposals for infrastructure building should convincingly
describe the need and the plan to address that need in specific terms
(e.g., staffing, staff training, equipping and maintaining an office).
The plan should demonstrate a thorough understanding of local
requirements for establishing and registering an NGO.
6. 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.
7. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for
continued contact with returnees to ensure that
they are tracked over time, integrated into alumni associations, and
provided opportunities to reinforce what the knowledge and skills they
acquired on the exchange and share them with others.
8. Project Evaluation: The Bureau will provide baseline data and
standard questionnaires for use in surveying participants and returnees
to ensure that data is comparable from one program to another and will
facilitate the demonstration of results. The proposal should indicate
concurrence with this plan. Applicants may describe any experience
conducting results-oriented evaluations. Successful applicants will be
expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is
concluded or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.
9. 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.
10. Cost-sharing: Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through
institutional direct funding contributions, as well as other private
11. Value to U.S.-Partner Country Relations: Proposed projects
should receive positive assessments by the U.S. Department of State's
geographic area desk and overseas officers of program need, potential
impact, and the feasibility of the implementation plan.
Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the
Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Pub. L. 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.
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.
Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by
Congress, allocated and committed through internal Bureau procedures.
Dated: October 21, 2002.
C. Miller Crouch,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-27230 Filed 10-24-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-U
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