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Notice

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: Tibet Development, 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 Development, Professional and Cultural Exchange Project. U.S.-based public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue code section 26 USC 501 (c) (3) may submit proposals that promote understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the Tibetan ethnic group living in China, through professional developmental, educational and cultural projects.

Interested applicants should read the complete Federal Register announcement before addressing inquiries to the Office of Citizen Exchanges or submitting their proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, the Office of Citizen Exchanges may not discuss this competition in any way with applicants until after the Bureau program and project review process has been completed.

Announcement Name and Number

All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFGP should reference the Tibet Development, Professional and Cultural Exchange Project and reference number: ECA/PE/C/WHAEAP-02-66. Please refer to title and number in all correspondence or telephone calls to the Office of Citizen Exchanges.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Interested organizations/institutions must contact the Office of Citizen Exchanges, room 216, SA-44, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, telephone number 202/619-5326, fax number 202/260-0440, or pmidgett@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.

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.

Program Information

Overview

The Office of Citizen Exchanges welcomes proposals that directly respond to the following thematic areas. Preference will be given to those proposals that incorporate two of the following themes in the submission. Given budgetary limitations, projects for other themes will not be eligible for consideration under the FY-2002 Tibet Development, 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 in China, from malnutrition to fatal pneumonia, tuberculosis and diarrhea. The program would focus on developing and implementing appropriate public health policies, through seminars, training programs (especially in the areas of inoculations, child nutrition, midwifery, cataract surgery, or cleft palate repair) and outreach to public and private health planners and practitioners, to ensure the optimal welfare and economic viability of ethnic Tibetan communities. (Formal medical education 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 and development activities funded under this theme would help American and ethnic Tibetan conservationists, tourism planners, and economic development officials share their experience in managing tourism resources and development projects, particularly in ecologically fragile areas, and would contribute to better understanding of conservation and concepts essential to responsible economic development. Local community development projects are invited in such areas as renewable energy, ecotourism, micro-credit, or poverty alleviation projects, including farm technology, animal husbandry, or agricultural marketing. 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 vocational training or 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 ethnic Tibetans and Americans in a modern and changing economy.

Vocational education may include practical training of entrepreneurs; development of Tibetan-language educational materials (such as Tibetan-English teaching guides or Tibetan-language public health education materials; or development of distance-learning technology solutions for remote rural schools. English-language training projects should focus on in situ training. (Projects seeking funding to support the travel of ethnic Tibetans to the U.S. for English language instruction are outside the purview of this theme and will not be accepted activities for funding under this competition.) Start Printed Page 30751

Developing Enterpreneurship

Projects under this theme may focus on the skills ethnic 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). Projects 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. Programs that train budding entrepreneurs and develop micro finance programs for them are welcome.

Cultural Preservation

Projects under this theme are aimed to assist ethnic Tibetans in preserving their cultural heritage through programs designed to reduce the threat of pillage of irreplaceable cultural heritage, and to create opportunities to develop long-term strategies for preserving cultural property through training and conservation, museum development, and public education. Projects might include supporting the preservation of cultural sites; objects in a site, museum or similar institution; or forms of traditional cultural expression. The proposals may encompass topics such as museum needs, historic buildings, collections, archaeological sites, rare manuscripts, traditional music and language.

Guidelines

The Office seeks proposals that provide professional experience and where possible, 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. While a portion of this funding will be available for travel under these grants to support two-way exchanges, the key aim is to train and assist ethnic Tibetans living in China. Proposals only seeking funding for one-way travel, either Tibetans to travel to the United States or U.S. project personnel to travel to China must provide a clear explanation detailing the rationale for a one-way exchange. Projects in the U.S. 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. All proposals must contain letters of support specific to the project being proposed from all in-country partner organizations.

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 a dependable in-country institution with a track record of successful project implementation; 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 and a commitment by the staff to monitor projects locally to improve accountability; 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.

Proposals must demonstrate an organization's willingness to consult closely with the Public Affairs Section and other officers at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. Proposal narratives should confirm that all materials developed for the project must acknowledge USG funding for the program as well as intention to invite representatives of the Embassy and/or Consulate to participate in various program sessions/site visits. Please note that this requirement will be included in the grant document.

