The United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation celebrates its tenth year with 63 new grant awards supporting cultural preservation projects worldwide.
Established by the U.S. Congress in the fall of 2000, the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation or AFCP awards grants for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression through a grants competition open to more than 100 eligible countries. The awards demonstrate America's respect for the cultural heritage of others and have supported more than 640 preservation projects worldwide since the program's inception.
In 2010 the preservation and protection of the early 18th century Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Mongolia is one of the 4 large-scale efforts among the cultural heritage preservation projects to receive financial support from the AFCP. The monastery was once the most important center of Buddhist learning and culture in Mongolia and is a rare survivor of the destruction of Buddhist monasteries during political purges 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, as well as the renovation of the tile roof of the main temple building.
Other 2010 AFCP grants include an award of $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; an award of $850,000 to the Department of Archeology and Museums of Pakistan, for the restoration of the early 17th-century Sheikhupura Fort, built by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir; and an award of $450,000 to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, for ongoing restoration of Qala Ikhtyaruddin, the 15th-century citadel of Herat, Afghanistan.
This year, the AFCP also awarded a total of $3.5 million in smaller grants for projects preserving 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 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation 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.