ACKU News   
Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the
   Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University

Rebuilding Afghanistan, One Book at a Time  
Fall 2012
The staff at the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) have been working tirelessly to expand the archive and ensure that the new building is nearly completed. Soon, Afghans and visitors alike will have renewed access to the vast array of books, periodicals, and other materials about Afghanistan -- and they'll be able to enjoy them in a stunning new setting. We look forward to announcing the opening of the new Centre soon!
Below, you will read about newly published and new acquired books about Afghanistan that discuss ACKU, benefit ACKU, or have been added the ACKU mobile libraries. We hope reading about these books will bring you closer to ACKU and its important mission -- rebuilding Afghanistan, one book at a time.

Thank you for your continued interest in and support for our work. Have a very happy holiday season!

Laura J. Marks, Executive Director
Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the
 Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University

ACKU Featured in The Economist

The December 8, 2012 issue of The Economist includes an article, "Preserving Afghanistan's Heritage: Paper work," featuring  Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU). In addition to announcing ACKU's upcoming move to its new building, the piece discusses the importance of learning lessons from Afghanistan's recent past through historical records preserved by ACKU.

You will find the piece on page 44 of the print version as well as online here.

ACKU's New Home Is Almost Complete

The new home of the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) on the campus of Kabul University is nearly complete!  We look forward to announcing the official opening soon. Meanwhile, below are some recent photos.
The new reading room
Conference room

ACKU's Digital Collection Now Available Online

ACKU's 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, Dari and Pashto languages. The collection includes non-tradition monographs, serials, newspaper titles, and a large number of reference resources as well as historical books, magazines, and newspapers about the socio-political history of the Middle East and international relations between Afghanistan and its neighboring countries. 


Currently, there are over 3,000 titles (about 400,000 pages) available online. Some notable digital titles include Sulnamah (Da Afghanistan Kalanay), Aryana Afghanistan Republic, Afghanistan Forum, Afghanistan Report, Al-Jihad, Afghanistan Mirror, Afghan Jehad, and Afghanistan news clippings. Other historical full-text titles such as Anis and Islah newspapers will soon be made available online from the University of Arizona libraries via ACKU's website.


This digital project was initially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Primarily objectives included: 1) training of ACKU staff in standardized cataloging, metadata creation, and digitization processing; 2) identification and selection of the appropriate materials as part of this digitization project; 3) scanning, digitizing, and preserving items from ACKU physical collection; 4) facilitating digital access and delivery; and 5) building a preservation infrastructure at ACKU that can serve as a resource for other higher education institutions in Afghanistan.


Online digital collection became available in 2011; since that time, an increasing number of users have accessed it, with the number of page views increasing 200%. Based on the recent statistics, most users of this collection come from Afghanistan, United States, Western European countries, and Afghanistan's neighboring countries.


Searching the Digital Collection

The search features are still in a pilot phase; The University of Arizona Libraries in cooperation with Center for Research Libraries is currently working to improve searching capabilities and extending the metadata schema for this site. Items can be searched by typing the appropriate title, author, editor, or keyword or by simply using "Browse Collection," which also lets you know what is currently available online.


To search the digital collection, visit: 

ACKU's Online Koha Database Is Now Live 


ACKU's new Koha database has recently gone live. Koha is a widely-used open source library management system used by 1,000 academic, public and special libraries throughout the world.

This new database was developed in India by Nucsoft/ OSS Labs in three web interfaces English, Dari and Pashto.


Koha includes features on library management system as circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials and branch relationships.  The next phase will include the uploading of PDFs of our digital materials as well as a system for accessing images. 


The new database is available at

A New Alphabet Book from ASCHIANA Joins ABLE Libraries

by Elinor Edmunds Miller

D is for Dukhtar: The Story of ASCHIANA's Girls and Boys   
Book cover
What began as a fleeting thought of Elinor Edmunds Miller and Carolyn Straub during their 2003 trip to Kabul has turned into a reality: D is for Dukhtar, an Afghanistan alphabet book for children in Dari and English. The book features beautiful artwork from ASCHIANA, an Afghan NGO, and stunning photos taken by Elinor and Dr. Mustafa Sahibzada, the two co-authors of the book along with Carolyn. The book should be available in the U.S. this holiday season.

"We first went to Afghanistan because we were captivated by pictures of the beautiful artwork created by ASCHIANA's girls and boys. Once there, we feel in love with the girls and boys" said Elinor. "I remember telling Carolyn that perhaps I could write an Afghanistan ABC book, like Tasha Tudor's A is for Annabelle", Elinor continued.

In Afghanistan, Elinor and Carolyn found there was so much to learn, to see, to explore in Afghanistan and at ASCHIANA, so much to share with their friends in the U.S. and Canada. What better way than to create a book for American children and adults? Engineer Mohammad Yousef, founder and director of ASCHIANA, agreed and granted them permission to use the student's artwork in the book. He, too, knows that understanding and education go both ways, that this book will help education in U.S. children and those in Afghanistan.

Writing of the book in two languages, Dari and English, and with the two scripts was more challenging than the authors ever imagined. Elinor, Dr. Mustafa and Carolyn collaborated on the choice of Dari words to include in the book, Elinor did the layout, and Dr. Mustafa provided the Dari script. Elinor, Carolyn and Mr. Mustafa had first met in 2003 when he served as their interpreter and now he is their invaluable friend and Kabul liaison for Friends of Aschiana.

Nine years later, D is for Dukhtar has been printed by Kabul's SABOOR Printing Press. The authors chose to print the book in Kabul to support the Afghan economy.

