Your support will help ACKU continue to provide accessible information about Afghanistan through its resource center and box library program to people throughout Afghanistan and the world.

ACKU is a beacon of hope in Kabul

Below, you will read about the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University's (ACKU) activities and events over the past year. We know that you will be inspired by all that the staff has achieved over the past 12 months.  We hope that you will lend your support to ensure ACKU can continue to rebuild Afghanistan, one book at a time. 

ACKU's mission -- sharing information for nation-building -- is being fulfilled every day by its users. The more than 500 students who come to classes or use the Reading Room daily know that the information they are learning or seek allows them to connect with others and understand the world at large. 

Researchers regularly use ACKU's archives for information about the history and culture of Afghanistan, and know that their final publications help all of us better understand Afghanistan and develop ways to help it flourish. Organizational leaders hold events and exhibits at ACKU and know that ACKU provides not only a state-of-the-art and aesthetically pleasing locale but also a resolutely Afghan one that echoes traditional architecture and layout.

When ACKU moved to its new facility three and a half years ago, we hoped that it would become the leading resource center for information about Afghanistan. These aspirations have been met very quickly, and have been recognized in particular by the United States Library of Congress this year:  
  • On October 27, Founder Nancy Hatch Dupree accepted a prestigious honor from the United States Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program on behalf of ACKU's Box Library Extension (ABLE) project for best practices in literacy promotion. (See more here.) 
  • On September 21, 2016, Executive Director Abdul Waheed Wafa received a copy of digitized holdings of the Library of Congress relating to the culture and history of Afghanistan in recognition of the importance of ACKU's online database for researchers around the world. (See more here.)
None of this should be a surprise to anyone who knows Nancy and Waheed. Both are indefatigable advocates of the power of knowledge to transform people and society. And ACKU does just that.

Please support ACKU to help Rebuild Afghanistan, One Book at a Time.

ACKU in numbers...

In 2016, ACKU

- digitized almost 173,000 pages of material
- provided Internet access to more than 37,000 users
- added nearly 6,000 new items to its collection
- updated more than 145 box libraries
- assisted 47 on-site researchers
- hosted 21 conferences and events
- published 10 new books titles
- held 7 training sessions
- screened 2 films
- housed 1 art exhibit


On October 27, Nancy Hatch Dupree accepted an honor from t he United States Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program on behalf of ACKU's Box Library Extension (ABLE) project. ABLE was among 14 organizations honored for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. 

ACKU's ABLE project, established in 1996, aims to encourage a culture of reading by making available and providing reading materials through small lending libraries. Managed by local community custodians (including teachers, NGO staff, shopkeepers and mullahs) these box libraries contain titles on a range of topics including history, the environment, home management, good health practices, the use of computers, and dictionaries. ABLE has supplied more than 360,000 books to more than 240 schools and community libraries throughout Afghanistan. It has published 338 book titles (in Dari and Pashto) for new readers, commissioned from Afghan authors, on subjects including mother-child care, agriculture, animal welfare, Islam and more.

Congratulations to ACKU and ABLE for its exceptional and pioneering work!

LOC Award recipients
New ABLE books on flower cultivation published in Dari and Pashto


Afghanistan Center at Kabul University Executive Director Waheed Wafa was in Washington, DC on September 21, 2016 to receive a copy of digitized holdings of the Library of Congress relating to the culture and history of Afghanistan. 

This exciting addition of more than 163,000 pages of material is an exciting addition to ACKU's collection. The Library of Congress digitization project took three years to 
complete and was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. All of the items will be made accessible to all through ACKU's online database for researchers around the world to utilize.

Pictured above (l to r): Mark Taplin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Abdul Waheed Wafa, Executive Director, Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University; Abdul Bari Jahani, Minister of Information and Culture, Afghanistan; Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress; and Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York 

ACKU hosted a presentation by Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO) on August 23 on Conflict and Fundamental Rights in Afghanistan, delivered by APPRO Research Director Dr. Saeed Partow.

