[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 219 (Friday, November 13, 1998)]
[Pages 63526-63528]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-30443]



NIS College and University Partnerships Program

ACTION: Request for proposals.


SUMMARY: The Office of Academic Programs of the United States 
Information Agency's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs 
announces an open competition for an assistance award program. 
Accredited, post-secondary educational institutions meeting the 
provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may apply to 
develop a partnership with (a) foreign institution(s) of higher 
education from the New Independent States in specified fields.
    Proposed projects must be eligible in terms of countries/localities 
and disciplines as described in the section entitled ``Eligibility'' 
    Participating institutions exchange faculty and administrators for 
a combination of teaching, lecturing, faculty and curriculum 
development, collaborative research, and outreach, for periods ranging 
from one week (for planning visits) to an academic year. The FY 99 
program will also support the establishment and maintenance of Internet 
and/or e-mail communication facilities as well as interactive distance 
learning programs at foreign partner institutions. Applicants may 
propose other project activities not listed above that are consistent 
with the goals and activities of the NIS College and University 
Partnerships Program.
    The NIS College and University Partnership Program awards up to 
$300,000 for up to a three-year period to defray the cost of travel and 
per diem with an allowance for educational materials and some aspects 
of project administration. Grants awarded to organizations with less 
than four years of experience in conducting international exchange 
programs will be limited to $60,000.
    Please note that USIA's NIS College and University Partnerships 
Program (NISCUPP) is intended exclusively for college and university 
partnerships throughout the NIS in the following fields: Law, business/
economics, education, public administration/public policy/government/
urban and regional economic development, and journalism/communications. 
Other similar United States Government linkage programs include USIA's 
College and University Affiliations Program, which supports linkages 
with institutions in selected countries worldwide, and the Sustaining 
Partnerships into the Next Century (SPAN) program, funded by the United 
States Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by 
the International Research & Exchange Board (IREX) which supports 
partnerships, including university partnerships, in the Russian 
Federation which contribute to USAID's strategic objectives. USIA and 
USAID cooperate in order to effectively distribute assistance funding 
and avoid duplication of efforts. Applicants interested in USIA's 
College and University Affiliations Program should contact USIA's 
Specialized Programs Branch at (202) 619-5289. Applicants interested in 
USAID's SPAN program should contact IREX at (202) 628-8188.
    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

[[Page 63527]]

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 Freedom for Russia and 
Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992 
(Freedom Support 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 RFP should refer to the NIS College and University 
Partnerships Program and reference number E/ASU-99-05.
    Deadline For Proposals: All copies must be received at the U.S. 
Information Agency by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on Friday, February 
19, 1999. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents 
postmarked by the due date but received at a later date will not be 
    Approximate program dates: Grants should begin on or about August 
15, 1999.
    Duration: August 15, 1999-August 14, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Office of Academic Programs; 
Advising, Teaching, and Specialized Programs Division; Specialized 
Programs Branch, (E/ASU) room 349, U.S. Information Agency, 301 4th 
Street, SW., Washington, DC. 20547, fax: (202) 401-1433 to request a 
Solicitation Package containing more detailed award criteria; all 
application forms; and guidelines for preparing proposals, including 
specific criteria for preparation of the proposal budget. Please 
specify USIA Program Officer Sam Eisen (telephone: 202-619-4097, e-
mail: [email protected]) on all inquiries and correspondences regarding 
partnerships with institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, 
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan. Please specify USIA Program 
Officer Jonathan Cebra (telephone: 202-619-4126, e-mail: 
[email protected]) on all inquiries and correspondences regarding 
partnerships with institutions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, 
Georgia, Moldova, or Ukraine.
    To Download a Solicitation Package via Internet: The entire 
Solicitation Package may be downloaded from USIA's website at http://
www.usia.gov/education/rfps. Please read all information before 
    To Receive a Solicitation Package via Fax on Demand: The entire 
Solicitation Package may be received via the Bureau's ``Grants 
Information Fax on Demand System'', which is accessed by calling 202/
401-7616. Please request a ``Catalog'' of available documents and order 
numbers when first entering the system.
    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 10 copies of the application 
should be sent to: U.S. Information Agency, Ref.: E/ASU-99-05, Office 
of Grants Management, E/XE, Room 326, 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. 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, 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. Pub.L. 
104-319 provides that ``in carrying out programs of educational and 
cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom 
and democracy'', USIA ``shall take appropriate steps to provide 
opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and 
democracy leaders of such countries.'' Proposals should account for 
advancement of this goal in their program contents, to the full extent 
deemed feasible.

Year 2000 Compliance Requirement (Y2K Requirement)

    The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting 
problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing 
information in accordance with Federal management and program specific 
requirements including data exchange with USIA. The inability to 
process information in accordance with Federal requirements could 
result in grantees' being required to return funds that have not been 
accounted for properly.
    USIA therefore requires all organizations use Y2K compliant systems 
including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must accurately 
process data and dates (calculating, comparing and sequencing) both 
before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and correctly adjust 
for leap years.
    Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the 
General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology 
website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.



