ACKU MOVES TO NEW FACILITY (mid-February 2013)
ACKU happily announces that the long-awaited move to their new building took place over several days in mid-February Several essentiall items are still missing, but a series of events have already taken place.
Please click here for more details on Events
KOHA DATABASE UP AND RUNNING (15 October 2012)
ACKU announces with great pleasure that its new Koha database went live on 15 October 2012.
Koha is a widely acknowledged open source library management system used by 1,000 academic, public and special libraries throughout the world.
The new database is available at http://acku-koha.osslabs.biz
It was developed in India by Nucsoft/ OSS Labs in three web interfaces English, Dari and Pashto.
Koha includes features on library management system as circulation, cataloguing, acquisitions, serials and branch relationships. The next phase will include the uploading of PDFs of our digital materials as well as a system for accessing images.
We welcome comments from our users through this email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Power Station launched for ACKU (28 July 2012)
Dr. Obeidullah Obeid, Minister of Higher Education, and Professor Hadi Hedayati, Vice Chancellor of Kabul University, graciously laid the cornerstone for the power station at the new ACKU facility. This was a red letter occasion since the power station is the last remaining construction project.
Dr. Obeidullah Obed
Professor Hadi Hedayati
Field Gulde to Afghanistan: Flora and Vegetation (12 March 2012)
Soon after linking up with the Herbarium Online Collection, the long-awaited Field Guide Afghanistan: Floral and Vegetation arrived from Germany. A great duo. This complimentary work of 863 pages, colour illustrations of 1,200 species out of the 4,000 to be found in the country is impressive. The text in Dari and English is not only informative but will raise awareness of the biodiversity of Afghanistan’s image. For more, check under Special Acquisitions
Link to Herbarium Online Collection (13 February 2012)
ACKU is particularly pleased to announce a new link that provides access to the Kabul University Faculty of Science Herbarium Online Collections: 23,428 specimens plus their corresponding photos. The link is with the University of Vienna: hhtp//herbarium.unive.ac.at/database/search.php. Select Herbarium KUFS from the Institutions, then click on Search. For individual species searches, include the taxon name then click on Search.
The KUFS herbarium was rediscovered in March 2009. Its survival was due to the diligent efforts of Kabul University Faculty of Science faculty devoted to protecting Afghanistan’s heritage. Restoring the herbarium took almost one year and was accomplished by a team of hardworking students. The ollection today serves as the only complete online collection for Afghanistan in the world.
Ambassador of the USA Visits (13 December 2011)
During his visit to ACKU Ambassador Ryan C. Croker expressed special interest in the ABLE books, noting that two titles on Democracy were funded by the Embassy. Sharing information in the ACKU manner, he said, strengthens the development of healthy political and economic environments in Afghanistan.
UNAMA VISITS ACKU (12 November 2011)
Staffan de Mistura, UN Secretary-General Special Representative to Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission, and his deputy, Michael Keating, visited ACKU short- after a new shipment of books arrived. Providing up-to-date reading materials on everthing from politics to cultural heritage, they said, was the best support for UN humanitarian aid efforts for such information widens and strengthens the knowledge needed for sustained development. They were particularly taken with the digitization work, lauding ACKU's goal to share its resources with provincial libraries and universies around Afghanistan.
Staffan. de Mistura (left), Michael Keating (right) in the stack
IMF eLibrary (14 November 2011)
The International Monetary Fund has most kindly given ACKU a free subscription to its new electronic resoure, the IMF eLibrary. This library consists of statistical databases and publications which students and professors will find to be a splendid support for many types of research. Users are urged to visit the ACKU Reading Room to learn about this important resource as IMF policy does not allow links to our website. Be sure to check it out. We are sure you will find it extremely rewarding.
New ACKU Executive Director (01 October 2011)
ACKU is pleased to announce that on 1 October Waheed Wafa took up the position of Executive Director. Recently returned from Harvard, Waheed is proving most diligent in ferreting out what steps ACKU must take in order to move dynamically into the future. Having served with the New York Times for ten years Waheed's networking skills are remarkable.
Visiting Journalists at ACKU (27 September 2011)
ACKU hosted a group of fifteen lively young journalists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India who were in Kabul at the invitation of InterNews as part of their Regional Citizen Journalism Initiative. After a tour of the ACKU stacks, Wazhma Frogh from the Kabul office of the Afghan Women's Network gave an inspiring presentation on their advocacy work throughout the country. Nancy Hatch Dupree then spoke on ACKU's role in providing access to knowledge for nation building and what that can accomplish in furthering development and the peace process. An animated question and answer period was fruitful and most enjoyable.
