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

[Federal Register: January 16, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 11)]
[Notices]               
[Page 2388-2391]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr16ja03-144]                         


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


DEPARTMENT OF STATE


[Public Notice 4249]


 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Uzbekistan Educational Partnerships Program in Cultural and 
Comparative Religious Studies


SUMMARY: The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the 
Uzbekistan Educational Partnerships Program in Cultural and Comparative 
Religious Studies. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting 
the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 
501(c)(3) may submit proposals to support mutually beneficial 
partnerships which contribute to the development of instruction in 
comparative religion, cultural studies/history, and English at specific 
eligible educational institutions in Uzbekistan. The means for 
achieving these objectives may include the exchange of university and 
college faculty and research scholars, administrators, and advanced 
students from Uzbekistan with appropriate U.S. counterpart colleges and 
universities.
    In a separate solicitation, the Bureau anticipates announcing a 
program


[[Page 2389]]


focused on Religious and Cultural Pluralism in Uzbekistan and the 
United States. That program will support community exchanges between 
the United States and Uzbekistan and will support visits by U.S. 
specialists to Uzbekistan. The Uzbekistani institutions identified for 
participation in the Uzbekistan Educational Partnerships Program in 
Cultural and Comparative Religious Studies may be appropriate venues 
for experts sponsored by the program for Religious and Cultural 
Pluralism in Uzbekistan and the United States. Therefore the grantees 
in the two programs for Uzbekistan will be expected to coordinate 
activities closely with one another to make sure that the activities of 
the two programs are complementary.


Program Information


    Overview: The Uzbekistan Educational Partnerships Program in 
Cultural and Comparative Religious Studies will fund a three-year 
project to permit U.S. institutions to work with specified counterpart 
universities and educational institutions in Uzbekistan. Applicants 
should propose a creative model for exchange that includes both a 
strategy for identifying U.S. instructors and scholars to visit the 
partner institutions in Uzbekistan and a strategy for identifying 
academic institutions to host exchange participants from Uzbekistan. 
Pending availability of funds, approximately $1,000,000 is expected to 
be available under the FREEDOM Support Act for the Uzbekistan 
Educational Partnerships Program in Cultural and Comparative Religious 
Studies in FY 2003.
    Objectives: The most competitive proposal should benefit all 
participants and partner institutions although the benefits do not need 
to be identical for each partner. The proposal should outline a plan to 
cooperate with Uzbekistani institutions to: (1) Develop courses and 
curricula in eligible fields; (2) improve teaching methods; (3) develop 
educational materials which support new courses and curricula; (4) 
train teachers or other practitioners in the effective use of these 
materials; (5) engage in collaborative research and (6) foster self-
sustaining relationships with U.S. academic institutions and educators.
    The program should equip participating Uzbekistani institutions and 
educators to provide accurate and balanced information about religions, 
including Islam, and Uzbekistani cultural history framed within a 
contemporary understanding of human rights and the role of cultural and 
religious pluralism in a democratic society. At the conclusion of the 
program, teachers at the participating Uzbekistani institutions should 
be capable of teaching newly introduced or revised courses and should 
be able to participate more fully in international dialogue with U.S. 
and other educators. Students graduating from the participating 
Uzbekistani institutions should have a better understanding of the 
relationships between religion, politics, and society in modern 
democracies and should be better prepared to apply this understanding 
in public service, education, and the private sector, and to contribute 
to building a democratic society.
    The Bureau anticipates that participating U.S. institutions and 
individuals will benefit by developing or strengthening regional 
expertise, or by gaining access to new opportunities for archival or 
library research. Participating U.S. faculty may utilize this 
experience to develop new courses or incorporate comparative content 
into existing courses. Students at participating U.S. institutions will 
gain a better understanding of Central Asia through interaction with 
visiting scholars and U.S. faculty who have incorporated international 
content into their courses.
    Pending availability of funds, the grant should begin on or about 
June 15, 2003.
    Applicants should propose a multi-institutional plan that includes 
all of the partners listed below as primary partners:


The Tashkent Islamic University;
The Al-Bukhari Islamic Institute;
The Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences;
The Al-Beruni Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences;
The Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies.


