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Overview:

The Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation is one of several programs administered by the Cultural Heritage Center, a division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It is the only component of the U.S. government that provides grant support to heritage preservation in developing countries. Projects are chosen from those proposed by U.S. Ambassadors in 120 countries that the State Department deems eligible. AFCP grants are awarded in areas ranging from providing technical support for the restoration of buildings that are hundreds of years old to aiding in documentation to saving threatened traditional crafts. 

 
Controversy surrounds some of the actions of Maria P. Kouroupas, the Executive Director of AFCP, as it also did when she previously held similar positions for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
 
more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2001, acknowledging that heritage preservation is an integral element of U.S. foreign relations, Congress established the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, to directly assist developing countries in preserving their cultural heritage by helping them develop long-term strategies to do so, and by providing grants to specifically help pay for the preservation process. Initially the law creating AFCP instructed the Department of State to set aside a million dollars for the fund, but since then the annual appropriation has grown. Between 2001 and 2007, the Fund paid about $11 million dollars for 437 grants in 119 countries.

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Department of State, with grants provided by its Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation Program, helps countries around the world preserve a wide variety of historic objects, manuscripts, museum collections, monuments, and groups of buildings and properties with historical, aesthetic, archeological, scientific, ethnological, anthropological, or sacred value.
 
Among other areas, submitted proposals can seek funding for: Creating suitable space and conditions for safe storage or exhibition of a collection of objects, and/or specialized training in the care and preservation of such collections; compiling a dictionary of an endangered language; documenting traditional music or dance forms; and recording an oral history.
 
New preservation project proposals are solicited every year by AFCP. U.S. Ambassadors in less-developed countries submit what in their views are the most competitive proposals, for one-time or recurring projects, from established organizations or institutions. The grants of between $15-50,000, occasionally higher, are then awarded based on a combination of the importance of the site, object, or form of expression; the country’s need; the impact of the United States’ contribution to the preservation; and the anticipated benefit to the advancement of U.S. diplomatic goals as a result of the selection. The guidelines and criteria for the selection process are developed by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which also oversees the review and selection process, working in tandem with the Cultural Heritage Center office, which administers the Fund.
 
To apply, an organization sends a package to the Ambassador in their country, that must include: project location, purpose, and summary; detailed description; approximate start and end date for the project; significance of the resource; urgency; rationale for U.S. support; budget narrative, including other funding sources; submitting organization information, and resumes of the people involved; permission from local authorities; and photographs of the resource.
 

Among recent projects awarded grants: Conservation of more than 200 Buddha statues in the Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh City; Provision of tools for site management of the ancient city of Busra, in Syria, the northern capital of the Nabataean Empire in the 2nd century BC, which contains evidence from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods; Restoration of the 18th century Maria Magdalena Church in Managua, Nicaragua; Documentation of Romani culture and music that has been passed down through generations for six centuries in Romania; Conservation of Pashto, Arabic, and Persian manuscripts dating back to the 16th century in the Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar, Pakistan; A former GULAG camp in Perm, Russia; A manuscript collection in Kosovo dating from the Ottoman Empire; and A post-Tsunami survey of buildings in the 13th century coastal town of Matara, Sri Lanka.

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searchable Project Listings

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Department Misconduct Charged (by Dave Welsh, Unidroit-L Yahoo Group)
Yes, it’s a War (by Wayne G. Sayle, Ancient Coin Collecting)

You Can't Bring Those Antiquities In Here!

(by Nina Teicholz, Washington Post)

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should the General Public be Allowed to Import, Sell, and Buy Art and Antiquities From Other Countries?
On one side are archaeologists and the U.S. Department of State, and its Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC), who believe unearthed objects should stay in the country and location where they are found, and that it is unacceptable to allow a private market for antiquities.
 
On the other side are art and antiquity dealers who make their living buying objects from around the world, and then selling them to museums and private collectors.
 
No
According to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 1993 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, the U.S. may impose import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological or ethnographic material if a state party to the Convention requests the restrictions.
 
The CPAC was created to protect objects that were of definite cultural significance to a country, so much so that the cultural patrimony of the country would be in jeopardy from its pillage.
 
Yes

Art and antiquity dealers contend that CPAC has been making livelihood-killing decisions beyond the boundaries of the laws. Dealers also assert if you close down the legal market, not only are the objects lost to private collectors, but if as a result they wind up on the black market, museums can’t buy them either. The dealers have also contended that the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund, Maria Kouroupas, seems intent on eliminating the art trade. They say that she operates behind closed doors, is disdainful of the interest of dealers, and lacks tolerance for differing points of views.

 

more

Comments

Geoffrey Read 6 years ago
This is a great concept. In What format do you want the applications for support> and to whom do we address the requests? Could you support an NGO or an International NGO? could you support a request for a munticountry activity? Thanks Geoffrey Read

Leave a comment

Founded: 2001
Annual Budget: $5 million
Employees: 10
Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation
Kouroupas, Maria
Executive Director

 Maria P. Kouroupas is the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. She attended the University of Arkansas and the State College of Arkansas, receiving a Master’s Degree in History and Education. In 1977 she worked for the American Association of Museums in Washington D.C., and in 1984 she began at the United States Information Agency, where she became Deputy Director of the Cultural Preservation Advisory Committee. In 1993 she was named its director, and she also served as the executive director of the Committee before coming to The Cultural Heritage Center in that same capacity.

