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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Request for Grant Proposals: Bosnia and Herzegovina Undergraduate Development Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Summary: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the Bosnia and Herzegovina Undergraduate Development Program. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to administer the placement, monitoring, evaluation, follow-on, and alumni activities for the FY 2003 Bosnia and Herzegovina Undergraduate Development Program. Once cooperative agreement will be awarded to administer the program. Proposals should include provisions for the recruitment and selection of FY 2003 participants. Organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs are not eligible for this competition.

Program Information

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Undergraduate Development Program (herein referred to as the BUDP Program) provides scholarships for one-year, non-degree study at U.S. institutes of higher education to outstanding students of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Scholarships are available in the fields of agriculture, American studies, business administration, criminal justice studies, economics, environmental resource management, journalism/communication, and political science. Scholarships are granted to students who have completed at least two years of study at an accredited university in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Students must be citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. BUDP participants will be enrolled in one-year, non-degree programs at four-year colleges and universities. Students will enhance their academic education with participation in community service and an internship. Interested organizations should read the entire Federal Register announcement for all information prior to preparing a proposal. Programs must comply with J-1 Visa regulations. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further information. Pending the availability of funds, it is anticipated that this grant awards will begin in January 2003.

Budget Guidelines

The Bureau anticipates awarding one grant of approximately $400,000 under this grant competition. Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. Therefore, organizations that cannot demonstrate at least four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. The level of funding for FY 2003 is uncertain, but is anticipated to be approximately $400,000. Based on this figure, applicant organizations should submit a budget which will fund 10-15 participants. ECA anticipates awarding one grant under this competition. Applicant organizations are encouraged, through cost sharing and other methods, to provide for as many scholarships as possible based on approximated funding. 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. Please Start Printed Page 60712refer 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/A/E/EUR-03-09.

For Further Information, Contact: The Office of Academic Exchange Programs, ECA/A/E/EUR, Room 246, U.S. Department of State, SA-44, 301 4th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20547, Phone: 202-205-0525; Fax: 202-260-4060, oborecka@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 Olivia Borecka 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 Web site 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, DC time on Friday, November 8, 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 eight (8) copies of the application should be sent to: U.S. Department of State, SA-44, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Ref.: ECA/A/E/EUR-03-02, 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 Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo for review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to get the embassy'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, 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 Regulstions 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 the administration of Exchange Visitor Programs as set forth in 22 CFR part 62, 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, record-keeping, 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 http://exchanges.state.gov 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 Affairs Sections 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 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. Program Development and Management: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, innovation, and relevance to Bureau mission. Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the organization will meet the program's objectives. A 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.

2. 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. Proposals should also include creative ways to involve students in their U.S. communities.

3. Support of Diversity: Proposal should demonstrate the recipient's commitment to promoting the awareness and understanding of both Start Printed Page 60713geographic and ethnic diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States.

4. 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. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals.

5. Alumni Tracking and Follow-on: Proposals should provide a plan for effective tracking of participants after the completion of the program. Proposals should include a plan for continued follow-on activity which insures that ECA supported programs are not isolated events, but have meaning and scope beyond the time the actual exchange took place.

6. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the program's success, both during and after the program. The Bureau recommends that the proposal include a draft survey questionnaire or other technique, plus a description of methodologies that can be used to link outcomes to original project objectives. The grantee organization will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project component is concluded or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.

7. Cost-effectiveness and Cost Sharing: 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. 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 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.

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: September 18, 2002.

C. Miller Crouch,

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

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[FR Doc. 02-24475 Filed 9-25-02; 8:45 am]

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