[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 1997)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4572-4575]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-2303]


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UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY

Telecommunications Training Program for Slovenia

ACTION: Notice--request for proposals.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the United States 
Information Agency's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 
announces an open competition for an assistance award. Public and 
private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in 
IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c)(3)-1 may apply to develop training 
programs in telecommunications for Slovenia.
    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

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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 Eastern European Democracies Act.
    Programs and projects must conform with Agency requirements and 
guidelines outlined in the Solicitation Package. USIA projects and 
programs are subject to the availability of funds.
    Announcement Title and Number: All communications with USIA 
concerning this announcement should refer to the above title and 
reference number E/P-97-23.
    Deadline for Proposals: All copies must be received at the U.S. 
Information Agency by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on Friday, March 14, 
1997. Faxed documents will not be accepted, nor will documents 
postmarked March 14, 1997 but received at a later date. It is the 
responsibility of each applicant to ensure that proposals are received 
by the above deadline.
    Program activities should begin after June 1, 1997.
    For Further Information, Contact: The Office of Citizen Exchanges, 
E/PE, Room 216, U.S. Information Agency, 301 4th Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20547, telephone: 202-619-5319, fax: 202-619-4350, e-
mail address: ([email protected]} to request a Solicitation Package 
containing more detailed award criteria, required application forms, 
and standard guidelines for preparing proposals, including specific 
criteria for preparation of the proposal budget.
    To Download a Solicitation Package Via Internet: The entire 
Solicitation Package may be downloaded from USIA's website at http://
www.usia.gov/ or from the Internet Gopher at gopher//gopher.usia.gov. 
Under the heading ``International Exchanges/Training,'' select 
``Request for Proposals (RFPs).'' Please read ``About the Following 
RFPs'' before downloading.
    Please specify USIA Program Officer Christina Miner on all 
inquiries and correspondences. Interested applicants should read the 
complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or 
submitting proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, Agency staff 
may not discuss this competition in any way with applicants until the 
Bureau proposal review process has been completed.
    Submissions: Applicants must follow all instructions given in the 
Solicitation Package. The original and eight copies of the application 
should be sent to: U.S. Information Agency, Ref.: E/P-97-23, Office of 
Grants Management, E/XE, Room 326, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, 
D.C. 20547.
    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. USIA will transmit 
these files electronically to USIS posts overseas for their review, 
with the goal of reducing the time it takes to get posts' comments for 
the Agency's grants review process.

Diversity 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.
    Supplementary Information: Overview: Slovenia is beginning the 
process of restructuring its telecommunications sector. Restructuring 
involves liberalizing the provision of voice and data telephony 
services and providing opportunities for alternative telecom operators 
and networks to offer more advanced products and services to a nation 
than had been previously available. The first step is the adoption of 
legislation authorizing new entrants into the nation's telecom arena. 
USIA is interested in proposals that will provide an overview of the 
U.S. telecommunications sector with special attention focussing on the 
regulatory structure as provided by an independent regulatory authority 
such as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission; the effects of 
liberalization and privatization on the telecom sector and how this 
restructuring can be accomplished; and the introduction of new 
telecommunications products and services to consumers and how this can 
be accomplished in other markets. Participants should include officials 
from the incumbent telecommunications service provider; government 
officials from the ministry and parliamentary body that will oversee 
the restructuring of the telecom sector; and other participants who may 
represent vendors or potential new networks. The primary component of 
this project will be a U.S. study tour to give participants an idea of 
how the telecommunications sector functions in the U.S. Exchange and 
training programs supported by institutional grants should operate at 
two levels: they should enhance institutional relationships; and they 
should offer practical and comparative information to individuals to 
assist them with their professional responsibilities. Strong proposals 
usually have the following characteristics: an existing partner 
relationship between an American organization and a host-country 
institution; a proven track record of conducting program activity; cost 
sharing from American or in-country sources, including donations of air 
fares, hotel and housing costs; experienced staff with language 
facility; and a clear, convincing plan showing how permanent results 
will be accomplished as a result of the activity funded by the grant. 
USIA wants 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.

    Note: Research projects or projects limited to technical issues 
are not eligible for support nor are film festivals or exhibits. 
Exchange programs for students or faculty or proposals that request 
support for the development of university curricula or for degree-
based programs are also ineligible under this RFP. Proposals to link 
university departments or to exchange faculty and/or students are 
funded by USIA's Office of Academic Programs (E/A) under the 
University Affiliation Program and should not be submitted in 
response to this RFP.

