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Museum’s expert and ‘orientalist’ Alessandro Califano travels Afghanistan for his museum mission.

by Claudia Brose

Alessandro Califano, a devoted and passionate Italian senior curator at Rome’s MACRO museum of contemporary art (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma), tries to teach Afghans how to set up and maintain museums in their country. Califano ventures into the provinces and gives workshops on why and how the people and the leaders of the various regions might want to be conscious about and believe in their own culture. By directly talking to and teaching the people in the provinces he believes that Afghans can contribute to the understanding and preservation of their own cultural and artistic heritage. Building museums or turning bashed-up historic sites into an open-air museum is his dream for Afghanistan.


courtesy of the Washington Post

Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, has spent the past year working on a new social network. This time, for good deeds.

With Jumo, set to launch on Nov. 30, Hughes hopes users will bring the same enthusiasm they do to Facebook status updates and fan pages to issues such as women’s rights in South Asia, child trafficking in Eastern Europe, and the fight against Aids.

And instead of working out of the Harvard University dorm room he shared with Facebook partner Mark Zuckerberg, Hughes has been working out of offices of in New York. Jumo, means “together in concert” in the West African language Yoruba. It “conjures up the idea of a lot of people working on different causes simultaneously to affect social change,” Hughes said.

The nonprofit is launching its social network as households are cutting expenses. But 60,000 people have signed up so far, without knowing much about it the project. Hughes thinks people would get more engaged if they knew about what their favorite charities and causes were up to and met like-minded people on the Web.

Hughes, who ran the social media campaign for President Obama’s election run, stopped by The Washington Post last week to talk about Jumo.

The APAA is proud to be one of the early adopters of Jumo.  Please follow our cause by clicking on this link.

Working to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan – The Rebuilding Afghanistan Summit in San Francisco and Los Angeles, November 2010

Written by Claudia Brose.

It is a challenge to give Afghanistan a different face than what we see every day in the news. The ‘Afghanistan Hidden Treasures’ exhibition (still touring the world), different events, Non-Profit activities and a movie about Afghanistan (The Black Tulip), entirely filmed in Afghanistan and soon to be released, are examples of many efforts to keep a ‘positive Afghan fever’ in the air and a steady support on the ground.

The recent 7th ‘Rebuilding Afghanistan Summit 2010, which aimed to raise public awareness and garner support for Afghanistan, was a very encouraging event. It brought together a number of non-profit organizations working in Afghanistan, Afghans of older and younger generations, and an eager audience ready to learn about and support the efforts to help Afghanistan’s people. For the first time this Summit took place in Los Angeles, after many successful years in San Francisco. The goal is to have this event growing and being hosted in many more cities.

Will the exploitation of the copper mine Mes Aynak boost Afghanistan’s economy or destroy an ancient religious site along the Silk Road? Can a touching movie on Afghanistan (The Black Tulip, Afghanistan’s official entry to the 2011 Academy Awards) help to open a new window on this broken country? Why do Afghans today have to go back in history in order to catch up with the future? These and many more questions were discussed during presentations, networking time and workshop sessions. The question How and why should we preserve Afghan archaeology? discussed at the APAA workshop, attracted older as well as new generations of Afghans born in the US. The tears of an older lady and the well-posed questions by some younger attendees substantiated the significance that heritage has to the lives of Afghans today.

The Summit revealed two important aspects. One is the different perspective on how and when “change” for the life of Afghanistan’s people is happening. While some argue that change still hasn’t happened, others see it already happening. The other aspect is the strong desire to convey to the world that Afghanistan has a different face than just that of cruel war, desperate people and a destroyed country; the country deserves to be recognized as having a long-standing history and beautiful culture.

To sum up all the efforts, Tamim Ansary, the Afghan-American author of West of Kabul, East of New York and public speaker said at the San Francisco Summit: “The rebuilding activities done now in Afghanistan are like planting seeds whose results we won’t see for decades. And be prepared that the only reward you will get out of it is that you contributed to Afghanistan becoming ‘normal’ again.” In the broad scheme of things – that’s worth the effort.

For more information about the Summit, please visit

Ladies and Gentlemen:

First of all, I wish to extend my warm greetings to Professor Zemaryalai Tarzi and the distinguished members of the Honorary Host Committee—whom I deeply regret being unable to join today, as I have been away from the United States on an extended visit overseas.

But please allow me to pay tribute to the continuing lifetime achievements of Professor Tarzi in service to Afghanistan. For the past fifty years, the Afghan history has witnessed the tireless efforts of Professor Tarzi to help conserve and preserve our heritage, while making scientific contributions of immense importance to the world heritage and history.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recognizes with pride and deep gratitude the perseverance with which Professor Tarzi has pursued his archaeological excavations in Afghanistan for several decades now. While past communist and extremist regimes in Afghanistan actively undermined, barred or destroyed work on preservation of the Afghan heritage, Professor Tarzi courageously spoke out against such acts and advocated for global attention to protecting the heritage we proudly share with the rest of the world.

Thanks to Professor Tarzi’s hard efforts since 2002, the Afghan people are optimistic about the restoration of the great statutes of Buddha, which the Taliban brutally destroyed in 2001. We are thankful to the Professor for helping raise resources and attention to train a new generation of Afghans to build upon the invaluable archaeological findings of DAFA. We are equally grateful to the Government of France and UNESCO for continuing to support Professor Tarzi in helping discover and protect the archaeological heritage of Afghanistan.

I also wish to express my gratitude to Ms. Nadia Tarzi for her leadership in the Association for the Protection of Afghan Archeology, as well as to the Board of Directors of the Association, whom I am delighted to join in celebrating Professor Tarzi’s fifty years of archaeological services to Afghanistan and the world at large.

Once again, I wish Professor Tarzi the best and wholeheartedly congratulate him on his continued accomplishments.


View the Embassy of Afghanistan web site.


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