Dupree passed away peacefully at 3.30am, 10 September 2017 in the Amiri Hospital in Kabul following a long illness. She spent her last 55 years documenting and preserving Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.
A message from President Ashraf Ghani read out at the commemoration ceremony said Dupree spent a huge part of her life on research of Afghanistan history, culture and arts.
She along with her husband had traveled to different areas of Afghanistan and introduced special places and historic sites of the country, the message read.
Acting information and culture minister Rassoul Bawari, who attended the ceremony, said Dupree was one of major supporters of Afghanistan culture and was interested in awareness of the Afghan youth in this regard.
“Dupree was a specialist and researcher of Afghanistan history, arts and culture, she broke the borders and introduced Afghanistan to the world,” he said.
Ms. Dupree arrived in Kabul in 1962. For the next 15 years, she and her late husband, Louis Dupree, a renowned archaeologist and scholar of Afghanistan’s culture and history, traveled throughout Afghanistan, conducting archaeological excavations.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Duprees moved with Afghan refugees to Peshawar, Pakistan where they continued their work.
Ms. Dupree wrote many scholarly and more popular articles, in particular on the challenges facing Afghan women, reports and a number of guidebooks to Afghanistan (one of which became the inspiration for Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul).
Her writings covered all major archaeological and historic sites, as well as a well-known guide to the National Museum, which was the de facto illustrated catalogue of its rare and priceless collection.
Aside from the books, articles, photographs and recordings she leaves behind, Ms. Dupree’s lasting legacy to the country she loved and called home is the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU), which she founded in 2006 and where she was director from 2006-2011.
ACKU grew out of the Agency Coordinat-ing Body for Afghan Relief and Development’s (ACBAR) Resource and Information Center, which Ms. Dupree founded and directed with Louis Dupree in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1989.
Acting higher education minister, Abdul Latif Roshan, said Dupree left behind around a hundred historic, artistic and cultural monuments of Afghanistan and she was like a mother to the Afghans.
He suggested the Ministry of Information and Culture should name the ACKU after Nancy Hatch Dupree.
Hasina Shir Jan, an officer of ACKU, who had worked with Dupree since 1996, said Dupree was a self-reliant person and would not ask people for help. “If there was no Dupree, there would have been no ACKU”, Jan said.