Selection of Participants

All grant proposals should clearly describe the type of persons who will participate in the program as well as the process by which participants will be selected. It is recommended that for programs including U.S. internships, grant applicants submit letters tentatively committing host institutions to support the internships. In the selection of Tibetan participants, the Department, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu retain the right to review all participant nominations and to accept or refuse participants recommended by grantee institutions. The grantee institution will also provide the names of American participants and brief (two pages) biographical data on each American participant to the Office of Citizen Exchanges for information purposes. Priority in two-way exchange proposals will be given to foreign participants who have not previously traveled to the United States.

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 development or exchange programs will be limited to $60,000. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. Grant awards will range from $175,000 to $250,000. 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.

The following project costs are eligible for consideration for funding:

1. Travel costs. International and domestic airfares; visas; transit costs; ground transportation costs. Please note that all air travel must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. There is no charge for J-1 visas for participants in Bureau sponsored programs. Please note that Tibetan participants may not travel to the U.S. primarily for English language instruction.

2. Per Diem. For the U.S. program, organizations have the option of using a flat $160/day for program participants or the published U.S. Federal per diem rates for individual American cities. For activities outside the U.S., the published Federal per diem rates must be used. Note: U.S. escorting staff must use the published Federal per diem rates, not the flat rate. Per diem rates may be accessed at http://www.policyworks.gov/​.

3. Interpreters: If needed, interpreters for the U.S. program are available through the U.S. Department of State Language Services Division. Typically, a pair of simultaneous interpreters is Start Printed Page 30752provided for every four visitors who need interpretation. Bureau grants do not pay for foreign interpreters to accompany delegations from their home country. Grant proposal budgets should contain a flat $160/day per diem for each Department of State interpreter, as well as home-program-home air transportation of $400 per interpreter plus any U.S. travel expenses during the program. Salary expenses are covered centrally and should not be part of an applicant's proposed budget. Locally arranged interpreters with adequate skills and experience may be used by the grantee in lieu of State Department interpreters, with the same 1:4 interpreter to participant ratio. Costs associated with using their services may not exceed rates for U.S. Department of State interpreters.

4. Book and cultural allowance: Foreign participants are entitled to and escorts are reimbursed a one-time cultural allowance of $150 per person, plus a participant book allowance of $50. U.S. program staff members are not eligible to receive these benefits.

5. Consultants. Consultants may be used to provide specialized expertise, design or manage development projects or to make presentations. Honoraria generally do not exceed $250 per day. Subcontracting organizations may also be used, in which case the written agreement between the prospective grantee and subcontractor should be included in the proposal. Subcontracts should be itemized in the budget.

6. Room rental. Room rental may not exceed $250 per day.

7. Materials development. Proposals may contain costs to purchase, develop, and translate materials for participants.

8. Equipment. Proposals may contain limited costs to purchase equipment crucial to the success of the program, such as computers, fax machines and copy machines. However, equipment costs must be kept to a minimum, and costs for furniture are not allowed.

9. Working Meal. The grant budget may provide for only one working meal during the program. Per capita costs may not exceed $5-8 for a lunch and $14-20 for a dinner, excluding room rental. The number of invited guests may not exceed participants by more than a factor of two-to-one. Interpreters must be included as participants.

10. Return travel allowance. A return travel allowance of $70 for each foreign participant may be included in the budget. This may be used for incidental expenses incurred during international travel.

11. Health Insurance. Foreign participants will be covered under the terms of a U.S. Department of State-sponsored health insurance policy. The premium is paid by the U.S. Department of State directly to the insurance company. Applicants are permitted to included costs for travel insurance for U.S. participants in the budget.

12. Administrative Costs. Costs necessary for the effective administration of the program may include salaries for grant organization employees, benefits, and other direct or indirect costs per detailed instructions in the Solicitation Package.

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

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, June 14, 2002. 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/WHAEAP-02-66, 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.

Review Process

Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. The program office, the Public Diplomacy section and other elements at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and officials at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, 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 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 Start Printed Page 30753mutual 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. For technical projects, foreign experts and their local partners will be required to have the necessary education, training and experience for the work to be undertaken, in addition to language skills where applicable.

7. Institution's Record/Ability: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful development or 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. Applicants should have a multiyear track record of successful work in Tibetan regions of China or other remote parts of Asia.

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.

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.

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.

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: April 28, 2002.

Rick A. Ruth,

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

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[FR Doc. 02-11274 Filed 5-6-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P