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[Federal Register: January 23, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 15)]
[Page 3289-3292]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 4251]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: International Visitor Program Assistance Awards

SUMMARY: The Office of International Visitors of the Division of 
Professional and Cultural Exchanges, of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs (ECA/PE/V), United States Department of State (DoS) 
announces an open competition for assistance awards to develop and 
implement International Visitor Programs (IVP). The IVP seeks to 
increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and foreign publics 
through carefully designed professional programs for approximately 
4,600 foreign visitors per year from all regions of the world. The 
awards will fund programming for a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 550 
International Visitors (IVs). Funding will be for FY-2004 (October 1, 
2003--September 30, 2004). Public and private non-profit organizations 
meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 
U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and not already receiving Office of International 
Visitor assistance awards for FY-2004 may submit proposals. [See 
Project Objectives, Goals and Implementation (POGI) for definitions of 
program-related terminology.]
    The intent of this announcement is to provide the opportunity for 
organizations to develop and implement a variety of programs for 
International Visitors from multiple regions of the world or from a 
single region. (Please refer to POGI for breakdown of regions). The 
award recipients will function as national program agencies (NPAs) and 
will work closely with Department of State Bureau staff, who will guide 
them through programmatic, procedural and budgetary issues for the full 
range of IV programs. (Hereafter, the terms ``award recipient'' and 
``national program agency'' will be used interchangeably to refer to 
the grantee organization(s).)

Program Information

    Overview: The International Visitor program seeks to increase 
mutual understanding between the U.S. and foreign publics through 
carefully designed professional programs. IV programs support U.S. 
foreign policy objectives. Participants are current or potential 
foreign leaders in government, politics, media, education, science, 
labor relations, NGOs, the arts, and other key fields. They are 
selected by officers of U.S. embassies overseas and approved by the DoS 
staff in Washington, DC. Since the program's inception in 1940, there 
have been more than 140,000 distinguished participants in the program. 
Almost 200 program alumni subsequently became heads of state or 
government in their home countries. All IV programs must maintain a 
non-partisan character.
    The Bureau seeks proposals from non-profit organizations for 
development and implementation of professional programs for Bureau-
sponsored International Visitors to the U.S. Once the awards are made, 
separate proposals will be required for each group project [Single 
Country (SCP)*, Sub-Regional (SRP)*, Regional (RP)*, and Multi-Regional 
(MRP)*] as well as less formal proposals for Individual and Individuals 
Traveling Together (ITT)* programs. At this time proposals are not 
required for Voluntary Visitor (VolVis)* programs. Each program will be 
focused on a substantive theme. Some typical IV program themes are: (1) 
U.S. foreign policy; (2) U.S. government and political system; (3) 
economic development; (4) education; (5) media; (6) information 
technology; (7) freedom of information; (8) NGO management; (9) women's 
issues; (10) tolerance and diversity; (11) counter-terrorism; (12) 
democracy and human rights; (13) rule of law; (14) international crime; 
and (15) environmental issues.* IV programs must conform to all Bureau 
requirements and guidelines. *Please refer to the Program Objectives, 
Goals, and Implementation (POGI) document for a more detailed 
description of each type of IV program.
    Guidelines: Goals and objectives for each specific IV program will 
be shared with the award recipients at an appropriate time following 
the announcement of the assistance awards. DoS will provide close 
coordination and guidance throughout the duration of the awards. Award 
recipients will consult closely with the responsible ECA/PE/V Program 
Officer throughout the development, implementation, and evaluation of 
each IV program. They should demonstrate the potential to develop the 
following types of programs.
    1. Programs must contain substantive meetings that focus on foreign 
policy goals and program objectives and are presented by experts. 
Meetings, site visits, and other program activities should promote 
dialogue between participants and their U.S. professional counterparts. 
Programs must be balanced to show different sides of an issue.
    2. Most programs will be 21 to 30 days in length and will begin in 
Washington, D.C., with an orientation and overview of the issues and a 
central examination of federal policies regarding these issues. Well-
paced program itineraries usually include visits to four or five 
communities. Program itineraries ideally include urban and rural small 
communities in diverse geographical and cultural regions of the U.S., 
as appropriate to the program theme.
    3. Programs should provide opportunities for participants to 
experience the diversity of American society and culture. Participants 
in RPs or MRPs are divided into smaller sub-groups for simultaneous 
visits to different communities, with subsequent opportunities to share 
their experiences with the full group once it is reunited.
    4. Programs may provide opportunities for the participants to share 
a meal or similar experience (home hospitality) in the homes of 
Americans of diverse occupational, age, gender, and ethnic groups. Some 
individual and group programs might include an opportunity for an 
overnight stay (home stay) in an American home.
    5. Programs should provide opportunities for participants to 
address student, civic and professional groups in relaxed and informal 
    6. Participants should have appropriate opportunities for site 
visits and hands-on experiences that are relevant to program themes. 
The award recipients may propose professional ``shadowing'' experiences 
with U.S. professional colleagues for some programs; (A typical 
shadowing experience means spending a half- or full-workday with a 
professional counterpart.)
    7. Programs should also allow time for participants to reflect on 
their experiences and, in group programs, to share observations with 
program colleagues. Participants should have opportunities to visit 
cultural and tourist sites; and
    8. The award recipients must make arrangements for community visits 
through affiliates of the NCIV. In cities where there is no such 
council, the award recipients will arrange for coordination of local 

