Nancy Dupree. (Photo: Courtesy Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation)

First arriving in Afghanistan in 1962, Nancy Dupree became one of the country’s most ardent and outspoken advocates for the preservation of its culture and history. According to the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU), which she helped found, she spent 55 years ensuring that Afghanistan be recognized and remembered for its rich art, language and story-telling traditions. (See Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation)

For those who knew her, whether Afghan or expatriate, she was renowned for her dedicated and passionate ongoing struggle to save Afghanistan’s cultural heritage despite nearly 40 years of war, occupation, destruction and repression, particularly during the Taliban period. She also served as a special and constant advisor to the United Nations, particularly UNESCO.

Her desire to pull together all possible forms of information that might serve future generations includes the ACKU collection of over 150,000 materials ranging from newspapers and periodicals to rare mujahed publications as well as cultural heritage and women’s rights documents. ACKU is widely regarded as one of the world’s richest and most comprehensive sourceof information about Afghanistan. Nancy’s vision also ensured that easy-to-read books be made available through the centre’s ABLE box library to local communities through out the country. During her final days, she helped organize, catalogue and upload nearly 14,000 historical images for ACKU’s website.

Given the thousands of Afghans, UN and other international aid workers, journalists, diplomats and academics who knew and admired Nancy Dupree, whether during her Peshawar days or in Kabul, Global Geneva will be publishing a special memorial article in early 2018.  For those who wish to contribute anecdotes, observations, plus photographs, please contact Edward Girardet at:

The Editors