Guidelines

    1. All grant proposals must clearly describe the type of persons 
who will participate in the program as well as the process by which 
participants will be selected. Note that participants should be 
professionals working in the field of telecommunications and not 
members of university faculties. In the selection of all foreign 
participants, USIA and USIS posts retain the right to nominate 
participants and to approve or reject participants recommended by the

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program institution. Programs must also comply with J-1 visa 
regulations.
    2. Programs that include internships in the U.S. should provide 
letters tentatively committing host institutions to support the 
internships. Letters of commitment from the hosts of study tour site 
visits should also be included, if applicable.
    3. Applicants are encouraged to consult with USIS offices regarding 
program content and partner institutions before submitting proposals. 
Award-receiving applicants will be expected to maintain contact with 
the USIS post throughout the grant period.

Proposal Budget

    Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget 
guidelines instructions.
    Applicants must submit a detailed line item budget based on 
specific instructions in the Program and Budget Submission 
Instructions. Proposals for less than $60,000 will receive preference.
    The following project costs are eligible for consideration for 
funding:
    1. International and domestic air fares; visas; transit costs; 
ground transportation costs.
    2. Per Diem. For the U.S. program, organizations have the option of 
using a flat $140/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 flat rate.
    3. Interpreters. If needed, interpreters for the U.S. program are 
provided by the U.S. State Department Language Services Division. 
Typically, a pair of simultaneous interpreters is provided for every 
four visitors. USIA grants do not pay for foreign interpreters to 
accompany delegations from their home country. Grant proposal budgets 
should contain a flat $140/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.
    4. Book and cultural allowance. 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. staff do not get 
these benefits.
    5. Consultants. May be used to provide specialized expertise or to 
make presentations. Daily 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.
    6. Room rental, which generally should not exceed $250 per day.
    7. Materials development. Proposals may contain costs to purchase, 
develop, and translate materials for participants.
    8. One working meal per project. 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.
    9. A return travel allowance of $70 for each participant which is 
to be used for incidental expenditures incurred during international 
travel.
    10. All USIA-funded delegates will be covered under the terms of a 
USIA-sponsored health insurance policy. The premium is paid by USIA 
directly to the insurance company.
    11. Other costs necessary for the effective administration of the 
program, including salaries for grant organization employees, benefits, 
and other direct and indirect costs per detailed instructions in the 
application package.

Review Process

    USIA 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. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to panels of 
USIA officers for advisory review. All eligible proposals will be 
reviewed by the program office, as well as the USIA Office of East 
European and NIS Affairs and the USIA post overseas, where appropriate. 
Proposals may be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel or by 
other Agency elements. Funding decisions are at the discretion of the 
USIA Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final 
technical authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative 
agreements) resides with the USIA 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 respond to the 
program requirements of the RFP.
    2. Program planning and ability to achieve objectives: Program 
objectives should be stated clearly and precisely and should reflect 
the applicant's expertise in the subject area and the region. Goals 
should be reasonable and attainable. A detailed agenda and relevant 
work plan should demonstrate how objectives will be achieved. A 
timetable indicating when major program tasks will be undertaken should 
be provided. The substance of seminars, presentations, consulting, 
internships, and itineraries should be spelled out in detail. 
Responsibilities of incountry partners should be clearly described.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel and institutional 
resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or 
project's goals. The narrative should demonstrate proven ability to 
handle logistics. Proposals should reflect the institution's expertise 
in the subject area and knowledge of Slovenia.
    6. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for 
continued follow-on activity (without USIA support) which ensures that 
USIA supported programs are not isolated events.
    7. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan and 
methodology to evaluate the project's success, both as the activities 
unfold and at the end of the program. USIA recommends that the proposal 
include a draft survey questionnaire and/or plan for use of another 
measurement technique (such as a focus group) to link outcomes to 
original project objectives. Award-receiving organizations/institutions 
will be expected to submit intermediate reports after each project 
component is concluded or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.
    8. Cost-effectiveness/cost sharing: The overhead and administrative 
components of the proposal, including salaries, honoraria, and 
subcontracts for services, 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

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institutional direct funding contributions.

Notice

    The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may 
not be modified by any USIA representative. Explanatory information 
provided by the Agency that contradicts published language will not be 
binding. Issuance of the RFP does not constitute an award commitment on 
the part of the Government. The Agency 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 USIA procedures.

    Dated: January 24, 1997.
Dell Pendergrast,
Deputy Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
[FR Doc. 97-2303 Filed 1-29-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8230-01-M