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“Grandmother of Afghanistan”

Nancy Hatch Dupree

Founder of “Afghanistan Information Centre”, Nancy, arrived in Kabul on 1962 as a cheerful young wife of an American diplomat. She devoted more than half a century of her prolific life for preserving the cultural heritage by collecting and archiving Afghanistan’s historical documents. She 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.

In the years of turmoil, and as the world interest in Afghanistan waned, Nancy’s adoration for the people of Afghanistan persevered, manifesting itself in the greatest preservation of documents about the country’s modern history. She collected and cataloged with care side by side with the other colleagues from Afghanistan. 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 people from Afghanistan, 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 ACKU, all the documents so diligently cared for by Nancy, and in the hearts of many people from Afghanistan and friends of Afghanistan that her story has touched, her memory lives on with great admiration, warmth and gratitude.

What is Afghanistan Center at Kabul University!

It is the premier research institution and archive on Afghanistan in the region, with the most extensive collection of primary resources available in print and digital formats. The mission of ACKU is to promote literacy, facilitate scholarly work, and provide academic research training through its archive, digital library, and outreach and research programs.

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The University of Arizona Libraries (UAL) and the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) have been involved in a partnership project since 2007. The project has produced Afghanistan Digital Repository (ADR) and associated master files, maintained by the UAL from 2007 to 2020. Most materials in the ADR are originally owned by ACKU. We are proud of our partnership and products over a decade. We believe that the highest priority is to ensure sustainable stewardship and preservation of the ADR. Due in part to budget constraints, the UAL will cease renewing the partnership with ACKU regarding our digitization collaboration and the ongoing operation of the ADR by June 30, 2020. ACKU will manage and own all aspects of the ADR starting July 1, 2020. The UAL in partnership with the ACKU collaborated on Preserving and Creating Access to Afghanistan Literature from the Jihad Period, a project to catalog, digitize, and create metadata. This project was funded by the UAL and the ACKU from 2007 to 2020. From 2007 to 2012, the initial project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Content includes: Unique collection of documents related to Afghanistan history, culture, and its development during the Jihad period and more. ACKU’s permanent collection is the most extensive in the region covering a time of war and social upheaval in the country, with most of the documents in English or the principal languages of Pashto and Dari.
Two newspapers: Anis and Kabul Times are from the University of Arizona Professor Emeritus Ludwig W Adamec’s collection, who has provided multiple important titles for digitization. He has written and edited numerous books, including the monumental Historical and political gazetteer of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Kalanay Yearbook is from the University of Arizona Libraries’ collection.
July 2020, ACKU starts to manage Afghandata.org since the transfer of the Afghan digital repository.
Aug 2017, Prof. M. Mobin Shorish collection is fully available online
Dec 2016, 17,000 titles (1,400,000 pages) are available.
Sep 2016, Prof. M. Mobin Shorish Collection was donated by Ms. Yasmeen Shorish
Dec 2015, 15,000 titles (1,200,000 pages) are available
April 2015, Newspapers were scanned and are available.
November 2014, 11,000 titles (900,000 pages)
April 2014, The repository system has upgraded to DSpace 4.1
January 2014, Yan Han and Atifa Rawan trained ACKU staff in Kabul.
September 2013, 5,500 titles (600,000 pages)
March 2013, 3,400 titles (460,000 pages). The repository System has been upgraded to DSpace 3.1.
2012, 2,200 titles (300,000 pages). NEH grant project ended.
2011, 1,500 titles (200,000 pages) in DSpace 1.8.