[[Page 3290]]


    1. Applicants' proposals must demonstrate four years of successful 
experience in coordinating international exchanges.
    2. Applicants' proposals must demonstrate the ability to develop 
and administer IV programs.
    3. Proposals should demonstrate an applicant's broad knowledge of 
international relations and U.S. foreign policy issues.
    4. Proposals should demonstrate an applicant's broad knowledge of 
the United States and U.S. domestic issues.
    5. The award recipients must have a Washington, D.C. presence. 
Applicants who do not currently have a Washington, DC presence must 
include a detailed plan in their proposal for establishing such a 
presence by October 1, 2003. The costs related to establishing such a 
presence must be borne by the award recipient. No such costs may be 
included in the budget submission in this proposal. The award recipient 
must have e-mail capability, access to Internet resources, and the 
ability to exchange data electronically with all partners involved in 
the International Visitor program.
    6. Proposals should demonstrate that an applicant has an 
established resource base of programming contacts and the ability to 
keep the base continuously updated. This resource base should include 
speakers, thematic specialists, or practitioners in a wide range of 
professional fields in both the private and public sectors.
    7. All proposals must demonstrate sound financial management.
    8. All proposals must contain a sound management plan to carry out 
the volume of work outlined in the Solicitation. This plan should 
include an appropriate staffing pattern and a work plan/time frame.
    9. Applicants must include in their proposal narrative a discussion 
of ``lessons learned'' from past exchanges coordination experience, and 
how these will be applied in implementing the International Visitor 
    10. The award recipients must have the capability to utilize the 
world wide web for the electronic retrieval of program data from the 
Department of State's IV program website. The award recipient's office 
technology must be capable of exchanging information with all partners 
involved in the International Visitor program. The award recipient must 
have the capability to electronically communicate with the Department 
of State's standard data exchange mechanism, the Information Exchange 
and Management System (IEMS) by utilizing either the IEMS application, 
which can be provided to the award recipient, or an approved DoS 
interface with the IEMS where legacy system exists. IEMS is a 
combination of client/server applications which collect program data 
from DoS missions for the International Visitor office, stores the data 
electronically, and enables the national program agencies to download 
and prepare projects for a visitor's stay in the U.S.
    11. Applicants must include as a separate attachment under TAB G of 
their proposals the following:
    a. Samples of at least two schedules for international exchange or 
training programs that they have coordinated within the past four years 
that they are particularly proud of and that they feel demonstrate 
their organization's competence and abilities to conduct the activities 
outlined in the RFGP;
    b. Samples of orientation and evaluation materials used in past 
international exchange or training programs.

Requirements for Past Performance References

    Instead of Letters of Endorsement, DoS will use past performance as 
an indicator of an applicant's ability to successfully perform the 
work. TAB E of the proposal must contain between three and five 
references who may be called upon to discuss recently completed or 
ongoing work performed for professional exchange programs (may include 
the IV program). The reference must contain the information outlined 
below. Please note that the requirements for submission of past 
performance information also apply to all proposed sub recipients when 
the total estimated cost of the sub award is over $100,000.
    At a minimum, the applicant must provide the following information 
for each reference:
    [sbull] Name of the reference organization
    [sbull] Project name
    [sbull] Project description
    [sbull] Performance period of the contract/grant
    [sbull] Amount of the contract/grant
    [sbull] Technical contact person and telephone number for 
referenced organization
    [sbull] Administrative contact person and telephone number for 
referenced organization
    DoS may contact representatives from the organizations cited in the 
examples to obtain information on the applicant's past performance. DoS 
also may obtain past performance information from sources other than 
those identified by the applicant.
    Personnel: Applicants must include complete and current resumes of 
the key personnel who will be involved in the program management, 
design and implementation of IV programs. Each resume is limited to two 
pages per person.

