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Notice of Funding Opportunity: Sustainable U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Partnership


The Public Diplomacy Section (PD) of the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs (U.S. OPA) announces an open competition for a grant through this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The Sustainable U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Partnerships is designed to partner with U.S. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), U.S. Not-for-Profit Organizations, and Palestinian to implement activities which advance the applicant’s goals and the U.S. OPA-PD mission: to advance a comprehensive and lasting peace through a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the development of a vibrant, representative, and responsive Palestinian civil society, private sector, and governing institutions through substantive engagement with American people, institutions, ideas and ideals in order to improve American-Palestinian relations and create greater opportunities for mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation.


Priority Region: Jerusalem, West Bank, and/or Gaza

Program Objectives: All proposed projects must aim to advance the OPA-PD mission goals stated above, a partnership between American and Palestinian institutions, and achieve at least one of the following specific objectives:

  1. Internationalization: Supports Palestinian universities’ global and regional integration and prepares students to become globally-empowered citizens.
  2. Relationships: Reinvigorates or builds upon existing partnerships or brings a new U.S. university or education sector partner to the Palestinian higher education landscape.  The partnership agreement should delineate a well-defined purpose and objectives that align with the objectives of the respective institutions.  Given the unique conditions of the global pandemic, it is not required that such partnership agreement be finalized at the time of proposal submission but a letter of intent from each institution to complete such an agreement should be included if a full agreement is not.
  3. Sustainability: The proposal should clearly demonstrate how both institutions will successfully sustain the relationship after the end of the U.S. government-funded award and how this partnership will be embedded within the institutional framework of both organizations.

Successful proposals should incorporate the following elements:


  1. The proposal should establish a partnership and joint activities that support the development of a substantive and long-term linkage between the cooperating U.S. and Palestinian educational institutions to encourage collaboration; engagement at the administrative and faculty level (and student-level as appropriate); and the sharing of knowledge and expertise.
  2. The proposal should explain the importance of the area of collaboration for both higher education institutions and how it aligns with their priorities; provide details about the proposed internationalization model and how it will operate; and clearly show how the expected results will help the partnering organizations achieve their objectives.
  3. The proposal should contain clearly stated, measurable goals and objectives, and specific indicators of success along with a plan for measuring those indicators to evaluate the project’s success in achieving its goals and objectives.  Use of Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives (SMART) is recommended.
  4. While there are no requirements about specific subject matter/fields of collaboration, the OPA hopes to fund a partnership with this award that is not purely focused on English language capacity building, since the U.S. government has many other resources supporting this field.  We understand and expect that English language will be a critical and necessary element of most partnership proposals, yet the goal of this call for proposals is to expand to other subjects and fields.

 Participants and Audiences:

Primary participants in the engagement will be academic faculty and administrators at the Palestinian and American higher education institutions.  Students at the institutions should also participate in and benefit from the project as appropriate.



Length of performance period: 12 to 36 months

Number of awards anticipated: 1 award

Award amounts: up to $100,000

Total available funding: $100,000

Type of Funding:  FY21 Smith Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds

Anticipated program start date:  September 30, 2022 

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Grant agreement

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 36 months or less.  The Department of State may entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.



  1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible primary applicants for grant funding must be U.S. Not-For-Profit Higher Education Institutions, U.S. Not-For Profit Organizations that develop and manage higher education programs and/or Palestinian Not-For-Profit Universities.

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required but will evaluated during the merit review.  Cost sharing may be used to break ties among applications with equivalent scores after evaluation against all other factors.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.


Organizations wishing to submit proposals to the Public Affairs Section should click this link to review the documents and forms: https://www.grants.gov/forms/sf-424-family.html


To see the full grant announcement, click this link:

Complete Notice of Funding Opportunity Announcement (PDF 188 KB)