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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Public Administration Curriculum Development Project with the New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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NOTICE:

Request for grant proposals.

SUMMARY:

The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Department of State announces an open competition for an assistance award to support the New Bulgarian University in its efforts to develop a curriculum and improve its program of instruction and outreach in public administration. Accredited post-secondary educational institutions meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to develop this program. The means for achieving this objective may include faculty training, case study development, consultation, teaching, research, interactive distance education, internship training and professional outreach to local government officials and public sector managers.

Overview and Project Objectives

The project will enable the New Bulgarian University to design instructional materials and to train its faculty for a program in public administration. The New Bulgarian University is also interested in cooperating on the development of a joint degree program with the potential for U.S. accreditation through the U.S. institution. The project will support faculty and curriculum development and outreach to public sector managers and practitioners in Bulgaria and will emphasize empirical public policy analysis.

Applicants are encouraged to develop creative strategies to pursue these objectives. These strategies should reflect an understanding of the status, achievements, and current needs of public administration education in Bulgaria as well as an understanding of the training needs of public managers. Applicants are encouraged to explain in the proposal how empirically based case studies can be emphasized in a curriculum that also addresses a broad range of public policy, public finance and public management issues.

The project should pursue these objectives through a strategy that coordinates the participation of junior and senior level faculty, administrators, or graduate students for any appropriate combination of teaching, research, mentoring, internships, and outreach to Start Printed Page 18995practitioners through continuing education. Exchange visits should range from approximately one week to one academic year. Visits of one semester or longer for some participants from Bulgaria are strongly encouraged. Activities must be tied to project objectives.

If the proposed project would occur within the context of a previous or ongoing project, the proposal should explain how the request for Bureau funding would build upon the pre-existing relationship or complement previous and concurrent projects, which must be listed and described with details about the amounts and sources of internal and external support. Previous projects should be described in the proposal, and the results of the evaluation of previous cooperative efforts should be summarized.

U.S. Institution and Participant Eligibility

In the United States, participation in the program is open to accredited two and four-year colleges and universities, including institutions offering advanced degrees, that meet the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501 (c). Applications from consortia or other combinations of U.S. colleges and universities are eligible. The lead U.S. organization in the 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.

With the exception of outside consultants reporting on the degree to which project objectives have been achieved, participants traveling under the Bureau's grant funds must be teachers or administrators from the participating institution(s). Advanced U.S. graduate students assigned to teach at the New Bulgarian University are eligible to participate in the project. Participants representing the U.S. institution(s) must be U.S. citizens.

Bulgarian Institutional and Participant Eligibility

The Bulgarian partner is the New Bulgarian University. Secondary foreign partners may include relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as non-profit service and professional organizations concerned with the development of public administration in Bulgaria. Foreign participants must be instructors at the New Bulgarian University or preparing for instructional positions at this institution, and must be citizens or permanent residents of Bulgaria who are eligible to receive J-1 visas.

Budget Guidelines

The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant not to exceed $228,750. Applicants may submit a budget not to exceed this amount. Organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are limited to $60,000, and are not encouraged to apply. Budget notes should carefully justify the amounts needed. There must be a summary budget as well as a breakdown reflecting the program and administrative budgets including unit costs. Cost sharing will be considered an important indicator of institutional commitment.

Funds will be awarded for a period up to three years to defray the costs of exchanges, to provide educational materials, to increase library holdings and improve Internet connections. Up to 25% of the grant total may be used to defray the costs of project administration.

Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete guidelines and formatting instructions.

Announcement Title and Number

All correspondence with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs concerning this RFGP should reference the “Project in Public Administration with the New Bulgarian University” and reference number ECA/A/S/U-01-22.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

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, SA-44; U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547, phone (202) 619-5289, fax: (202) 401-1433, e-mail: murbina@pd.state.gov to request a Solicitation Package.

The Solicitation Package contains detailed review criteria, required application forms, and guidelines for preparing proposals, including specific criteria for preparation of the proposal budget. Please specify the above reference number 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 website at http://exchanges.state.gov/​education/​rfgps. Please read all information before downloading.

Deadline of 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, June 1, 2001. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents postmarked by the due date but received on a later date will not be accepted. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure compliance with the deadline.

Approximate Grant Duration

Grants should begin on or about September 1, 2001, and end on or about August 30, 2004.

Submissions

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and 10 copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Ref.: ECA/A/S/U-01-22, Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 534, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547.

All copies should include the documents specified under Tabs A through E in the “Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation” (POGI) section of the Solicitation Package. The documents under Tab F of the POGI should be submitted with the original application and with one of the ten copies.

Proposals that do not follow RFGP requirements and the guidelines appearing in the POGI and PSI may be excluded from consideration due to technical ineligibility.

Applicants must also submit the “Executive Summary,” and “Proposal Narrative” Sections of the proposal on a 3.5” diskette, formatted for DOS. This material 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 of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia for its advisory review, with the goal of reducing time it takes to get the post's 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, Start Printed Page 18996religion, 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. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. Eligible proposals will be subject to review for compliance with Federal and Bureau regulations and guidelines and will be 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 assistance awards (grants or cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

Review Criteria

State Department officers in Washington, D.C. and overseas will use the criteria below to reach funding recommendations and decisions. Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank-ordered or weighted.

1. Broad Significance and Clarity of Institutional Objectives

Proposals should outline clearly formulated objectives that relate specifically to the needs of the participating institutions. Project objectives should be tied to expected lasting results which are both significant and realistic for the participating institutions. Proposals should also demonstrate how these results will contribute to more accountable public sector administration in Bulgaria.

2. Creativity and Feasibility of Strategy To Achieve Project Objectives

Strategies to achieve project objectives should creatively utilize and reinforce exchange activities. For example, if distance learning will be included in the project at a later phase, applicants must demonstrate that this component is feasible and that it will provide a high degree of interaction among the faculty and the students.

3. Support of Diversity

Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity by explaining how issues of diversity relate to project objectives and how these issues will be addressed during project implementation. Proposals should also outline the institutional profile of each participating institution with regard to the composition of participating faculty, research institutes and community outreach in the pursuit of project objectives.

4. Institutional Commitment

Proposals should demonstrate significant understanding of the institutional needs of the New Bulgarian University and should outline the U.S. institution's capacity to address these needs while also benefiting from its involvement with the Bulgarian partners. Proposals should also demonstrate a strong commitment by the partner institutions, during and after the period of grant activity, to cooperate in the pursuit of joint educational and institutional objectives.

5. Institutional Record/Ability

Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of administering successful public administration projects, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by the State Department's contracts officers. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Reviewers will also consider the quality of proposed exchange participants' academic credentials, skills, commitment and experience relative to the goals and activities of the project plan.

6. Project Evaluation

The proposal should outline a methodology for determining the degree to which the project meets its objectives, both while the project is underway and at its conclusion. The evaluation process should include an external component and should provide observations about the project's performance within the framework of the project objectives, the participating institutions and their surrounding communities or societies.

7. Cost-Effectiveness

Administrative and program costs should be reasonable and appropriate with cost sharing provided as a reflection of the applicant's commitment to the project.

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 Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989.

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.

Projects must conform with Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the solicitation Package. The POGI, a document describing this project's objectives, goals, and implementation is included in the Solicitation Package. Start Printed Page 18997

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: April 9, 2001.

Helena Kane Finn,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-9188 Filed 4-11-01; 8:45 am]

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