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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Celebrates 10th Year, Awards Support for 63 Projects Worldwide


Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 18, 2010

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The preservation and protection of the early 18th-century Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Mongolia is one of four large-scale efforts among 63 cultural heritage preservation projects to receive financial support from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) in 2010. Established by Congress in the fall of 2000 and celebrating its 10th year, the AFCP awards grants for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries. The AFCP has demonstrated America’s respect for the cultural heritage of others by supporting more than 640 preservation projects worldwide.

The Amarbayasgalant Monastery was once the most important center for Buddhist learning and culture in Mongolia and is a rare survivor of the Soviet-controlled government-ordered destruction of Buddhist monasteries in the 1930s. The monastery’s wooden main temple and other buildings are magnets for pilgrims and tourists and are highly vulnerable to damage and theft. The $575,000 AFCP award to the Arts Council of Mongolia will support preservation and protection measures to reduce the risk of fire and theft at this site.

The three other AFCP awards for large-scale projects in 2010 are:
  • $625,000 to the World Monuments Fund for the conservation of the remains of the 11th-century Surp Prikitch (Church of the Holy Redeemer) at the medieval Armenian site of Ani in eastern Turkey;
  • $850,000 to the Department of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan, for the restoration of the early 17th-century Sheikhupura Fort, an impressive red brick fort built by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir, as part of the royal hunting estate of Hiran Minar; and,
  • $450,000 to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, for ongoing restoration of Qala Ikhtyaruddin, the 15th-century citadel of Herat, Afghanistan.

AFCP also awarded $3.4 million in grants for projects to preserve cultural heritage in 52 countries and the West Bank.

Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the historical experiences and contributions of mankind. By supporting the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide, the AFCP helps extend its value as a vital and defining element of communities and nations and helps ensure its use, enjoyment, and relevance both today and for generations to come.

The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Cultural Heritage Center, which supports the foreign affairs functions of the U.S. Department of State that relate to the preservation of cultural heritage. The Center also administers U.S. responsibilities relating to the 1970 UNESCO Convention to reduce pillage and illicit trafficking in cultural property.

Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, (202) 632-6437 or StearnsCL@state.gov



PRN: 2010/825



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