    Additional institutions may be included as secondary partners. The 
U.S. Embassy in Tashkent must approve any additional partner 
institutions.
    In order to successfully coordinate the multiple components of this 
project it will be necessary for the grantee organization to have a 
field office in Uzbekistan, or to establish one by the time grant 
activities begin. The grantee will be expected to closely coordinate 
activities with the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent.
    Participant eligibility: All participants traveling to Uzbekistan 
funded under the grant must be U.S. citizens. Foreign participants must 
be both qualified to receive U.S. J-1 visas and willing to travel to 
the U.S. under the provisions of a J-1 visa during the exchange visits 
funded by this Program.
    Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to 
Solicitation Package for further information.
    Budget Guidelines: The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant not to 
exceed $1,000,000. Applicants may submit a budget not to exceed this 
amount. Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less 
than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be 
limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. 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. 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 above title and number ECA/A/
S/U-03-13.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request a solicitation package, 
contact the Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch; 
Office of Global Educational Programs; Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs; ECA/A/S/U, Room 349; U.S. Department of State; SA-44, 
301 Fourth Street, SW.; Washington, DC 20547; phone: (202) 619-5289, 
fax: (202) 401-1433. The Solicitation Package includes more detailed 
award criteria, all application forms, and guidelines for preparing 
proposals, including specific criteria for preparation of the proposal 
budget. Applicants desiring more information may contact Program 
Officer Jonathan Cebra at 202-205-8379 or jcebra@pd.state.gov.
    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 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 Tuesday, April 1, 2003. Faxed documents will not be accepted at 
any time. Documents


[[Page 2390]]


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 ten copies of the application should be sent 
to: Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural 
Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/S/U-03-13, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 
534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547.
    No later than one week after the competition deadline, applicants 
must also submit the Proposal Title Sheet, Executive Summary, and 
Proposal Narrative sections of the proposal as e-mail attachments in 
Microsoft Word (preferred), WordPerfect, or as ASCII text files to the 
following e-mail address: partnerships@pd.state.gov. In the e-mail 
message subject line, include the following: ECA/A/S/U-03-13. To reduce 
the time needed to obtain advisory comments from the Public Affairs 
Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the Bureau will transmit these 
files electronically to this office.


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. The Grantee 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
 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.


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 section 
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 
elements of the Department or the United States Government. 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:
    (1) Broad and Enduring Significance of Institutional Objectives: 
Program objectives should have significant and ongoing benefits for the 
participating institutions and for their surrounding societies or 
communities.
    (2) Creativity and Feasibility of Strategy to Achieve Objectives: 
Strategies to achieve program objectives should be feasible and 
realistic within the budget and timeframe. These strategies should 
utilize and reinforce exchange activities creatively to ensure an 
efficient use of program resources.
    (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 
linkages.
    (4) Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive 
support of the Bureau's policy on diversity by explaining how issues of 
diversity are included in objectives for all institutional partners. 
Issues resulting from differences of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, 
geography, socio-economic status, or physical challenge should be 
addressed during program implementation. In addition, program 
participants and administrators should reflect the diversity within the 
societies which they represent (see the section of this document on 
``Diversity, Freedom, and Democracy Guidelines''). Proposals should 
also discuss how the various institutional partners approach diversity 
issues in their respective communities or societies.
    (5) Institution's Capacity and Record/Ability: Proposed personnel 
and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to 
achieve the program or project's goals. 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.
    (6) Evaluation: Proposals should outline a methodology for 
determining the degree to which the project meets its objectives, both 
while it is underway and at its conclusion. The final program 
evaluation should include an external component and should provide 
observations about the program's influence within the participating 
institutions as well as their surrounding communities or societies.


[[Page 2391]]


    (7) Cost-effectiveness: Administrative and program costs should be 
reasonable and appropriate with cost-sharing provided by all 
participating institutions within the context of their respective 
capacities. Cost-sharing is viewed as a reflection of institutional 
commitment to the program.
    (8) Value to U.S.-Partner Country Relations: Proposed projects 
should receive positive assessments by the U.S. Department of State's 
geographic bureau and overseas officers.


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 cited above is provided through the Freedom for Russia and 
Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992 
(FREEDOM Support Act).


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: January 9, 2003.
C. Miller Crouch,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 03-980 Filed 1-15-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-05-P





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