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2024 Professional Fellows Program

2024 Professional Fellows Program

Deadline: 05-Apr-2024

The Global Leaders Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) invites proposal submissions for the FY 2024 Professional Fellows Program (PFP) in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.

The PFP is a two-way global exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting and sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States to address shared challenges under the themes of Governance and Society, Economic Empowerment, and Civic Engagement.

Purpose

The purpose of the PFP is to:

  • Promote mutual understanding and lasting partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States;
  • Provide opportunities for non-U.S. and American emerging leaders to collaborate and share ideas, approaches, and strategies regarding pressing challenges;
  • Enhance leadership and professional skills for both non-U.S. and American Fellows to encourage positive change in their workplaces and communities; and
  • Build a global network of like-minded professionals.

Program Specific Guidelines

  • The non-U.S. Fellows will travel to the United States for a professional fellowship that will be five- to six-weeks in length. The fellowship will include an individually tailored placement, “the fellowship placement,” that is a minimum of four weeks in length. The U.S.-based exchange component will conclude with a capstone three-day Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DC, attended by the participating Professional Fellows. Several months after the non-U.S. Fellows complete the U.S. program, the U.S. Fellows will travel overseas on an American outbound program that is approximately two weeks in length and directly supports follow-on projects and long-term collaboration.

Key Administrative Elements

Proposals should fully demonstrate capacity to administer the following key administrative elements of the program:

  • Recruit and Select Non-U.S. Fellows: In collaboration with ECA, award recipients will recruit and select the non-U.S. Fellows. Award recipients are required to develop an online program announcement and program application.
  • At a minimum, the participant selection criteria for non-U.S. Fellows for the PFP must include the below:
    • emerging leaders in government, civil society, or the private sector who have demonstrated expertise pertaining to the respective theme of each proposal;
    • mid-level professionals, 25 to 40 years old at the time of participation in the program, who, at a minimum, are currently employed and have two or more years of relevant professional work experience;
  • Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) and Arrival Orientation: For non-U.S. Fellows and U.S. Fellows, the award recipient will be responsible for conducting a pre-departure orientation (PDO) and an arrival orientation. The PDO for non-U.S. Fellows should be conducted prior to departing their home country and should be coordinated with the Public Diplomacy Section. For non-U.S. Fellows, the PDO and arrival orientation should cover, at a minimum:
    • travel logistics, including arrival information and J-1 visa regulations;
    • project goals and program expectations;
    • proposed U.S. fellowship placements;
  • U.S. Program for the Non-U.S. Fellows: The U.S. program for the non-U.S. Fellows should be substantive and be approximately five- to six-weeks in length. Key program elements of the U.S. program must include:
    • A pre-departure orientation (PDO) in the home country before departure to the United States;
    • An arrival orientation in the United States;
  • U.S. Fellowship Placement for each Non-U.S. Fellow: Proposals should discuss how the award recipient will recruit and select U.S. fellowship placement organizations. To ensure that each non-U.S. Fellow has a substantive professional experience, each fellowship placement should involve the commitment of a designated placement host who understands the goals and objectives of the PFP.
  • Professional Fellows Congress for the Non-U.S. Fellows: At the conclusion of the U.S. fellowship placement, the non-U.S. Fellows will participate in the Professional Fellows Congress tentatively scheduled for spring 2026 in Washington, D.C. The Congress will provide the non-U.S. Fellows:
    • the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world, share their U.S. experiences, and learn from the experiences of other Professional Fellows;
    • a contextual framework for the broader fellowship experience and exchange program;
  • American Outbound Programs (for U.S. Fellows to travel to the participating countries): American outbound programs for U.S. Fellows should be substantive and approximately two weeks in length. American outbound programs should build upon the U.S. program; allow the U.S. Fellows to conduct joint programming with the non-U.S. Fellows and their colleagues, especially regarding the non-U.S. Fellows’ individual projects; directly support U.S. public diplomacy objectives; and advance the PFP goals of building lasting professional partnerships.
  • Collaboration with the Public Diplomacy Section of the Respective Embassy(-ies): Award recipients must work closely with the Public Diplomacy Section of the respective embassy(-ies) to develop plans for program implementation, including the recruitment and selection of non-U.S. Fellows, pre-departure orientations (PDOs), and other in-country program activities.
  • Post-Fellowship Engagement: Proposals should describe how post-Fellowship engagement will be approached after the non U.S. Fellows return to their home country. Proposals should articulate how the award recipient will provide ECA with regular updates on the non-U.S. Fellows’ individual projects as well as professional successes following their participation in the PFP.

Funding Information

  • Approximate Total Funding: $7,221,000, pending the availability of funds
  • Approximate Average Award: $400,000 – $550,000, pending the availability of funds
  • Minimum “Floor” of Award: $400,000, pending the availability of funds
  • Maximum “Ceiling” of Award: $750,000, pending the availability of funds
  • Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2024, pending the availability of funds
  • Anticipated Project Completion Date: March 31, 2027

Themes and Eligible Countries

  • Governance and Society
    • Proposals submitted under the Governance and Society theme can include professionals involved in the legislative process; governance; public administration; policy making; political campaigns/political parties; the legal field; journalism; non-governmental organizations; innovation and technology; or empowering women, children, minorities, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized populations.
    • Sub-Saharan Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
    • East Asia and Pacific Eligible Countries: Proposals must include all of the following countries: Burma, Hong Kong (PRC), Mongolia, and Papua New Guinea.
    • Europe and Eurasia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Türkiye, and Ukraine.
    • Middle East and North Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
    • South and Central Asia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
    • Western Hemisphere Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Peru. Proposals should include a special focus on promoting the social inclusion of marginalized groups such as people of African and/or indigenous descent.
  • Economic Empowerment
    • Proposals submitted under the Economic Empowerment theme can include professionals involved in entrepreneurship; small and medium enterprises; start-ups; incubators/accelerators; social entrepreneurship; business administration; business education; community training programs; non-governmental organizations; or government.
    • Sub-Saharan Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
    • East Asia and Pacific Eligible Countries: Proposals must include all of the following countries: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.
    • Europe and Eurasia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greenland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Ukraine.
    • Middle East and North Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include all of the following countries: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and West Bank/Gaza.
    • South and Central Asia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include all of the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
    • Western Hemisphere Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Proposals should include a special focus on addressing the root causes of irregular migration.
  • Civic Engagement
    • Proposals submitted under the Civic Engagement theme can include professionals involved in non-governmental administration; community development; advocacy; education; journalism; law; youth initiatives; strengthening resilient communities; or empowering women, children, minorities, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized populations.
    • Sub-Saharan Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
    • East Asia and Pacific Eligible Countries: Proposals must include all of the following countries: Hong Kong, Mongolia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Taiwan.
    • Europe and Eurasia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Türkiye, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
    • Middle East and North Africa Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
    • South and Central Asia Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
    • Western Hemisphere Eligible Countries: Proposals must include at least four of the following countries: Argentina, Barbados, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago. Proposals should include a special emphasis on building resilient institutions and countering malign outside influence.

Eligible Applicants

  • U.S. public and private academic and cultural institutions, exchange-of-persons, and other not for-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit applications for this competition. Applicants must have non-profit status with the IRS at the time of application. Please see the PSI for additional information.
  • ECA’s grant guidelines require that organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchanges be limited to $130,000 in ECA funding. ECA anticipates each award to be in an amount over $130,000 to support all costs required to implement this exchange program. Therefore, organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchanges are ineligible to apply under this competition.
  • Only one proposal will be considered by ECA from each applicant organization. In cases where more than one submission from an applicant appears in grants.gov, ECA will only consider the submission made closest in time to the NOFO deadline; that submission would constitute the one and only proposal ECA would review from that applicant.

For more information, visit Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

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