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FY 2018 Professional Fellows On-Demand Program

Grant to a USA Nonprofit for an International
Foreign Policy Fellowship Exchange Program

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U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) - Office of Citizen Exchanges - Professional Fellows Division

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Grant to a USA nonprofit organization to coordinate an international fellowship exchange program addressing emerging foreign policy priorities. Proposals are invited for two-way fellowship exchanges that engage the participation of current or potential leaders in business, civil society, and government.

The Professional Fellows Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) invites proposals for the FY 2018 Professional Fellows On-Demand Program. The Professional Fellows On-Demand Program will build upon the foundation of the current Professional Fellows Program and prior Professional Fellows On-Demand Program exchanges.

This exchange program supports U.S. foreign policy goals by enabling the U.S. Department of State to respond in a timely manner to emerging foreign policy priorities. U.S. public and private nonprofit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to provide a series of two-way exchange projects ranging in size and scope, each involving current or potential government, business, and civil society leaders.

It is anticipated that the cooperative agreement would support approximately six to eight distinct exchange projects for approximately 140 participants pending the availability of FY 2018 funds: approximately 85 foreign participants and approximately 55 American participants.

The focus, size, and nature of each project will be identified and developed by ECA, in consultation with Department of State stakeholders and the award recipient during the course of the cooperative agreement period. Each exchange should include multiple components or activities designed around the achievement of the specific project goal.

A central component of each project will be a group of foreign participants who will travel to the United States for an intensive, tailored program. The foreign group component will be followed or preceded by reciprocal overseas programs, as conditions permit, for smaller groups of American participants. The American participants should have experience or expertise in the field of the exchange project, and an established connection or linkage with the foreign participants.

The award recipient will work closely with U.S. Embassies and in-country or regionally-based partner organizations, as appropriate, to recruit, screen, and select the participants and develop program activities that best address the specific project goal. The final list of participants should be approved by ECA prior to offers being extended. American participants will be selected in close consultation with ECA.

Additional project components, such as regional gatherings of participants overseas, small grants competitions, local trainings, or other follow-on components should be developed, as appropriate, based on the scope and goals of the specific exchange.

Purpose and Program Description:

To complement existing public diplomacy efforts supporting emerging young professionals, and to allow the Department of State to more nimbly respond to emerging foreign policy issues and events around the world, ECA has developed the Professional Fellows (PF) On-Demand Program. The PF On-Demand Program offers a more flexible program model with a shorter lead time than the Professional Fellows Program (PFP). The existing PFP supports month-long intensive professional development opportunities in the United States for emerging leaders from countries around the world. The PF On- Demand Program, developed within a tight time-frame, will allow professionals from countries and regions around the world to take part in a specially-designed exchange focused on a specific U.S. foreign policy priority or foreign policy goal. While the subject matter of each individual PF On-Demand project will differ, a key theme cutting across the PF Programs is strengthening the capacity of civil society and government to respond to pressing challenges that arise within varying regions or countries.

The FY 2018 PF On-Demand Program supports the following broad goals:

1. To provide timely support for emerging foreign policy priority issues where existing public diplomacy resources are not immediately available or accessible;

2. To create lasting partnerships between emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States in specific and substantive areas of focus;

3. To provide opportunities for foreign and American emerging leaders to collaborate and share ideas, approaches, and strategies regarding challenges to pressing issues;

4. To enhance professional and leadership skills for both foreign and American participants to effect positive change in their workplaces and communities.


