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

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice 5743]

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA); Request for Grant Proposals: Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program

Announcement Type:New Cooperative Agreement.

Funding Opportunity Number:ECA/A/E/EUR-08-01.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number:00.000.

Key Dates:Application Deadline: June 1, 2007.

Executive Summary:The Office of Academic Exchange Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announces an open competition for the administration of the FY 2008 Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program (Muskie Program). Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c)(3) may submit proposals to administer the selection, placement, monitoring, evaluation, follow-on, and alumni activities for the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program (Muskie Program). Organizations with less than four years experience in conducting international exchange programs are not eligible for this competition.

The Muskie Program selects outstanding citizens from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan (herein referred to as Eurasia) to receive fellowships for Master's level study in the United States in the fields of business administration, economics, law, public administration, and public policy. Candidates from countries other than Russia and Ukraine will be also considered in additional fields of education, environmental management, international affairs, library and information science, journalism/mass communications, and public health per guidelines outlined in the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI). Muskie Program fellows will be enrolled in graduate degree, certificate, and non-degree programs lasting one to two academic years. Funding should support a minimum of 145 fellows for Master's level fellowships under the FY 2008 program. Every effort should be made to maximize the number of awards granted.

I. Funding Opportunity DescriptionAuthority

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 Fulbright-Hays legislation.

Purpose

The Muskie Program is designed to promote mutual understanding, build democracy and foster the transition to market economies in Eurasia through intensive academic study and professional training. The academic component of the program will begin in the fall semester of academic year 2008-2009. Fellows may participate in a nine, twelve, eighteen, or twenty-four month academic program leading to a Master's degree. Fellows also take part in an eight to twelve week internship during the summer following the first academic year, with an option for a second internship following the second year of study. At the end of their designated academic and/or internship programs, fellows are required to return immediately to their home countries.

Applicant organizations must demonstrate the ability to administer all aspects of the Muskie Program--recruitment, selection, university placements, orientation, monitoring and support of FY 2008 fellows including all logistics, financial management, evaluation, follow-on, and alumni. Applicant organizations must demonstrate the ability to recruit and select a diverse pool of candidates from various geographic regions in Eurasia. The cooperating organization will serve as the principal liaison with Muskie Program host institutions for the Bureau. Further details on specific program responsibilities can be found in the Project Objectives, Goals, and Implementation (POGI), which is part of the formal solicitation package. Interested organizations should read the entireFederal Registerannouncementfor all information prior to preparing proposals.

The Bureau will award one cooperative agreement for this program. Should an applicant organization wish to work with other organizations in the implementation of this program, the Bureau requests that a sub-grant agreement be developed. The same requirements apply to the sub-grantee as to the grantee organization.

In a cooperative agreement, the Office of Academic Exchange Programs, European and Eurasian Branch (ECA/E/E/EUR) is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine grant monitoring. ECA/A/E/EUR activities and responsibilities for this program are as follows:

1. Participating in the design and direction of program activities;

2. Approval of key personnel;

3. Approval and input for all program agendas and timelines;

4. Providing guidance in execution of all project components;

5. Monitoring the target goal for number of participants and expenditure of funds toward meeting that goal;

6. Providing guidance on content and speakers for workshops;

7. Assisting with SEVIS-related issues;

8. Assistance with participant emergencies;

9. Providing background information related to participants' home countries and cultures;

10. Providing liaison with Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassies and country desk officers at the State Department;

11. Providing ECA evaluation mechanisms.

II. Award Information

Type of Award:Cooperative Agreement.

ECA's level of involvement in this program is listed under number I above.

Fiscal Year Funds:2008.

Approximate Total Funding:$8,500,000, pending availability of FY 2008 funds.

Approximate Number of Awards:1.

Ceiling of Award Range:$8,500,000.

Anticipated Award Date:Pending availability of funds, October 1, 2007.

Anticipated Project Completion Date:06/30/2011.

Additional Information:Pending successful implementation of this program and the availability of funds in subsequent fiscal years, it is ECA's intent to renew this grant for two additional fiscal years, before openly competing it again.

III. Eligibility InformationIII.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 maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

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 which 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

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 one grant, in an amount up to $8,500,000, 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 apply under this competition. The Bureau encourages applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing and funding in support of its programs.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Dated: March 27, 2007. Dina Habib Powell, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.