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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: Tibet Professional and Cultural Exchange Project

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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SUMMARY:

The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the Tibet Professional and Cultural Exchange Project. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals that promote understanding between the people of the United States and the Tibetan ethnic group, through two-way, professional educational and cultural exchange projects.

Program Information

Overview

The Office of Citizen Exchanges welcomes proposals that directly respond to the following thematic areas. Given budgetary limitations, projects for other themes will not be eligible for consideration under the FY-2001 Tibet Professional and Cultural Exchange Project announcement.

Public Health Management

Projects submitted in response to this theme would be aimed at engaging public health leaders to combat the debilitating health problems ethnic Tibetans face, (from malnutrition to fatal pneumonia, tuberculosis and diarrhea). Exchanges would focus on developing and implementing appropriate public health policies, through seminars and outreach to public and private health planners and practitioners, to ensure the optimal welfare and economic viability of Tibetan communities. (Actual medical training and dispensing of medications are outside the purview of this theme and will not be accepted activities for funding based on exchange guidelines.)

Sustainable Development and Eco-Tourism

Exchanges funded under this theme would help American and Tibetan conservationists, tourism planners, and economic development officials share their experience in managing tourism resources, particularly in ecologically fragile areas, and would contribute to better understanding of conservation and concepts essential to responsible economic development. Americans are in a good position to convey to their Tibetan counterparts the importance of sustainable forestry practices and sustainable harvesting of plant resources to short-term and long-term economic prospects.

Vocational Education

Proposals are sought which emphasize administration and development of vocational schools targeted towards the practical needs of ethnic Tibetan communities. Successful projects would help influence thinking among those responsible for economic planning in rural and urban areas where Tibetans live. Discussion of how to integrate education planning with economic development initiatives, how to diversify revenue sources, and how to recruit, train and retain strong faculty would all contribute towards dialogue on vocational education, an issue important to both Tibetans and Americans in a modern and changing economy.

Developing Enterpreneurship

Projects under this theme may focus on the skills Tibetans, many of whom come from rural backgrounds with rudimentary economies, need to function effectively in a modern economy (e.g. finance, accounting, and language skills). Exchanges that explore ways that both the government and the private sector can help promote entrepreneurship in sustainable ways, including access to credit, ecologically conscious tourism policies and investment, or English language training for trade or tourism purposes will be favored.

Guidelines

The Office seeks proposals that provide professional experience and exposure to American life and culture through internships, workshops and other learning-sharing experiences hosted by local institutions. The experiences also will provide Americans the opportunity to learn about Tibetan culture and the social and economic challenges Tibetans face today. Travel under these grants should provide for a two-way exchange. Proposals only seeking funding for Tibetans to travel the United States must provide a clear explanation detailing the rationale for a one-way exchange. Projects should not simply be academic in nature; they should be designed to provide practical, hands-on experience in U.S. public/private sector settings that may be adapted to an individual's institution upon return home. Proposals may combine elements of professional enrichment, job shadowing and internships appropriate to the language ability and interests of the participants.

Applicants should identify the local organizations and individuals in the counterpart country with whom they are proposing to collaborate and describe in detail previous cooperative programming and/or contacts. Specific information about the counterpart organizations' activities and accomplishments is required and should be included in the section on Institutional Capacity.

Exchanges and training programs supported by the institutional grants from the Bureau should operate at two levels: They should enhance institutional partnerships, and they should offer practical information to individuals and groups to assist them with their professional responsibilities. Strong proposals usually have the following characteristics: A strong existing partnership between a U.S. organization and an in-country institution; a proven track record of working in the proposed issue area; cost-sharing from U.S. and/or in-country sources; experienced staff with language facility; a clear, convincing plan showing how permanent results will be accomplished as a result of the activity funded by the grant; and a follow-on plan beyond the scope of the Bureau grant. The Bureau would like to see tangible forms of time and money contributed to the project by the prospective grantee institution, as well as funding from third party sources.

Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to Solicitation Package for further information.

Budget Guidelines

Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000.

Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. Grant awards will not exceed $175,000. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification.

Allowable costs for the program include the following:

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(1) All Participant Expenses (Tibetan and American)

(2) Other Program Expenses as needed and justified

(3) Administrative Expenses including indirect costs

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 Tibet Professional and Cultural Exchange Project and reference number: ECA/PE/C/EAP-01-38.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The Office of Citizen Exchanges, room 216, SA-44, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547, telephone number 202/260-5491, fax number 202/260-0440, or rharvey@pd.state.gov 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 specify Bureau Program Officer, Raymond H. Harvey, on all other 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 website 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, D.C. time on Friday, May 18, 2001. 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 12 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/EAP-01-38, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 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.

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, as well as the Public Diplomacy section at the U.S. Embassy, will review all 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 Acting 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. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission.

2. Program planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.

3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan.

4. 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.

5. 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).

6. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals.

7. 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.

8. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that Bureau supported programs are not isolated events. Start Printed Page 17219

9. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives should be included with the application.

10. 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.

11. Cost-sharing: Proposals should maximize cost sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.

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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 above is provided through The Conference Report on the FY-2001 Consolidated Appropriation Act that mandated support for 2001 Tibet Professional and Cultural Exchange Project.

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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.

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Dated: March 21, 2001.

Helena Kane Finn,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

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[FR Doc. 01-7796 Filed 3-28-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P