Recognizing that Afghan girls and boys would enjoy the book, the Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation ordered 500 copies of the book for The Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University's ABLE box library program. ABLE will place D is for Dukhtar in their box libraries, both new box libraries and in existing box libraries all around Afghanistan.

Earlier this month Dr. Mustafa took copies of the just-printed book to ASCHIANA in Kabul. The girls and boys eagerly poured over the book, thrilled to see their story, their school, their artwork in the print. "I can not explain the feelings of these children, holding the book in their hands and how much they liked it," said Dr. Mustafa.

This past August Carolyn Straub, a co-author of the book, passed away after a nine-year battle with breast cancer. Up until the very end she was actively involved in the writing of the book. She often told Elinor that the book project is what kept her alive. D is for Dukhtar is part of her enduring legacy along with her tireless efforts for Friends of Aschiana.

"We are grateful to so many people who helped make this book possible. Thanks go to the Lois and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for their enduring commitment to promoting literacy in Afghanistan and to Dr. Sandra Cook, co-chair of the foundation's board, for her enthusiasm for the project. We are deeply indebted to and inspired by Engineer Yousef for his commitment to educating Afghanistan's poorest children, God's children, Allah's children. We have dedicated this book to him, to everyone at ASCHIANA's, to the girls and boys, and their parents because of their commitment to educating their daughters and sons.

"Most of you will never have the chance to travel halfway around the world to Kabul, Afghanistan, to meet ASCHIANA's students and teachers, join their classes, play on their soccer teams or share a lunch. So ASCHIANA and Friends of Aschiana have created D is Dukhtar just for you. The pictures and words tell the story of ASCHIANA's girls and boys, their city, Kabul, and their country, Afghanistan," said Engineer Yousef.

The book may be ordered from Friends of Aschiana online at: 
Mary Anne Schwalbe's Commitment to ACKU Lives On Through Her Son's Book
Will Schwalbe's new book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is on the New York Times bestseller list and's "Best of 3-2012" list. 

End of Your Life Book Club Will is a son of Dupree Foundation Founder and Chair Emeritus Mary Anne Schwalbe. In 2007 during a trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mary Anne learned from Nancy Hatch Dupree about her work with the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU). Inspired by this, Mary Anne led a group of friends and contacts in the U.S. to form the Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation to help support ACKU. 

What is especially remarkable is that the majority of Mary Anne's accomplishments with respect to the Dupree Foundation were done after she learned that she had advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often within six months or less.

The End of Your Life Book Club explores the books that Mary Anne and Will read together while Mary Anne was undergoing chemotherapy. It is a tribute to Mary Anne, an extraordinary person who deeply affected so many lives worldwide, as well as to the joy that reading brings.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other -- and rediscover their lives -- through their favorite books. Mary Anne was as passionate about ACKU as she was about books. The work we do today is the direct result of Mary Anne's commitment and drive to help rebuild Afghanistan -- one book at a time.

Mary Anne Schwalbe


New Additions to the Collection

Medical Text Books
The Ministry of High Education kindly included ACKU in the distribution of 54 Dari and Pashto medical books and CDs. These text books are included in the eCampus - Afghanistan project initiated by the Ministry and administered by the Institute of Development Research and Develpment Policy on the campus, with the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. For more information, visit:
Arman-e-Milli Daily Newspaper
Responding to the considerable interest our users have expressed in using newspapers from the past for their research projects, ACKU is pleased to have asquired a set of the prominent Dari/Pasto newspaper Arman-e-Milli covering the years 2004-2010.
New Book of Afghan Proverbs Benefits ACKU

Zarbul Masalha A new book of Afghan proverbs, Zarbul Masalha, has been compiled, translated into English and published by Navy Captain Edward Zellem. The book is written in English and Dari, and is illustrated with original art by Marefat High School students in Kabul. Net proceeds from Zarbul Masalha will benefit the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) and Marefat High School -- both leaders in promoting literacy and education for a new generation of Afghans. 

For more information about Zarbul Masalha, click here.
Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the
Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University

Nancy Hatch Dupree    
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Andrew H. Brimmer, Co-Chair ▪ Sandra Cook, Co-Chair ▪ Ellen K. Jorgensen, TreasurerSarah O'Hagan, SecretaryRobert J. Breen ▪ Peter B. deNeufville ▪ Ashraf Ghani
▪ M. Ashraf Haidari ▪ Sheila M. Platt ▪ David Rohde ▪ J. Alexander Thier ▪ Mary Anne Schwalbe, Chair Emerita (deceased)
ADVISORY COUNCIL Ambassador Theodore L. Eliot, Jr., Convener▪ George Biddle ▪ Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi ▪ John A. Gastright, Jr. ▪ Ambassador Said T. Jawad ▪ Tony Kushner ▪ Spozhmai Maiwandi ▪ Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann ▪ Ambassador Nicholas Platt ▪ Mary Anne Weaver ▪ Catherine W. Wilkinson
Laura J. Marks, Executive Director  


ACKU logo with motto 


In This Issue
ACKU Featured in The Economist
New Home Almost Complete
Online Digital Collection
New Database is Live
Aschiana's "D Is for Dukhtar"
New Book Featuring ACKU
Recent Acquisitions
New Book of Afghan Proverbs
How You Can Help
Click here to donate.

Please consider giving a gift online or by mail.

Your contribution helps preserve the history and culture of Afghanistan, rebuilding the country one book at a time.


See ACKU in Action!

Nancy and girls

Visit our website to watch videos documenting ACKU's programs in Afghanistan.

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