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The Honorary Afghan

Nancy Hatch Dupree arrived in Kabul in 1962 at age 36 with her late husband Louis Dupree, an archeologist and scholar devoted to Afghanistan, and for the next fifteen years the two of them traveled extensively throughout Afghanistan and conducted archeological excavations. In addition to conducting archeological research with her husband, Ms. Dupree also found the time to pen five guidebooks devoted to Afghanistan; one of which focuses on the collections of the National Museum in Kabul.  Eventually Nancy and Louis Dupree were expelled from Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and retreated to Peshawar where they continued their work.  Sadly, Louis Dupree passed away in 1989, the same year the Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan.

After her husband’s death, Ms. Dupree returned to the state of North Carolina to continue teaching her husband’s classes at both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

In 1944, with a group of individuals who were concerned with the destruction of Afghan heritage, Nancy Dupree helped setting up of the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural History in Peshawar, Pakistan.  The goal of the Society was to help preserve Afghan antiquities and scholarly discourse that were either being sold or destroyed.  The society played a major role in helping reopen the Kabul Museum a decade later.  Thousands of artifacts, kept in different museums or recovered were returned to its renovated new site.

In addition to her work for the Society, Ms. Dupree was also instrumental in the founding of “The Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the Afghan Centre at Kabul University” in 2007. The goal of the new foundation is to raise awareness and broaden knowledge about the history and culture of the people of Afghanistan and to support the research efforts of the Centre which houses thirty eight thousand documents including unique books and films related to Afghanistan’s history.

In this multimedia report Nancy Dupree talks about her life and the unique work she has done in Afghanistan.

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