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Request for Proposal for Producing an Annotated Bibliography for the Stevens Initiative

The Stevens Initiative is seeking an external consultant to write an annotated bibliography.

July 9, 2019

Request for Proposal for Producing Annotated Bibliography for the Stevens Initiative

Contact: Kyle Kastler


RFP Issue Date: July 9, 2019

Proposal Deadline: July 29th, 2019

Project Timeline Overview

  • First Draft Due: October 4th, 2019
  • Final Draft Due: November 15th, 2019


The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to build global competence for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa by growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange: online, international, and collaborative learning. The Initiative was created as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Ambassador Chris Stevens. The Initiative advocates for virtual exchange as a means to build global competency skills, including the capacity to work with people from other backgrounds, digital literacy, problem-solving, and language skills. These skills will prepare young people to participate in the global economy. The Initiative aims to increase empathy for people from other backgrounds; to improve engagement; and to reduce conflict for future generations. Virtual exchange can significantly increase these skills and enable attitude shifts in a manner that is cost-effective, scalable, and uniquely capable of reaching populations that are not otherwise reached by in-person exchange programs.

The Initiative is housed at the Aspen Institute and is a collaboration between the family of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Department of State, the Bezos Family Foundation, the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, among other public and private partners.

More information about the Stevens Initiative can be found here: www.stevensinitiative.org

Project Description

Research Goals and Audience

We invite individual researchers and research institutions to submit proposals to produce an annotated bibliography identifying literature and research on virtual exchange and specific related fields suggested by the Initiative. The annotated bibliography will build on an initial effort by Initiative staff (the Initiative will share its notes with the consultant at the start of the work) and will include references, summaries, and keyword designations in addition to a memo outlining gaps in the literature and research. The final product should be organized by themes identified in collaboration with Initiative staff.

This annotated bibliography aims to capture the research on the field of virtual exchange to date as thoroughly as possible as a reference for scholars, practitioners, and educators who have an interest in the field and who will contribute to the research and literature. The final product will belong to the Initiative, with appropriate attribution language for the author, and will be shared publicly with the Initiative’s stakeholders, including funders, awardees, partners in the public and private sectors, teachers, students and their communities, as well as practitioners in the fields of education, technology, and international relations.

Specific Deliverables

  • An annotated bibliography (reference list with short summaries and keyword designations for each citation) of research on virtual exchange and related fields identified by the Stevens Initiative. The expected length of the final product is 20-30 pages, to be confirmed during the planning calls.
  • A memo of no more than five pages describing the researcher’s process and identifying relevant gaps, strengths, and weaknesses in the literature and research of the field and related fields identified by the Stevens Initiative, as well as introductory and concluding remarks that contextualize the annotated bibliography.
  • The consultant will be involved in limited planning calls (approximately 3 for the duration of the project) with Initiative staff to discuss the project, strategic directions, research sources, final product length, and to provide updates and receive feedback.
  • The consultant will submit a draft annotated bibliography on or before Oct. 4th, 2019, which will be reviewed by Initiative staff. A second draft will be submitted on or before October 21st, 2019 with revisions made based on feedback received on the first draft. A final draft will be submitted on or before Nov. 15th, 2019 including all revisions.

Proposal Process and Criteria


This project should be completed within three months from the contract start date with a final deadline of November 15th, 2019. This includes drafts delivered along the timeline below:

  • First Draft Due: October 4th, 2019
  • Second Draft Due: October 21st, 2019
  • Final Draft November 15th, 2019

Proposal Submission Requirements

The Stevens Initiative estimates that this project will take 50-60 hours but is open to proposals outside of this range if the difference is explained. The proposal should include:

  • A brief narrative, no longer than two pages, describing the services that the consultant will provide, including a confirmation of access to major sources of research literature (the Initiative cannot provide this access).
  • A detailed timeline, listing the amount of time to be spent on each project component, including calls with Stevens Initiative team, research and data collection, writing, editing, and any other components.
  • A budget detailing all costs including the hourly rate of the researcher or research team.
  • Key research personnel and their qualifications, including CVs or resumes as attachments.
  • Examples/samples of prior work on similar projects.

Applying and More Information

For more information about the Stevens Initiative or this call for proposals, see stevensinitiative.org or email kyle.kastler@aspeninstitute.org. Proposals should be mailed to kyle.kastler@aspeninstitute.org on or before July 29th, 2019.

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