Drachman Institute

Monday, June 8, 2015

Faculty Member(s): 

The University of Arizona Drachman Institute (UA) entered into a task agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) in 2009 with the purpose of providing assistance with training Afghan Cultural Heritage Officials. Based on the recommendations from previous training programs, the model of short‐term training of Afghan heritage site managers was determined unsustainable. From 2010 – 2012, a new model was developed and reviewed that focused efforts on long‐term institutional capacity‐building in partnership with Kabul University to establish a professional education program in heritage conservation. The aim of this approach was to develop educational programs in Afghanistan to create the next generation of Afghan heritage conservation professions to protect and preserve Afghan cultural resources.  

A comprehensive, multi‐year Professional Education Program for Afghan Cultural Heritage Conservation was proposed for which there was only enough funds and time remaining in this task agreement to implement the pilot phase of the program.

Three Kabul University faculty members from the Department of Archaeology and Ethnography were selected for a three‐month residency program at the University of Arizona between September and December 2013. Of the three who arrived in September, only one remained the entire residency period, but did so with great success and professionalism.

The program included eight core curriculum content areas ‐ conservation theory, documentation and site assessment, artifact examination and care, architectural materials conservation, interpretation and public education, site management, disaster preparedness, and heritage conservation law – delivered through a series of learning modalities – classroom and individual instruction, lab‐based testing and field--‐based workshops, site visits, individual research, and professional presentations – to provide the KU faculty models for how curricular content can be disseminated in Afghanistan. Technical skill sets were integrated into the overall curricular program as vital complements to the content areas, including English language training, library and information research strategies, and the use of online databases and scholarly networks. The program culminated with a successful one‐day symposium “Afghanistan: Cultural Heritage at the Crossroads” that gathered significant stakeholders interested in Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, provide a venue to present the progress of KU faculty member’s program, and discuss a future framework for a comprehensive cultural heritage program in Afghanistan.

Weekly meetings between the UA Project Team and the KU faculty provided a communications forum to resolve problems and revise curricular content based on the feedback of needs at Kabul University. As a result, additional content areas – heritage conservation theory and practice, conservation of movable heritage, anthropology and ethnography, structures and architectural conservation, cultural landscapes, land planning, and site management – and additional technical skill sets – communication skills, presentation graphics, autoCAD, and social media – were introduced over the course of the period.

This report strongly recommends the continued implementation of the subsequent phases of the comprehensive Professional Education Program for Afghan Cultural Heritage Conservation to build on the success of the curriculum development initiated in this pilot phase. It also recommends continued implementation of institutional capacity‐building efforts through the establishment of multi‐agency Afghan Cultural Heritage Consortium to fully realize the momentum of partnerships developed over the course of the entire project period.

Date: January 2014
Location: __________________________

National Park Service

Project Type: __________________________
Project Source/Funding:

National Park Service

Drachman Institute Team:

R. Brooks Jeffery - Director, Drachman Institute

Dr, Nancy Odegaard- Head, Preservation Diision Arizona State Museum

Suzanne Bott  - Project Director, Heritage Conservation, Drachman Institute

Atifa Rawan – Librarian Emeritus, University Libraries

Dr. William Patrick (Pat) O’Brien – Cultural Resources Liaison, Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, National Park Service

Noorullah Dawari – Translator

Student: Aysan Abdollahzadeh
Drachman Institute Program: Heritage Conservation