9 May 2011
Scone Foundation Archivist of the Year 2011 Award
The prestigious Scone Foundation of New York honored Nancy Hatch Dupree and ACKU by presenting her the Scone Foundation Archivist of the Year 2011 Award in recognition of her contributions to preserving the memory of Afghanistan's heritage through the collection, maintenance and sharing of archival material.
The evening programme at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York was addressed by Stanley Cohen, President of the Scone Foundation, Dr. Tony Kushner, the eminent playwright whose play "Homebody Kabul" drew from Nancy's Kabul Guide book, and David Rohde, New York Times correspondent and a member of the Dupree Foundation Board of Directors. Nancy's illustrated presentation emphasized how important it is to strengthen an awareness and knowledge of the richness of the culture so that all Afghans can take pride in their heritage, protect it, sustain it and use it for future inspiration.
Carla Grissmann, who died in London on 15th February 2011, was a central figure in the study of and protection of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.Having traveled widely and written a poetic book about Turkey, her involvement with Afghanistan seems to have begun in 1969, when she started to work at the Kabul Museum, and quickly became an indispensable member of the staff, working closely with everyone from the Director to the storekeepers. Soon she became an expert on the collections, and was often consulted by the media and scholars. Her publications include entries in the Encyclopaedia Iranica (Columbia University, 2003) and prestigious magazines such as Museum International (Oxford, 2003). After 1978, when it was no longer possible for Carla to be in Kabul, she worked in Peshawar, Pakistan, for the Asia Foundation and groups assisting Afghan refugees. She was a founder-member of the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage (SPACH), established to raise awareness about the threats facing the cultural heritage of the country. She also played a leading role in the establishment of ARIC, now ACKU, the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University.
As the conflict intensified around Kabul, the contents of the museum were moved to safe havens on nine occasions between 1979 and 2001. Carla provided invaluable support to museum staff in most of these exercises, and her subsequent descriptions of these transfers bring across the sense of the chaotic reality, while consistently acknowledging the valiant efforts of most museum staff. The conditions under which the packing of the collection took place were hectic and uncomfortable, but Carla was unstinting in her work, helping to photograph and inventory each and every artifact with her characteristic rigour. This earned her the loyalty of all of the Afghans with whom she worked, from the humble tea-maker to the tawildar, who were the custodians of the keys to the stores, and who adored her. At a time when many were claiming association – usually from abroad - with efforts to safeguard the collection, Carla stood out for her unassuming manner and fierce determination. While she did not suffer fools, her raucous sense of humour – and amazing laugh – kept Carla and everyone working with her going in the face of massive challenges.
At times when the situation did not allow Carla to be in Kabul, she continued to lobby and work behind the scenes to trace looted objects. Through her formidable contacts in Europe and the US, she was able to keep curators and dealers aware of developments regarding the collection, and advise them on the provenance of objects that might have come from the museum. True to character, when the material from the collection that had been stored in the vault at the Arg palace in Kabul was opened in 2004, Carla was there to witness the process - although she later admitted that she found the fanfare with which the members of the government used the occasion to present themselves as saviours of cultural property as a travesty. This did not deter her, however, from staying on to work on yet another inventory, as only she had the knowledge to ensure that everything was accounted for in the museum.
In recent years, unable to travel herself to Kabul, Carla was still on the case of Afghan culture, and received a steady stream of visitors to her elegant flat in central London. Just as she had done with her Afghan colleagues while working at the museum in Kabul, she put a huge amount of energy into advising and encouraging others with shared interests. Afghanistan owes much to Carla Grissmann for her contribution to safeguarding and raising awareness about the rich cultural heritage of the country. She will be missed by a huge number of Afghans and many of us who had the privilege to work with her.
Jolyon Leslie, 19.02.2011
The Foreign Minister of Estonia (10 January 2011)
The Foreign Minister of Estonia, Mr. Umas Paet, kindly took time from his very busy schedule to pay a visit to Kabul University and ACKU. He met first with the Chancellor of Kabul University, Professor Hamedullah Amin, and then walked to the Main Library where he enjoyed chatting with students in the Reading Room. He was also pleased to see the ABLE books Estonia had funded on display. Moving to the Stacks, the Foreign Minister had words of encouragement for the digitizers and catalogers and complimented ACKU on their extensive collections.
