Nancy Hatch Dupree Biography

Nancy Hatch Dupree Biography
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An internationally recognized expert on the history, art, and archaeology of Afghanistan, Nancy Hatch Dupree passed away peacefully at 3.30am, 10 September 2017 in the Amiri Hospital, Kabul, having dedicated the last 55 years of her life to documenting and preserving Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.
Ms. Dupree arrived in Kabul in 1962. For the next 15 years, she and her late husband, Louis Dupree, a renowned archaeologist and scholar of Afghanistan’s culture and history, traveled throughout Afghanistan, conducting archaeological excavations. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Duprees moved with Afghan refugees to Peshawar, Pakistan where they continued their work.
Ms. Dupree wrote many scholarly and more popular articles, in particular on the challenges facing Afghan women, reports and a number of guidebooks to Afghanistan (one of which became the inspiration for Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul). Her writings covered all major archaeological and historic sites, as well as a well-known guide to the National Museum, which was the de facto illustrated catalogue of its rare and priceless collection.

Aside from the books, articles, photographs and recordings she leaves behind, Ms. Dupree’s lasting legacy to the country she loved and called home is the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, which she founded in 2006 and where she was Director from 2006-2011. ACKU grew out of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development’s (ACBAR) Resource and Information Center, which Ms. Dupree founded and directed with Louis Dupree in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1989. Some years later in 1996, Ms. Dupree created the ACBAR Box Library Extension (ABLE), a system of mobile libraries serving the Afghan community in Peshawar.

Her vision for ACKU was that it would contribute to the reconstruction of Afghanistan by gathering in one place scholarship on the country’s culture, history and politics, as well as primary data in the form of memoires, newspapers, photographs and unpublished work produced by the many NGOs, international agencies, scholars and foreign governments working here. Together with its library, archive and research department, ABLE continues to serve Afghans in Afghanistan today.

Ms. Dupree received numerous awards, including the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Award from the Royal Society of Asian Affairs in London; the Archivist of the Year from the Scone Foundation in New York; the Highest State Malalai Gold Medal from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for her long-standing efforts to aid the Afghan people in the fields of education and cultural heritage preservation; and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society of Woman Geographers. She held a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College; a master’s degree in Chinese Art from Columbia University; and honorary degrees from Williams College and the American University of Afghanistan.


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