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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 5713]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Request for Grant Proposals: Faith and Community: A Dialogue

Announcement Type:New Grant.

Funding Opportunity Number:ECA/PE/C/NEA-AF-07-20.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number:00.000.

Application Deadline:May 8, 2007.

Executive Summary:The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for multiple grants to support international exchange projects under the rubric "Faith and Community: A Dialogue." This is a continuation of the Office of Citizen Exchanges' "Religion and Society: A Dialogue" initiative, conducted over the past several fiscal years. Public and private non-profit organizations or consortia of such organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to develop and implement multi-phased exchanges involving the travel of clerics, scholars of religion, educators, and community leaders/activists from countries with significant Muslim populations to the United States and of reciprocal visits by American clerics, scholars of religion, and community leaders/activists. (Note that additional participant categories may be included in projects for Southeast Europe. See below.)

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 legislation.

I. Overview

The Office of Citizen Exchanges consults with and supports American public and private nonprofit organizations in developing and implementing multi-phased, often multi-year, exchanges of professionals, community leaders, scholars and academics, public policy advocates, non-governmental organization activists, and others. These exchanges address issues of crucial importance to the United States and to other countries; they promote focused, substantive, and cooperative interaction among counterparts; and they entail both theoretical and experiential learning for all participants. A primary goal is the development of sustained, international, institutional and individual linkages. In addition to providing a context for professional development and collaborative problem-solving, these projects are intended to introduce foreign participants and their American counterparts to one another's political, social, and economic structures, facilitating improved communication and enhancing mutual understanding. The exchange proposal should include focused interaction with local citizens in all countries and activities to orient participants to one another's society and culture.

The initiative "Faith and Community: A Dialogue" will support international exchanges of clerics, scholars of religion, educators, and community leaders/activists--influential and recognized for their ability to communicate, through sermons, in scholarly writing, or through community leadership and educational activities--between the United States and countries with significant Muslim populations. The objectives of the exchange are (1) to enhance the non-American participants' understanding of the place of religion, particularly of Islam, in the life of American communities; (2) to develop a common language for American and non-American participants to examine issues of relevance to their respective societies and to develop effective approaches to dealing with them; (3) to offer an understanding of Islamic practice within a multi-cultural, multi-faith, democratic context; and (4) to broaden the understanding of American scholars, clerics, and laypersons of Islam and of its place in diverse non-American societies.

We solicit projects that focus on a particular theme of relevance to faith and community groups in the proposed participating countries. Possible themes might be civil discourse in a multi-faith context; the role of law in resolving conflicts and preserving freedom of expression within and among minority/faith communities; the role of faith communities in providing community services; educating for respect and co-existence; or the role of law in protecting religious expression in diverse societies. We welcome proposals for projects on other themes of relevance to participating countries for which the proposing institution has, or can mobilize, American participants with intellectual expertise and an interest in international dialogue on the selected theme. Proposals should explicitly identify how the American organization will identify counterpart experts in participating countries and state the specific outcome to be achieved by each phase or component of the proposed project.

The project, to be conducted over a period of 18 to 24 months, will involve several exchange visits. Initially, one or two American scholars/project organizers may travel to designated partner countries to deepen their familiarity with the particular issues faced by counterpart institutions and communities in those countries and to identify individuals who might serve as advisers or be selected as participants in the project and to gain their interest in the exchange. Subsequently, approximately 12 non-American scholars and clerics will travel to the United States for a period of three to four weeks. The non-American participants will visit Islamic centers, consult with American Muslim scholars and clerics, visit and become familiar with libraries and archives of Islamic documents, make presentations and participate in discussions at non-Muslim religious institutions and at secular institutions that represent America's guarantee of human dignity and freedom of worship, engage in inter-religious dialogue, and participate in workshops and seminars, both public and at institutions dedicated to scholarship and research. Finally, a group of American scholars and clerics will travel to the home countries of the non-American participants, meet with counterparts, visit institutions, and, ideally, cooperate with participants in the original U.S. visit in presenting a seminar, a series of workshops, etc., in order to expand the network of individuals directly affected by the exchange. This series of visits would then be repeated in the following year. Participants in the second year of exchanges might be the same if the goal is to deepen the dialogue, or, if the goal is to accomplish broader participation, participants should be selected to reflect that objective. During each phase of the exchange, traveling participants should be encouraged to have in-depthinteraction with local citizens and to participate in appropriate press, media, and other outreach activities.