“Projects” are defined as a set of exchanges focused on specific, often urgent and emerging, foreign policy priorities. During the course of this cooperative agreement, it is anticipated that approximately four to eight projects will be approved for implementation, on a broad range of thematic topics and geographic focuses. Each project will be identified by ECA in consultation with Department of State stakeholders, including regional bureau representatives and U.S. embassies. Once officially approved by ECA, work on a new project will commence. Exchange projects identified by the U.S. Department of State should have a four-month turnaround time from project approval to project completion. It is highly likely that multiple projects will take place on overlapping timelines and the award recipient needs to be able to manage several projects in various phases of design and implementation at the same time


"Participants" are defined as those who travel under federal award funding from their country of origin to a designated exchange country of a project. Foreign participants should, as appropriate, be selected through a merit-based, open competitive process. Unless requested otherwise, participants should be up-and-coming, mid-level government, business, or civil society professionals with experience and current employment directly relevant to the approved exchange project. It is preferable that all selected participants be proficient in written and oral English, have demonstrated leadership ability, and a professional commitment to the project goals. It will be possible to include participants who do not have strong English skills, but specific provisions for the possibility of non-English speaking participants should be spelled out in the proposal.

U.S. participants should include professionals with relevant expertise in the subject matter or policy issue area on which the project is focused. The U.S. participants should be individuals who have had or will have significant engagement with the foreign participants during their U.S. exchange program.

U.S. Embassy Involvement:

It is anticipated that U.S. Embassy staff may be actively engaged in each project. U.S. Embassies may work closely with the award recipient on program activities including, but not limited to, recruitment and selection of the participants; pre-departure briefings; U.S. visas; and alumni follow-on projects. The proposal should discuss how the award recipient plans to consult regularly with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) at participating U.S. Embassies to implement the exchange projects. While PAS will be actively engaged in any particular project, the onus will remain with the award recipient to manage the overall program activities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182585

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

It is ECA’s intent to award one cooperative agreement.

Estimated Size of Grant:

It is ECA’s intent to award approximately $2,000,000.

Term of Contract:

The cooperative agreement will begin on or about September 1, 2018. The award period will be approximately 15 months in duration.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may be submitted by U.S. public and private nonprofit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code Section 26 USC 501(c)(3).

Bureau grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years’ experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $130,000 in Bureau funding. Because ECA anticipates that the approximate average award will be $2,000,000, organizations with less than four years’ experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition.

Organizational Capacity:

Applicant organizations must demonstrate their capacity for conducting international professional exchanges; supporting short-term fellowship placements in relevant host organizations; administering exchanges focused in a range of different subject areas and geographic regions; implementing exchange projects that address specific policy challenges; and providing substantive programming and leadership training for up-and- coming professionals.

Proposals should illustrate the organization’s breadth of experience working in difficult environments, establishing professionally-tailored fellowships in a range of fields, and demonstrating flexibility, adaptability, and creativity in programming under challenging conditions. Proposals should include concrete examples in which the organization has responded quickly to rapidly evolving circumstances, including, if possible, examples that demonstrate the organization’s ability to initiate international exchanges in countries in which the organization has not previously worked. Proposals should clearly articulate a staffing plan that allows the organization to conduct multiple On-Demand Program projects concurrently.

Partner Organizations:

Applicant organizations should provide examples of programs, businesses, institutions, organizations, and individuals with whom they would collaborate and should describe previous cooperative activities. A proposal could identify a hypothetical program theme and goal, and spell out a proposed approach to developing a program, with examples of organizations or individuals upon whom the applicant might rely to develop aspects of the program design. Proposals must demonstrate capacity in the United States to secure suitable short-term, tailored placements for foreign participants and develop professionally relevant, substantive programming. Applicant organizations should also submit a list of partner organizations outside of the United States through which participants have been recruited for previous programs as an indication of the organizational capacity to collaborate with foreign partner organizations. As it is anticipated that program activity may take place in countries where an organization does not have its own presence, the proposal should demonstrate a willingness and ability to identify and work with a new in-country or regional partner organization to assist with program design and implementation. Proposals should include concrete examples in which the applicant organization has established and worked with new in-country or regional partner organizations in a short timeframe.

Pre-Application Information:

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.

The application deadline date is January 16, 2018.

All federal award applicants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database in order to submit a proposal in response to an open competition on

Applications must be submitted via The registration process can take up to four weeks to complete.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Sheila Shamber
P: (202) 632-9372
F: (202) 632-9355

U.S. Department of State
Office of Citizen Exchanges
Professional Fellows Division, SA-5.
3rd Floor, 2200 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming