The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce the FY 2014 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition. AEIF offers alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs the opportunity to team up and propose innovative projects that address specific themes. Project proposals must be submitted between April 1 and April 23, 2014. Finalists will be announced by May 6 and ECA will announce the list of proposals to receive funding by late June.
Alumni must submit proposals through the International Exchange Alumni website https://alumni.state.gov/
AEIF promotes use of the International Exchange Alumni website; increases the leadership capacity of alumni and alumni associations; and offers exchange alumni the opportunity to develop projects that address strategic goals. In the 2013 AEIF competition, close to 700 project ideas were submitted, and 53 projects were funded.
Alumni will be able to submit project proposals with budgets of up to $25,000. Projects must address one of the strategic priorities listed in paragraph four below. All project teams must be comprised of alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs who are registered members of the International Exchange Alumni on-line community. At least one team member must be from an ECA-funded exchange and at least three members must be non-U.S. citizens. There must be at least five team members associated with the project by April 23, 2014. All projects must be submitted by non-U.S. citizen alumni and be executed outside the borders of the United States.
Phase One: Project Submission/Team Building
All project ideas will be submitted by alumni through a special section of the International Exchange Alumni website (http://alumni.state.gov/aeif) and will be available so that all International Exchange Alumni members can view and comment. Information on the 2014 AEIF competition is available now on the International Exchange Alumni website. Alumni will be able to submit projects for the competition on the site starting on April 1, 2014. Alumni will propose projects that address one of ten global themes:
1. Empowering Women
2. Outreach to Underserved Communities
3. Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment
4. Expanded Access to Education
5. Environmental Protection
6. Government Transparency
7. Freedom of Expression
8. Conflict Resolution
9. Citizen Security
10. Promoting Civil Society
No individual alumnus may submit more than one proposal per project category. Alumni are welcome to submit projects that involve partnership across borders and activity in multiple countries in a region. All project submissions must specify the ways in which the activities are innovative for their alumni association, country, or region.
Phase One of the AEIF submission process is interactive. Proposals are made available to alumni and other International Exchange Alumni website members, who can make suggestions or offer assistance and cooperation. Submitters may take into account feedback provided by other members and may refine their ideas throughout the review period. Teams do not need to be composed exclusively of ECA exchange alumni and can include returned Peace Corps Volunteers or alumni of other USG-funded exchanges such as CASS, Cochran, Boren, and related programs.
Phase Two: Finalist Proposal Competition
The AEIF finalist projects will be posted on the International Exchange Alumni website on May 6, 2014. Project teams will be notified and asked to provide additional information regarding their projects, including detailed budgets. Once again, members of the International Exchange Alumni website will have the opportunity to read the expanded project proposals, post comments and discuss the proposed projects. At this stage, alumni will be able to vote for their favorite projects in each category. Phase Two will run for three weeks, closing on May 27.
The Alumni Affairs Division will announce the results of the competition by late June, and will work with U.S. Embassies to administer the grant in early July.