Cultural Heritage Leaders From Afghanistan to Offer Perspectives at Penn Museum Public Symposium

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Media Contact:Pam Kosty | pkosty@sas.upenn.edu | 215-898-4045March 22, 2006

PHILADELPHIA- Archaeology, museum and conservation leaders from Afghanistan will come together at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on April 22 to discuss the state of their nation cultural heritage at a day-long public symposium.  

"Archaeology in Afghanistan: Museums, Antiquities, and Conservation in a War-Torn Land" is co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and Penn's Center for Ancient Studies.  The cost for the Saturday program is $40 per person; $20 for Penn Museum, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and Archaeological Institute of America members; and free for full-time students.

"We are delighted to be able to host this distinguished group of international colleagues for what is the only public program and discussion opportunity during their visit to the United States in April," Richard M. Leventhal, Penn Museum director, said.

After 25 years of war and civil unrest, the cultural heritage of Afghanistan has suffered enormously.  Entire sites have disappeared as a consequence of plundering and warfare.  The Kabul Museum, once considered the finest museum of its kind in Central Asia, has been bombed and looted.

Conference panelists, including leading experts from Afghanistan and the United States, will take stock of the state of Afghan cultural heritage and consider needs and directions for the future.

Speakers and topics include:

Omar Sultan, deputy minister of information and culture of Afghanistan, who will provide the introduction

Abdul Wasey Feroozi, former director general of the National Institute of Archaeology in Afghanistan: "Overview of Archaeological Activities in Afghanistan from Past to Present."

Zia Afshar, director of the Afghanistan Cultural Heritage Center: "Seeking Strategies to Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage Crisis."

Ahad Abassi, president of Conservation of Historical Monuments in Afghanistan: "Strategies for Conservation and Restoration at Historical Sites in Afghanistan."

Omara Khan Massoudi, director of museums of Afghanistan: "Past, Present and Future Activities of the Kabul Museum."

Nader Rasouli, director general of the Institute of Archaeology in Afghanistan: "Excavation of Two Buddhist Sites in Kabul."

Zemaryalai Tarzi, president of the Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology and director of survey and excavation at Bamiyan: "Excavations and the New Chronology of Bamiyan."

Fredrik Hiebert, archaeology fellow at the National Geographic Society: "Reassessing the Collections of the Kabul Museum."

David Stronach, professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of California, Berkeley.  "Tillya Tepe: New Light on the Blank Interlude Between the Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Kushan Empire."

"Archaeology in Afghanistan: Museums, Antiquities, and Conservation in a War-Torn Land" takes place in Penn Museum's Rainey Auditorium.  Registration is recommended and can be accomplished by calling 215-898-4890.