Attended by students from Kabul University as well as private universities, the presentation reflected the findings from Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), a project designed to support informed policy and action on fundamental rights protection and promotion through applied research, constructive advocacy, and increased capacity and responsiveness of public institutions toward the rights-based needs of Afghan citizens. A  baseline assessment was conducted in 29 rural and urban districts in 10 provinces in the first quarter of 2016, taking stock of the situation of fundamental rights in Afghanistan across three pillars: Civic Rights, Social Rights and Economic Rights. 

ACKU hosts a weekly book group for students to discuss various literary texts. They recently read Jack London's Call of the Wild and talked about symbolism and capitalism. Other books have included Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Pär Lagerkvist's  The Hangman.


New ABLE library in Paghman province
New ABLE library in Logar province

Choosing a bookmark provided by the Dupree Foundation
Reading in the Logar province library

New high school library in Ghor province

New library high school in Ghor province

Warm Hugs for Children, Kabul
Warm Hugs for Children organization, Kabul

Media lawyers, journalists, civil society activists and students from Kabul University's Law Faculty and other universities joined together on July 25-27 for a Media Law and Policy program, organized by Internews and hosted at ACKU. 

Program participants learned about International Communication and Technology Regulation and international best practices, media and extremism, freedom of expression and its restrictions, usage of social media for advocacy, role of oversight commission on the access to information, and the need for criminalization of cyber-crimes.


On June 22, ACKU hosted a workshop, International Model United Nations (IMUN), organized by Pamir Group. The program aimed to familiarize youth about UN structure and its functions, activities and conferences. 

The program offered advice on how to be a good country representative at UN conferences, and ways to speak and conduct yourself with diplomats. One of the exercises included working in groups on a particular global challenge like Women and Children, Refugee Crisis, and International Security. Each group developed and discussed strategies to resolve its particular challenge.

The program was widely attended and students were very enthusiastic. 


ACKU signed an agreement in September 2016 for a two-year grant with the Open Society-Afghanistan to collect, catalog and digitize Afghanistan's contemporary laws and to put them in an accessible, searchable system.
The project will provide researchers, analysts, practicing lawyers, legal scholars and students in Afghanistan and worldwide  easy access to all contemporary laws of Afghanistan for their academic and research purposes. The database will help increase citizen awareness on legal issues, improve rule of law, and advance a culture of human rights in Afghanistan

In 2016, ACKU opened new research stations at the American University of Afghanistan, the Sharq Institute of Higher Education, and the O.P. Jindal Global University's Jindal School of International Affairs in Kabul as well as its main campus in Delhi, India.


Many of ACKU's holdings, including photographs, are digitized and available as PDFs or JPGs. Visit to search the collection! 


ABLE Helps Prevent Illegal Migration

Nasibullah, 10th grade student of Sayeed Abad High School, Maidan Wardak writes: 

"I regularly visit my school library and use ABLE publications. I am very delighted to say that I had the access to the ABLE publication, Adventure of Afghan Migrants. One of my friends wanted to migrate to Europe illegally from Afghanistan. I asked him to read the book Adventure of Afghan Migrants. Few days later, I asked him when he was going abroad. He said he did not want to leave the country illegally. The book you offered me to read was very useful. I changed my decision of migrating from Afghanistan illegally. I am very thankful for your help!"

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

Nancy Hatch Dupree
Andrew H. Brimmer, Chair | Sarah O'Hagan, Secretary |  Robert J. Breen | Sandra Cook Peter B. de Neufville |  Ashraf Ghani |  M. Ashraf Haidari | Sheila M. Platt | David Rohde 
J. Alexander Thier
Mary Anne Schwalbe, Co-Founder (deceased)
Theodore L. Eliot, Jr., Convener | George Biddle | Lakhdar Brahimi | John A. Gastright, Jr. Said T. Jawad | Tony Kushner |  Spozhmai Maiwandi | Ronald E. Neumann | Nicholas Platt Mary Anne Weaver | Catherine W. Wilkinson
Laura J. Marks, Executive Director

Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation| (917) 546-9369 |   Email | Website