At the building site Mr. Paet gladdened our hearts with the announcement that Estonian IT specialists plan to visit ACKU soon in order to make sure the IT system will be installed effectively with the latest technology that will allow ACKU to look to the future with confidence. ACKU is deeply grateful to Estonia for yet another expression of their continuing faith in and support of our efforts.
The President of Estonia (27 October 2010)
The congenial informal discussions with the President explored the need to provide an adequate, state-of-the-arts IT system in ACKU’s new facility.Since Estonia is a global leader in the field, especially in digitization, we appreciated President Ilves’ advice and suggestions very much and look forward to future guidance.
The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees (21 September 2010)
The American Library Association (28 June 2010)
The American Library Association in Washington DC presented the 2010 Presidential Citation for International Innovation to ABLE in recongnition of :
ABLE's circulation of more then 123,750 books.
ABLE's strengthening of literacy efforts through publishing books in Dari and Pashto.
ABLE's leadership in creating and supplying educatinal materials that reflect the information needs of the country.
ABLE's contributions to the preservation of Afghan culture and history.
ABLE's assistance in establishing libraries as a cultural and educational resources.
General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and Commander USFOR-A (US Forces Afghanistan), visits the ACKU building site: (left to right) Engineer Seyer of ACKU; NHDupree; Chancellor of Kabul University, Professor Hamedullah Amin; the General; Engineer Rafiq, the building contractor; Professor of Chemistry, Raihana Popalzai. Ms. Popalzai was in charge of KU's Central Library when ACKU first turned up on her doorstep in 2006 bearing 36,000 documents. It was her generous support that enabled ACKU to set up the Reading Room and the Stacks.
General McChrystal met with the Deans of Faculties, had a very fruitful exchange of ideas with some 150 students and visited the Reading Room and the Stacks, before walking through the campus to the building site.
Madam Sadako Ogata (24 March 2010)
ACKU honoured in Wasington DC (September 2010)
Nancy Hatch Dupree, Founder and Director of the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, was honored in September at two large gatherings in Washington DC attended by top American government leaders and prominent Afghan-Americans.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, accompanied by many senior members of his staff, led the tributes to Dupree at the US Capital, praising her long service to the Afghan people and their cultural heritage. Holbrooke, as well as other speakers, stated several times that her outstanding work throughout the tribulations of modern Afghanistan history made them feel proud to be Americans. Holbrooke used the occasion for a major statement on American foreign policy toward Afghanistan. The speech emphasized the need for continued American involvement and assistance in rebuilding Afghanistan’s social, economic, and political institutions, not least of which are the areas where Dupree has been most deeply involved--public information and education.
Holbrooke was joined in the event by two senior members of Congress who head the Congressional US-Afghan Caucus, Sheila Lee Jackson, Democrat of Texas, and Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina. Both praised Dupree for her service and reiterated the promise of American support for Afghanistan’s development.
The Afghan American Chamber of Commerce, headed by Chairman Ajmal Ghani, President Don Ritter (a former Member of Congress), and John Gastright, Events Chairman Dyncorp joined in hosting the event with the Dupree Foundation, the American support group for the Afghanistan Centre. The Foundation’s Co- Chairs, Sandra Cooke and Andrew Brimmer, attended the gathering, the accured event was an awards ceremony.
Dupree, in acknowledging the tributes, spoke about the progress of the Afghanistan Centre as well as its great remaining needs. She announced that ground had been broken in June for the new Centre building and that significant parts of the collection had been digitized, making it easier for information on modern Afghanistan to become available to the expanding university system in Afghanistan as well as to researchers around the world. She also spoke about the ABLE program, which commissions local authors to write easy-to-read books in Dari and Pashto for distribution to schools and libraries around the country. New titles, especially those designed to strengthen democracy, were coming into the market as the country went through its presidential election period. She received prolonged applause when she finished.
Dupree was also honored at a dinner sponsored by Ariana Outreach, an organization of Afghan-American women. On behalf of Ariana, former American Ambassador Ronald Neumann presented Dupree with the organization’s annual award for her outstanding life-time services to the people of Afghanistan. Ariana founder Homira Noorestani presided over the dinner. Noted author and lecturer Rory Stewart, founder of The Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Kabul, and Ashraf Haidari, Political Counselor of the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington, spoke to the assembled guests. Prominent among the attendees were Afghan and American women active in the US Afghan Women’s Council, whose executive director, Eva Weigold Schultz, also addressed the gathering.