AREU’s Message on Nancy H.Dupree’s Death
It is with great sadness that we must say that Afghanistan has lost a dedicated and generous friend.
And we, in the nation’s research family, have lost a friend and a colleague.
Nancy Hutch Dupree was a scholar, an anthropologist and a researcher, but most of all, she was dedicated to our nation and preserving its culture.
The leadership of AREU would like to express our deepest condolences to all who were touched by Nancy Dupree and her unfailing commitment to our country.
We would also like to take this opportunity to remember Nancy for her decades-long efforts to help us all, Afghans and foreigners alike, to further understand a country that has been embroiled in war and conflict for far too long.
Nancy was no arm-chair researcher. She was not the type to stay cloistered in a compound venturing out only to meet with a small circle of elites in the capital and then publish an opinion piece, research paper or a book, claiming to have known the country. Nancy wanted to experience Afghanistan the way the Afghans did. As much as possible, she wanted to live the life of an Afghan.
From the forced migration of the 1980s to the daily threats of suicide bombings, Nancy accepted the dangers others have no choice over. She stayed in Afghanistan and contributed to our people by producing knowledge.
From creating a library to gathering historical documents and hosting exhibitions, Nancy’s efforts served as a constant reminder of Afghanistan’s long history to a new generation of Afghans.
A history that she too witnessed, with all of its joys and many of its miseries.
In her brief piece for an AREU newsletter back in 2006 Nancy Dupree introducing the new Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU), she wrote:
“The inaccessibility and limited use of information is all the more regrettable for not only is ready information — of all sorts, on all levels — an effective reconstruction tool, it is also a powerful tool for countering the misperceptions and misinformation that perpetuate discord and inhibit peaceful steps from moving forward. Providing access to knowledge that contributes to an understanding of the social, economic, political and cultural dynamics of the Afghan society in the past, present and future is the overriding ACKU’s purpose.”
This is a vision Nancy followed until her last days.
By establishing and supporting the ACKU, along with her writings on Afghanistan, Nancy’s legacy will be one of a proud scholar dedicated to collection, production and dissemination of knowledge.
Nancy will be greatly missed by all of us, and particularly the research community.
May she serve as an example for all of us in the future.