Geographic Focus

This initiative is worldwide in scope, with primary focus on countries with significant Muslim populations. For the FY07 competition, in order to assure balance with already existing exchange programs under this rubric, we shall be particularly interested in exchanges focused on the following geographic areas: (1) Francophone West Africa (Senegal; Mauritania; Niger; Mali; Guinea; Burkina Faso; Chad), (2) North Africa (Morocco; Algeria; Tunisia), (3) Southeastern Europe (Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Macedonia; Montenegro; Serbia), (4) Southeast Asia (Malaysia; the Philippines; Thailand), and (5) The countries of the Arabian Gulf (Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Qatar; Bahrain; the United Arab Emirates; Oman; Yemen). Exchange proposals that focus on two or more countries in a region or those that focus on single-country exchanges are equally welcome. For projects in Southeast Europe, participants may be educators and others who influence youth, journalists specializing in social/inter-communal issues, as well as clerics, scholars, and community activists/leaders. Projects for this region may also focus more intensely on inter-faith dialogue and include activities encouraging tolerance, respect among communities, and joint-faith community outreach activities.

The Office of Citizen Exchanges encourages applicants to be creative in planning project implementation. Activities for all regions may include both theoretical orientation/philosophical background sessions and experiential, community-based initiatives designed to achieve objectives or produce a specific product (magazine, study guide, educational outreach material, etc.) to be used in local communities. Applicants should, in their proposals, identify any partner organizations and/or individuals overseas or in the U.S. with which/whom they are proposing to collaborate and justify the collaboration on the basis of the proposed partner's experience, accomplishments, etc.

Selection of Participants

Applications should include a description of a merit-based, focused participant selection process. Applicants should anticipate consulting with the Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies in selecting participants, with the Embassy retaining the right to nominate participants, to advise the grantee regarding participants recommended by other entities, and to determine the appropriateness of granting visas.

Public Affairs Section Involvement

The Public Affairs Sections (PAS) of the U.S. Embassies often play an important role in project implementation. The PAS will initially evaluate project proposals, and, once a grant is awarded, the PAS may, in consultation with the grantee organization, coordinate planning with the grantee organization and in-country partners, facilitate in-country activities, nominate participants and vet grantee nominations, observe in-country activities, and debrief participants. The PAS will also evaluate project impact. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is responsible for producing and signing DS-2019 Forms. These forms will be provided the foreign participants by the U.S. Mission as part of the process of obtaining the necessary J-1 visas for entry to the United States on a government-funded project. Grantee organizations must submit data on proposed participants electronically.

Though project administration and implementation are the responsibility of the grantee institution, the grantee is expected to inform the PAS in participating countries of its operations and procedures and to coordinate with PAS officers in the development of project activities. The PAS should be consulted regarding country priorities, political and cultural sensitivities, security issues, and logistic and programmatic issues.

II. Award Information

Type of Award:Grant Agreement.

Fiscal Year Funds:2007.

Approximate Total Funding:$1,500,000.

Approximate Number of Awards:three or more, with awards ranging from $250,000 to $500,000.

Anticipated Award Date:Pending availability of funds, August 2007.

Anticipated Project Completion Date:September 1, 2009.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1.Eligible applicants:Applications may be submitted by public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

III.2.Cost Sharing or Matching Funds:There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, the Bureau encourages applicants to provide the highest possible level of in-cash or in-kind cost sharing and funding in support of its programs, and those that provide cost sharing that represents 20% or more of the total cost of the exchange will receive priority consideration. When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved grant agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, you must maintain written records to support all costs that are claimed as your contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-110, (Revised), Subpart C.23--Cost Sharing and Matching. In the event you do not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, ECA's contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

III.3.Other Eligibility Requirements:

a. Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $60,000 in Bureau funding. ECA anticipates awarding, in the course of this competition, grants ranging from $350,000 to $500,000 to support program and administrative costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to receive an award under this competition.

b. Technical Eligibility: Proposals must comply with the requirements included in this Request for Grant Proposals in order to be considered technically eligible for consideration in the review process.

IV. Application and Submission Information
Dated: February 27, 2007. Dina Habib Powell, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.