On April 19 AIAS/Kabul hosted a dinner meeting for Afghan artist and physician Mohammed Yousef Asefi with high-level officials from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Asefi has gained worldwide admiration for saving more than 200 oil paintings from the Taliban. At great personal risk, he hid some and disguised others with soluble watercolors. Now restored, the paintings help make the Afghan National Art Gallery a place, in the words of President Hamid Karzai, “of great hope and brightness.”
Thomas Mallon, NEH Director of Preservation and Access, presented Dr. Asefi with a testimonial on behalf of the American people. Several prominent Afghan intellectuals were in attendance together with NEH Deputy Chairman Lynne Munson and Senior Program Officer Charles Kolb.
AIAS hopes to collaborate with NEH on the recovery of other scholarly and cultural collections in Afghanistan.