Statement on the Death of Nancy Hatch Dupree 1927-2017

Statement on the Death of Nancy Hatch Dupree 1927-2017
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Kabul, Afghanistan: With deep sadness, we mark the loss of the honorary “grandmother of Afghanistan” and stand in homage to a woman of exemplary grace, dedication, humor and humanity. Nancy Hatch Dupree loved to describe herself as an ancient monument of Afghanistan, and never suffered fools gladly. Even in her last hours, as she struggled to fight the illness that eventually took her life, her concern was the slides she needed to finish and exhibit. Departing this world, she leaves behind a rich legacy of service and dedication to the two great loves of her life: her second husband Louis, and her adopted home Afghanistan.

Soon to mark her 90th birthday, Nancy arrived in Kabul 1962 as a cheerful young wife of an American diplomat. In the intervening years, much that imaginations will fail to fathom has occurred in both Afghanistan and in Nancy’s remarkable life. The highlight of her personal life was the love story the young and lively Nancy shared with the archeologist Louis Dupree. Together they galloped their horses, danced late into the night, and celebrated their marriage on a hilltop overlooking their beloved Kabul.

In the years of turmoil, and as the world interest in Afghanistan waned, Nancy’s adoration for the Afghan people persevered, manifesting itself in the greatest preservation of documents about the country’s modern history. She collected and cataloged with care and side by side with generations of Afghans she had befriended. Today, the magnificent Afghanistan Center at Kabul University (ACKU) stands as a testimonial to her love for Afghanistan and her commitment to her craft as a historian. In what she has gifted the Afghan people, she remains an icon of all that is good between Afghanistan and the United States.

Nancy lived a rich life of friendships with presidents, diplomats, humanitarians, parliamentarians and importantly a people she worked tirelessly to understand and help the world understand. At ACKU, Nancy and her colleagues have deftly assembled a history much in need of understanding. Nancy’s work will live on, and her story will undoubtedly inspire generations. In every stone of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University, all the documents so diligently cared for by Nancy, and in the hearts of many Afghans and friends of Afghanistan that her story has touched, her memory lives on with great admiration, warmth and gratitude.

Details of funeral and memorial services will be shared later.

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