    The NIS College and University Partnership Program is limited to 
the following specific academic disciplines:
    (1) Law;
    (2) Business/economics/accounting/trade;
    (3) Education/continuing education/civic education/educational 
    (4) Government/public policy/public administration/urban and 
regional economic development; and
    (5) Journalism/communications.
    Proposals must focus on curriculum, faculty, and staff development 
at the NIS partner institution(s) in one or more of these eligible 
disciplines. Administrative reform at the foreign partner should also 
be a project component. Proposals in the field of economic development 
should focus on utilizing university resources to conduct educational 
outreach which will promote trade and investment in the region.
    Projects should involve the development of new academic programs or 
the building and/or restructuring of an existing program or programs, 
and should promote higher education's role in the transition to market 
economies and open democratic systems.

[[Page 63528]]

Feasibility studies to plan partnerships will not be considered.
    Whenever feasible, participants should make their training and 
personnel resources, as well as results of their collaborative 
research, available to government, NGOs, and business.
    Participating institutions should exchange faculty and/or staff 
members for teaching/lecturing and consulting. At least once during the 
grant period, one U.S. participant should be in residence at the 
foreign partner institution for one semester to serve in a coordinating 
role. (Exception: Proposals for partnerships with institutions in 
Tajikistan should not include travel by U.S. participants to 
    U.S. institutions are responsible for the submission of proposals 
and should collaborate with their foreign partners in planning and 
preparing proposals. U.S. and foreign partner institutions are 
encouraged to consult about the proposed project with USIA E/ASU staff 
in Washington, DC. Preference will be given to proposals which 
demonstrate evidence of previous relations with the foreign partner 
institution(s). Preference will be given to proposals which do not 
duplicate partnership activities currently supported by USIA.


U.S. Partner and Participant Eligibility

    In the U.S., participation in the program is open to accredited 
two- and four-year colleges and universities, including graduate or 
professional schools. Applications from consortia of U.S. colleges and 
universities are eligible. Secondary U.S. partners may include relevant 
non-governmental organizations, non-profit service or professional 
organizations. If a lead U.S. institution in a consortium is 
responsible for submitting an application on behalf of a consortium, 
the application must document the lead school's stated authority to 
represent the consortium. Participants representing the U.S. 
institution who are traveling under USIA grant funds must be faculty, 
staff, or advanced graduate students from the participating 
institution(s) and must be U.S. citizens.

Foreign Partner and Participant Eligibility

    Overseas, participation is open to recognized institutions of post-
secondary and continuing education. Secondary foreign partners may 
include relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations, non-
profit service or professional organizations. Participants representing 
the foreign institutions must be faculty, staff or advanced students of 
the primary or secondary partner institution, and be citizens, 
nationals, or permanent residents of the country of the foreign 
partner, and be qualified to hold a valid passport and U.S. J-1 visa.
    Foreign partners from the following countries are eligible:
    Belarus--foreign partners must be independent institutions; state 
universities are not eligible;
    Kazahkstan--preference will be given to proposals for partnerships 
with institutions located in the Atyrau region;
    Kyrgyzstan--potential applicants should contact USIA before 
preparing proposals;
    Russia--preference will be given to proposals which: (1) Designate 
partner institutions outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg; (2) are in 
the field of business administration and designate partner institutions 
which have been designated by the Russian government for inclusion in 
the Presidential Management Training Initiative--a partial list of such 
institutions can be found in the POGI; (3) designate partner 
institutions in regions which have been identified by the U.S.-Russian 
Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation for Regional 
Initiatives--such regions currently include: Khabarovsk kraj, Sakhalin 
oblast, Samara olbast, and Novgorod oblast. Proposals for partnerships 
with institutions in Novgorod in regional economic development focusing 
on tourism are encouraged.
    Tajikistan--in consideration of the State Department Warning 
advising U.S. citizens to defer travel to Tajikistan, proposals for 
partnerships with institutions in Tajikistan should not include travel 
by U.S. participants to Tajikistan;
    Ukraine--preference will be given to proposals for partnerships 
with institutions located in the Kharkiv region;
    Partnerships including a secondary foreign partner from a non-NIS 
country are eligible; however, with the exception noted below, USIA 
will not cover overseas non-NIS partner institution costs.
    USIA encourages proposals which build upon established 
collaboration between U.S. institutions and partners in Central and 
Eastern Europe in order to support faculty and curriculum development 
in the NIS and to promote regional cooperation. Funds may be budgeted 
for the exchange, within the context of this partnership agreement and 
under the guidance of the U.S. partner institution, of faculty between 
NIS institutions and institutions of higher learning in Central and 
Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, 
Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of 
Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, 


    A proposal will be deemed technically ineligible if:
    (1) It does not fully adhere to the guidelines established herein 
and in the Solicitation Package;
    (2) It is not received by the deadline;
    (3) It is not submitted by the U.S. partner;
    (4) One of the partner institutions is ineligible;
    (5) The academic discipline(s) is/are not listed as eligible in the 
RFP, herein;
    (6) The amount requested of USIA exceeds $300,000 for the three-
year project.
    Please refer to program-specific guidelines (POGI) in the 
Solicitation Package for further details.


    The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may 
not be modified by an 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.


    Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by 
Congress, allocated and committed through internal USIA procedures.

    Dated: November 2, 1998.
John P. Loiello,
Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
[FR Doc. 98-30443 Filed 11-12-98; 8:45 am]