Budget Guidelines

    Applicants are required to submit a comprehensive line-item 
administrative budget in accordance with the instructions in the 
Solicitation Package (Proposal Submission Instructions.) The submission 
must include a summary budget and a detailed budget showing all 
administrative costs. Proposed staffing and costs associated with 
staffing must be appropriate to the requirements outlined in the RFGP 
and in the Solicitation Package. Cost sharing is encouraged and should 
be shown in the budget presentation.
    The Department of State is seeking proposals from public and 
private non-profit organizations that are not already in communication 
with DoS regarding an FY-2004 assistance award from ECA/PE/V. All 
applicants must have four years' experience conducting international 
exchanges; an ability to closely consult with DoS staff throughout 
program administration; and proven fiscal management integrity. 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/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Office of International Visitors, 
Janet B. Beard, Chief, Group Projects Division (ECA/PE/V/P) by e-mail to request a Solicitation Package or with 
specific questions. The Solicitation Package contains detailed award 
criteria, required application forms, specific budget instructions, and 
standard guidelines for proposal preparation.
    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

[[Page 3291]]

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 March 31, 2003. 
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 
    Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation 
Package. The original and twelve copies of the application should be 
sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/PE/V-04-01, Program Management, ECA/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.
    Visa Requirements: Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. 
Please refer to Solicitation Package for further information.

Adherence to All Regulations Governing the J Visa

    The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs places great 
emphasis on the secure and proper administration of Exchange Visitor (J 
visa) Programs and adherence by grantees, program sponsors, and 
participants to all regulations governing the J visa program status. 
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. If the applicant is a designated 
Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor the applicant should provide evidence 
of their compliance with 22 CFR 6Z et. seq., including the oversight of 
their 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.
    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
 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 
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 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. Evidence of Understanding/Program Planning: The proposal should 
convey that the applicant has a good understanding of the overall goals 
and objectives of the IV Program. It should exhibit originality, 
substance, precision, and be responsive to requirements stated in the 
RFGP and the Solicitation Package. The proposal should contain a 
detailed and relevant work plan that demonstrates substantive intent 
and logistical capacity. The plan should adhere to the program overview 
and guidelines cited in the RFGP.
    2. 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).
    3. Institutional Capacity: The award recipient must have a 
Washington, DC presence. Applicants who do not currently have a 
Washington, DC presence must include a detailed plan in their proposal 
for establishing such a presence by October 1, 2003. The costs related 
to establishing such a presence must be borne by the award recipient. 
No such costs may be included in the budget submission in this 
proposal. The proposal should clearly demonstrate the applicant's 
capability for performing the type of work required by the IV Program 
and how the institution will execute its program activities to meet the 
goals of the IV program. It should reflect the applicant's ability to 
design and implement, in a timely and creative manner, professional 
exchange programs which encompass a variety of project themes. Proposed 
personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and 
appropriate to achieve the program goals. Finally, the proposal also 
must demonstrate that the applicant has or can recruit adequate and 
well-trained staff.
    4. Institution's Record/Ability: The proposal should demonstrate an 
institutional record of a minimum of four years of successful 
experience in conducting IV or other professional exchange programs, 
which are similar in nature and magnitude to the scope of work outlined 
in this solicitation. Note that evidence of success includes 
responsible fiscal management and full

[[Page 3292]]

compliance with all reporting requirements such as those set out for 
DoS cooperative agreements. The applicant must demonstrate the 
potential for programming IV participants from multiple regions of the 
world or from a single region.
    5. Cost-effectiveness/Cost-sharing: The administrative and indirect 
cost components of the proposal, including salaries, should be kept as 
low as possible. Consideration will be given to proposed cost-sharing 
through other private sector support and institutional direct funding 
    6. Project Evaluation: Proposals should demonstrate how national 
program agencies would coordinate with ECA/PE/V program officers on 
evaluation efforts for IV projects. Examples of methods that could be 
used are participation of national program agency program officers in 
the final evaluation sessions of IV projects, and submission of final 
written reports on those projects to ECA/PE/V.


    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.


    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 accept 
proposals in whole or in part and make an award or awards in accordance 
with what best serves the interests of the International Visitor 
Program. The Bureau also 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: January 16, 2003.
C. Miller Crouch,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 
Department of State.
[FR Doc. 03-1463 Filed 1-22-03; 8:45 am]