1. Summary: The Office of Alumni Affairs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to announce the FY2017 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition. AEIF offers alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs the opportunity to propose innovative projects that address one of five global foreign policy themes. Alumni are invited to submit project ideas through the International Exchange Alumni (IEA) website (https://alumni.state.gov) from March 2 – March 30, 2017. Finalist proposals will be announced in mid to late May, and proposals selected for funding will be announced in July. End Summary.
2. Background: Since its inception in 2011, the AEIF competition offers posts the opportunity to extend their engagement and partnership with diverse alumni audiences. By enhancing the leadership capacity, convening power and action orientation of alumni and alumni networks, AEIF projects support the outstanding multiplier effect of the investment in exchange programs. AEIF’s goal is to help alumni develop and implement projects that promote shared goals related to global policy themes, benefit their communities, and promote wider use of the International Exchange Alumni (IEA) website. Alumni may request up to $25,000 for project proposals that address strategic foreign policy themes. In FY2016, out of more than 800 submission worldwide, 61 proposals were selected to receive funding, and announced as winners on the IEA website.
3. What’s new with AEIF in 2017?
As in previous years, alumni must log in to the IEA website to participate in the competition. In 2017, however, they will then be directed (via single sign-on) to complete their proposal form on a third-party platform, Fluid Review, which is owned by Survey Monkey.
- The new platform was chosen to reduce technical difficulties and increase efficiency. Posts, regional bureaus, and ECA colleagues will also use the platform to evaluate proposals, reducing the quantity of e-mails and attachments.
- Before a public announcement is made about winning 2017 AEIF projects, Alumni Affairs will inform posts and project teams who were selected as finalists via e-mail in mid- to late May. To give the finalist teams and posts time to finalize the grant process (and any remaining project details), Alumni Affairs will announce the winners on the IEA website and social media platforms in July, upon confirmation that all grants documents are completed.
4. Eligibility: To be eligible for consideration in the competition, alumni must be registered and verified members of the IEA website. Alumni teams must include at least three alumni. The team leader must submit a complete proposal and budget using the online application form by the deadline of noon ET on March 30, 2017. Project proposals sent in via e-mail will not be accepted. At least one team member must be from an ECA-sponsored exchange program and at least one member must be a non-U.S. citizen. Proposals must be submitted by non-U.S. citizen alumni and project activities must be executed outside the borders of the United States.
5. Strategic Priorities: All submitted projects must address one of the five global foreign policy themes below. Please note that these themes have been designed to cover a broad range of possible projects supporting shared goals.
- Business Development and Economic Opportunity
- Civic Participation: Building Resilient Communities
- Cooperation in Science, Technology, Health and Energy
- Education and Inclusion: Pathways to Success
- Empowerment of Women and Girl
An individual alumnus/a can submit more than one proposal but should not submit more than one proposal per theme. Alumni are welcome to submit projects that involve partnerships across borders and activities in multiple countries.
6. Timeline, Roles, and Resources:
A. Open Submission: March 2 – March 30, 2017
- Registered alumni are invited to submit project ideas and budgets (in English only) through http://alumni.state.gov/aeif. This page will direct alumni to submit a project through the new aeif.FluidReivew.com platform.
- As in previous years, there will be an enhanced AEIF Help desk with sample projects, budgets, commonly asked questions and guides to the new platform to help alumni successfully participate in the competition.
B. Review Process: April 5 – April 24, 2017
- ECA will notify posts of eligible projects that have been submitted for possible funding in their countries. Posts are requested to review all eligible projects and to recommend the most competitive projects based on project feasibility and relevance to Mission goals by COB Monday, April 25 using the FluidReview platform. Alumni Affairs will notify posts via e-mail with additional information regarding the new review process.
- Review panels will be held in early May with representatives from ECA and the regional bureaus. Post comments and prioritization will be fully considered in determining the finalist projects.
C. Announcing Finalists, Winners and Post Competition
- Alumni Affairs will notify posts and regional bureaus of the finalists first and then announce the finalists on the IEA website. Finalist teams will also be notified via e-mail.
- Alumni Affairs will work with posts to finalize program details, budgets and grantee information and will provide fiscal data by July, pending availability of funds.
- Upon receiving confirmation from posts that all AEIF grants have been signed by the grantees, Alumni Affairs will announce the 2017 AEIF projects selected for funding to posts and regional bureaus via e-mail, and on the IEA website and Exchange Alumni social media properties to the alumni community.
- Posts must obligate funds by September 30, 2017.