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[Federal Register: April 3, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 64)]
[Page 16337-16339]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



[Public Notice 4328]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant 
Proposals: Educational Partnerships Program for Tunisia

    Summary: The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of 
Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for an 
assistance award program to support the development of programs of 
instruction and faculty training at universities in Tunisia in business 
management, public administration, information technology, computer 
science, or other fields with significant potential to support the 
modernization of the Tunisian economy. Accredited, post-secondary 
educational institutions meeting the provisions described in Internal 
Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may apply to pursue 
institutional or departmental objectives in partnership with one or 
more Tunisian institutions with support from the Educational 
Partnerships Program for Tunisia.
    The means for achieving the objectives of the applicant and its 
partner(s) may include mentoring, teaching, consultation, research, 
distance education, internship training, and professional outreach to 
public sector managers or private sector entrepreneurs.

Program Information

    Overview and Project Objectives: The program is designed to assist 
Tunisian universities to develop modern curricula and programs of 
instruction in business management, public administration, and related 
fields; to facilitate the development of business activity; and to 
improve the quality, efficiency, and integrity of management in the 
private and public sectors. Proposals emphasizing practical strategies 
to assist Tunisian faculty and administrators to develop new curricula, 
teaching methodologies and programs are encouraged. Pending 
availability, funds will be awarded for a period of three years to 
assist with the costs of exchanges, of providing educational materials, 
of increasing library holdings, and of improving Internet connections.
    The project should pursue these objectives through a strategy that 
coordinates the participation of junior and senior level faculty, 
administrators, or graduate students in appropriate combinations of 
teaching, mentoring, internships, in-service training, outreach, and 
exchange visits ranging from one week to an academic year. Visits of 
one semester or more for participants from Tunisia are strongly 
encouraged and program activities must be tied to the goals and 
objectives of the project. Proposals may also include English language 
training for selected participants whose existing English skills need 
to be strengthened or refreshed.

[[Page 16338]]

U.S. Institution and Participant Eligibility

    The lead institution and grant recipient must be an accredited U.S. 
college or university. Applications from community colleges, 
institutions serving significant minority populations, undergraduate 
liberal arts colleges, comprehensive universities, research 
universities, and combinations of these types of institutions are 
eligible. The lead U.S. organization in a consortium or other 
combination of cooperating institutions is responsible for submitting 
the application. Each application must document the lead organization's 
authority to represent all U.S. cooperating partners. Secondary U.S. 
partners may include governmental or non-governmental organizations at 
the federal, state, or local levels as well as non-profit service, 
community and professional organizations.
    With the exception of translators and outside evaluators, 
participation is limited to teachers, advanced graduate students, and 
administrators from the participating U.S. institution(s).

Tunisian Institution and Participant Eligibility

    In Tunisia, the partner must be a recognized institution(s) of 
post-secondary education, including state-supported and independent 
universities, research institutes, relevant governmental organizations, 
and private non-profit organizations with project-related educational 
objectives. Except for translators and evaluators, participation is 
limited to teachers, administrators, researchers, or advanced students 
from the participating foreign institution(s). Any advanced student 
participant must either have teaching or research responsibilities or 
be preparing for such responsibilities. 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. Foreign participants may not be U.S. citizens.

Budget Guidelines

    The Bureau anticipates awarding up to two grants in amounts not to 
exceed approximately $195,000 each under this grant competition. Bureau 
grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years 
experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 
in Bureau funding. Therefore, organizations with less than four years 
experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to 
apply under this competition. There must be a summary budget as well as 
breakdowns reflecting both the program and administrative budgets. A 
narrative that provides justification for the amount requested should 
accompany the summary and detailed program and administrative budgets. 
Administrative costs should be kept to a reasonable level. Cost sharing 
will be considered an important indicator of institutional commitment. 
Please refer to the POGI for complete budget guidelines and formatting 

Grant Duration

    Grant activities should begin on or around September 1, 2003 and 
should last approximately three years

Announcement Title and Number

    All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should 
reference the above title ``Educational Partnerships Program for 
Tunisia'' and numberECA/A/S/U-03-27.
    For Further Information Contact: The Office of Global Educational 
Programs, ECA/A/S/U, Room 349, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone (202) 619-5289; fax (202) 
401-1433; or 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 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 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, 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 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/S/U-03-27, 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 U.S. Embassy for its 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 

[[Page 16339]]

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, 
recordkeeping, 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
 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. The program office and the Public 
Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis will review eligible 
proposals. 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 grant awards resides with the 
Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

    All reviewers will use the criteria below to reach funding 
recommendations and decisions. Technically eligible applications will 
be reviewed competitively according to these criteria, which are not 
rank-ordered or weighted.
    (1) Broad and Enduring Significance of Institutional Objectives: 
Project objectives should have significant and ongoing results for the 
Tunisian partner institutions and for their surrounding societies or 
communities by providing a deepened understanding of critical issues in 
one or more of the eligible fields. Project objectives should relate 
clearly to institutional and societal needs.
    (2) Creativity and Feasibility of Strategy to Achieve Project 
Objectives: Strategies to achieve project objectives should be feasible 
and realistic within the projected budget and timeframe. These 
strategies should utilize and reinforce exchange activities creatively 
to ensure an efficient use of program resources. Relevant factors 
include: The availability of a sufficient number of faculty and/or 
administrators willing and able to participate in project activities, 
and faculty and/or administrators with Arabic or French language 
    (3) Institutional Commitment to Cooperation: Proposals should 
demonstrate significant understanding by each institution of its own 
needs and capacities and of the needs and capacities of its proposed 
partner(s), together with a strong commitment by the partner 
institutions, during and after the period of grant activity, to 
cooperate with one another in the mutual pursuit of institutional 
objectives. Proposals should describe projected benefits to the 
institutions involved as well as to wider communities of educators and 
practitioners in Tunisia.
    (4) Project Evaluation: Proposals should outline a methodology for 
determining the degree to which a project meets its objectives, both 
while the project is underway and at its conclusion. The final project 
evaluation should include an external component and should provide 
observations about the project's influence within the participating 
institutions as well as their surrounding communities or societies, and 
observations about anticipated long-term impact on the Tunisian 
    (5) 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. We view cost sharing as a reflection of institutional 
commitment to the project.
    (6) Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive 
support of the Bureau's policy on diversity by explaining how issues of 
diversity are included in project 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 project implementation. In addition, project 
participants and administrators should reflect the diversity within the 
societies that 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.


    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 cited above is provided through the U.S. North African Economic 
Partnership (USNAEP).


    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: March 25, 2003.
C. Miller Crouch,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 03-8145 Filed 4-2-03; 8:45 am]