ACKU

ACKU was established in 1989 in Peshawar as a semi-independent part of ACBAR (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief).  Envisioned by Louis Dupree as a central depository for reports and surveys generated by NGOs,bilateral humanitarian organizations and UN agencies, it was known then as ARIC (ACBAR Resource and Information Centre).  The purpose was to facilitate coordination of humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees and to avoid duplication.

In 2005 ARIC was renamed ACKU (Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University) when it was registered with the Ministry of Economics in Kabul and transferred to the central library of Kabul University.  In 2006 Kabul University allocated ACKU a plot at the centre of the campus on which to build a facility funded from the Afghan government development budget.  The new premises were inaugurated by Ashraf Ghani on 27 March 2013.  Funding for staff and operations were obtained from Royal Norwegian Embassy and various foreign donors.

ACKU’s motto is nation building through information sharing.  The centre promotes research and information sharing through the dissemination of knowledge, and enhancement of the capacity of Kabul University and other private institutions in Afghanistan. ACKU’s major focus is facilitating research using its collection of over 100,000 documents in Dari, Pashto, English and other European languages. ACKU is open to students of all universities in Afghanistan, policy makers and development planners, as well as researchers from abroad.  The ACKU collections hold documents such as monographs, posters, newspapers, slides, CDs, fact sheets, periodicals and magazines. The newspaper collection includes the political history of many decades.

ACKU has sought to reach out to Afghans outside Kabul through the ACKU Box Library Extension (ABLE), which aims to encourage the culture of reading and spread knowledge by providing reading material through these small lending libraries. ABLE libraries are placed in schools and communities for new literates across Afghanistan. Currently ACKU has established 227 libraries within 33 provinces of Afghanistan. ABLE publishes easy-to-read books in Dari and Pashto languages for new literates on various subjects such as agriculture, mother-child care, history, environment, health, home management and democracy. To date ABLE has published 315 books.

The Communication (Outreach) and Research department of ACKU carries out or hosts activities including workshops, lectures, seminars, debates, film screenings, exhibitions and public talks. The primary goals of these activities are: 1). to develop research skills; 2) to highlight ACKU’s resources and the work of Afghan and international artists and scholars specializing on Afghanistan. ACKU publicizes these events and workshops widely to encourage the participation of large numbers of Afghans and others through ACKU’s web site (https://www.acku.edu.af) and social media (https://www.facebook.com/acku.edu.af).