US Ambassador to Kabul Hugo Llorens said in a statement that the legendary historian, Nancy Hatch Dupree, who died on Sunday, would be remembered by generations to come.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Nancy Dupree, a pillar of the American community in Afghanistan for many decades, whose love for this country and dedication to its culture and history will be forever remembered.”
He said Dupree worked tirelessly for the preservation of history and culture in Afghanistan since she arrived in 1962 and that “future generations will remember Dupree as a wonderful example of the strength of US-Afghanistan relations and friendship.”
In conclusion, he said: “May we honor her example in decades to come by working for a common goal of building lasting fraternal ties between our nations.”
The Afghanistan Center at Kabul University also issued an official statement on the 90-year-old historian’s death.
According to them, Dupree, an internationally recognized expert on the history, art, and archaeology of Afghanistan, passed away peacefully at 3.30am, on Sunday in the Amiri Hospital, Kabul.
She had dedicated the last 55 years of her life to documenting and preserving Afghanistan's cultural heritage.
Dupree arrived in Kabul in 1962 and 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.
Nancy Dupree wrote many scholarly and more popular articles, in particular on the challenges facing Afghan women, reports and a number of guidebooks to Afghanistan. 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.
In addition to the books, articles, photographs and recordings she leaves behind, 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
Dupree founded and directed with Louis Dupree in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1989. Some years later in 1996, 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 documents and data on the country’s culture, history and politics, as well as memoires, newspapers, photographs and unpublished works produced by the many NGOs, international agencies, scholars and foreign governments working here.
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.
Afghan leaders meanwhile said Dupree’s death was a great loss to Afghanistan.
Leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah both said they were saddened to hear the news.
“Very saddened by the death of Nancy Dupree. Afghans value and respect her services of decades for Afghanistan. Nancy will be missed,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
Ghani meanwhile said in a statement: “With regret I was informed that a great pioneer of Afghanistan’s culture and history Madam Nancy Dupree has passed away from this world due to illness.”
“Madam Nancy spent much of her 90 years in the service of the people of Afghanistan, their culture and history,” he said.