Funding Opportunity: Better Understanding of American Policy for Established Opinion Leaders by U.S. Mission to India

About the Organization

The Department of State advises the President and leads the nation in foreign policy issues. The State Department negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and represents the United States at the United Nations.

Our Mission: To protect and promote U.S. security, prosperity, and democratic values and shape an international environment in which all Americans can thrive.

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world, a reflection of the importance the United States places on its relationship with India. The Embassy represents 17 U.S. federal government agencies, from the U.S. Department of State to the Federal Aviation Administration.  The Embassy coordinates the activities of four consulates — in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad – ensuring that the U.S.-India relationship is strong throughout the country.

About the Grant

The U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Section in New Delhi, under the U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a series of events to provide established opinion leaders a ringside view of American-funded programs in India.  The proposals are being solicited for a Cooperative Agreement that meets the specifications stated in Section II from legally recognized organizations that meet U.S. and Indian technical and legal requirements to develop and implement public diplomacy programs specified below.  The program envisages taking journalists from print, digital, and broadcast outlets to see U.S. government programs in action, meet the beneficiaries of the programs, and talk on-the-record with the Mission India principals about the policy or goal behind the projects.  This will showcase to these influential media persons the long history of close cooperation between India and the United States in various fields, from culture to health like COVID response and vaccine production.  These 12 press events, through a one-year period, can be in any of the four consulate or the embassy New Delhi’s region.

Priority Region: New Delhi and all four consulate regions.

Less than one third of Indians aged 18-35 believe the United States is India’s most reliable partner, but a majority (78% according to a recent ORF report) believe that the United States will be India’s leading partner in 10 years.  Some messaging portrays the United States as an unreliable partner, and Indian commentators often draw on historical examples of U.S. – India distance, to undercut U.S. arguments on current issues on which the two countries disagree.  By demonstrating the enduring nature of the U.S. – India relationship through successful programs which have benefited millions of Indians, this project will show that the United States is a natural partner for India – and has been for many years already.

This project will help inoculate Indian society against narratives of U.S. unreliability when they emerge by providing influential Indian journalists with real-world examples of the ways that America has positively contributed to India’s growth story for decades and continues to do so.  The stories filed by these established opinion leaders will, in turn, promote mutual understanding between citizens of the two countries.

The collaboration with CDC on disease surveillance, the joint production of defense equipment or the successful preservation of monuments under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) across the country highlight the longstanding collaboration between the two countries and positive press coverage of current programs being implemented will go a long way in combatting negative narratives about the U.S.- India partnership.  A tour of such a project followed by a round table discussion in any of the four consulate or embassy regions would generate several positive stories as the journalists will get to see firsthand the implementers and the beneficiaries themselves.

Project Audience(s): Mid to senior level journalists from each region who cover foreign affairs, politics, economics, consular issues, governance, health, and urban affairs will be the target audience for each of the 12 events.  These journalists, with about 30 to 40% being women, in turn will reach millions of Indian viewers and readers across the country who have an interest in foreign affairs.

Project Goal: The United States and India are better together, and so the goal is to foster increased understanding of U.S. government policy on the part of Established Opinion Leaders in India, to increase their sentiment of the United States as a reliable partner and encourage future cooperation.

The invited journalists following each engagement will write at least one article for their outlet highlighting one of the USG programs or events they observed, its impact on the U.S. – India partnership and benefits to the people of both countries.  This will go a long way in advancing the narrative of U.S.’s reliability as a partner to India. 

The successful applicant will be responsible for developing, staffing, and executing 12 press roundtables/conferences or interactions connected to, but not limited to, a U.S. government project/USG official visit or a cultural event. 

When conceptualizing and proposing the schedule for such press events, the grantee will research and provide names and bios of the participants and examples of their journalistic work from websites, social media, or any other media.  PD New Delhi will approve the selection of the journalists from a list of candidates provided by the grantee.  The grantee will coordinate and handle all programmatic and logistical aspects from initial concept to final evaluation, including but not limited to: creating promotional content like advisories, flex backdrops, lighting, audio visual requirements like mic’s, amplifiers, multi-box, and audio/video recordings depending on the requirements of the event.  The grantee will design dynamic programs that encourage media persons to cover USG events, emceeing events and coordinating with PD for opening remarks, snacks/catering for guests (if appropriate), and helping ensure positive coverage keeping in mind tight security requirements.

The grantee of this Cooperative Agreement should organize in consultation with PD staff any pre- or follow-on activities, such as web chats, short videos, media round up of all published articles or on-air stories on the event or VIP visit covered.  The grantee will conduct a post-event evaluation after each event to improve on future programs.

Grantee Role

  • Develop a menu of possible locations/venues and program ideas at least 4-6 weeks in advance for review and final selection by PD New Delhi.
  • Identify and maintain lists of appropriate journalists, 30% of whom are women, who cover foreign affairs, defense, trade, health and other important beats to be called upon to cover any U.S. government project, event or high-ranking principal visit.
  • Coordinate logistics (invitations, A/V support, honorariums/fees, travel, marketing, refreshments, etc.) for the press events developed and supported under this Cooperative Agreement.
  • Conduct follow up surveys and outreach to monitor and evaluate program effectiveness for policy objectives.

USG Role

  • Prioritize missions’ events/ VIP visits/mission funded projects that need to be highlighted through positive press coverage.
  • Approve from list of journalists provided within the region where event is to take place and help finalize list of invitees with the grantee to each event.
  • Help grantee focus on key, strategic themes throughout the year for each quarter, to ensure mission goals and messaging objectives are being met.

Program Objectives:

To show that the United States is a reliable and longstanding partner by increasing awareness of the close cooperation between the two countries through positive press coverage of USG programs being implemented in India, as well as various high-level USG official visits. 

  • Each month, the grantee will organize a press event around a key milestone of a mission project/Ambassador event/USG visit or a specific program.
  • The grantee will organize a minimum of twelve events, including four larger events (i.e. – a panel discussion) every quarter in the twelve-month cycle.
  • The grantee will liaise with influential journalists to ensure top media persons are invited at the press events and roundtables.
  • Post event surveys will show impact of organizing these press events.


The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not for profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non- governmental organizations.
  • Public and private educational institutions with nationwide reach
  • Public international organizations and governmental Institutions

How to Apply

Submission DeadlineAll applications must be received by January 10, 2024 [11:59 pm midnight Washington DC].

Submission Method A: Submitting all application materials through  For those opting to apply through, thorough instructions on the application process are available at For questions relating to, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or go to Please note that is unable to assist with technical questions or problems applicants experience with

Submission Method B:  Submitting all application materials directly to the following email address:

Applicants opting to submit applications via email to must include the Funding Opportunity Title and Funding Opportunity Number in the subject line of the email. 

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