 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation is one of several programs administered by the Cultural Heritage Center, a division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It is the only component of the U.S. government that provides grant support to heritage preservation in developing countries. Projects are chosen from those proposed by U.S. Ambassadors in 120 countries that the State Department deems eligible. AFCP grants are awarded in areas ranging from providing technical support for the restoration of buildings that are hundreds of years old to aiding in documentation to saving threatened traditional crafts. 

 
Controversy surrounds some of the actions of Maria P. Kouroupas, the Executive Director of AFCP, as it also did when she previously held similar positions for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
 
more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2001, acknowledging that heritage preservation is an integral element of U.S. foreign relations, Congress established the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, to directly assist developing countries in preserving their cultural heritage by helping them develop long-term strategies to do so, and by providing grants to specifically help pay for the preservation process. Initially the law creating AFCP instructed the Department of State to set aside a million dollars for the fund, but since then the annual appropriation has grown. Between 2001 and 2007, the Fund paid about $11 million dollars for 437 grants in 119 countries.

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Department of State, with grants provided by its Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation Program, helps countries around the world preserve a wide variety of historic objects, manuscripts, museum collections, monuments, and groups of buildings and properties with historical, aesthetic, archeological, scientific, ethnological, anthropological, or sacred value.
 
Among other areas, submitted proposals can seek funding for: Creating suitable space and conditions for safe storage or exhibition of a collection of objects, and/or specialized training in the care and preservation of such collections; compiling a dictionary of an endangered language; documenting traditional music or dance forms; and recording an oral history.
 
New preservation project proposals are solicited every year by AFCP. U.S. Ambassadors in less-developed countries submit what in their views are the most competitive proposals, for one-time or recurring projects, from established organizations or institutions. The grants of between $15-50,000, occasionally higher, are then awarded based on a combination of the importance of the site, object, or form of expression; the country’s need; the impact of the United States’ contribution to the preservation; and the anticipated benefit to the advancement of U.S. diplomatic goals as a result of the selection. The guidelines and criteria for the selection process are developed by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which also oversees the review and selection process, working in tandem with the Cultural Heritage Center office, which administers the Fund.
 
To apply, an organization sends a package to the Ambassador in their country, that must include: project location, purpose, and summary; detailed description; approximate start and end date for the project; significance of the resource; urgency; rationale for U.S. support; budget narrative, including other funding sources; submitting organization information, and resumes of the people involved; permission from local authorities; and photographs of the resource.
 

Among recent projects awarded grants: Conservation of more than 200 Buddha statues in the Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh City; Provision of tools for site management of the ancient city of Busra, in Syria, the northern capital of the Nabataean Empire in the 2nd century BC, which contains evidence from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods; Restoration of the 18th century Maria Magdalena Church in Managua, Nicaragua; Documentation of Romani culture and music that has been passed down through generations for six centuries in Romania; Conservation of Pashto, Arabic, and Persian manuscripts dating back to the 16th century in the Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar, Pakistan; A former GULAG camp in Perm, Russia; A manuscript collection in Kosovo dating from the Ottoman Empire; and A post-Tsunami survey of buildings in the 13th century coastal town of Matara, Sri Lanka.

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searchable Project Listings

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Department Misconduct Charged (by Dave Welsh, Unidroit-L Yahoo Group)
Yes, it’s a War (by Wayne G. Sayle, Ancient Coin Collecting)

You Can't Bring Those Antiquities In Here!

(by Nina Teicholz, Washington Post)

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should the General Public be Allowed to Import, Sell, and Buy Art and Antiquities From Other Countries?
On one side are archaeologists and the U.S. Department of State, and its Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC), who believe unearthed objects should stay in the country and location where they are found, and that it is unacceptable to allow a private market for antiquities.
 
On the other side are art and antiquity dealers who make their living buying objects from around the world, and then selling them to museums and private collectors.
 
No
According to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 1993 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, the U.S. may impose import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological or ethnographic material if a state party to the Convention requests the restrictions.
 
The CPAC was created to protect objects that were of definite cultural significance to a country, so much so that the cultural patrimony of the country would be in jeopardy from its pillage.
 
Yes

Art and antiquity dealers contend that CPAC has been making livelihood-killing decisions beyond the boundaries of the laws. Dealers also assert if you close down the legal market, not only are the objects lost to private collectors, but if as a result they wind up on the black market, museums can’t buy them either. The dealers have also contended that the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund, Maria Kouroupas, seems intent on eliminating the art trade. They say that she operates behind closed doors, is disdainful of the interest of dealers, and lacks tolerance for differing points of views.

 

more

Comments

Geoffrey Read 6 years ago
This is a great concept. In What format do you want the applications for support> and to whom do we address the requests? Could you support an NGO or an International NGO? could you support a request for a munticountry activity? Thanks Geoffrey Read

Leave a comment

Founded: 2001
Annual Budget: $5 million
Employees: 10
Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation
Kouroupas, Maria
Executive Director

 Maria P. Kouroupas is the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. She attended the University of Arkansas and the State College of Arkansas, receiving a Master’s Degree in History and Education. In 1977 she worked for the American Association of Museums in Washington D.C., and in 1984 she began at the United States Information Agency, where she became Deputy Director of the Cultural Preservation Advisory Committee. In 1993 she was named its director, and she also served as the executive director of the Committee before coming to The Cultural Heritage Center in that same capacity.

 
more