Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 8, 2009


The restoration of the 12th-century Tomb of Hafiz Muhammad Hayat in Gujrat and the 13th-century Shrine of Hazrat Shah Shams Tabraiz in Multan, two exceptional monuments to early Sufi saints in Pakistan, are among the 71 projects in 58 countries and the West Bank to receive financial support from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) in 2009.

Both projects in Pakistan will employ local craftsmen who have worked all their lives constructing and repairing the monuments and are trained in traditional building methods. The work planned for the monuments will address their advanced states of deterioration due to environmental and other factors. Previous AFCP-supported projects in Pakistan have restored other culturally significant shrines, mosques, and public landmarks that are also organic elements of their communities.

Other projects AFCP will support in 2009 include:

  • Preventive conservation of the 18th-century Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Mongolia, once the most important center for Buddhist learning and culture in the country and a rare survivor of the Soviet-controlled government-ordered destruction of Buddhist monasteries in the 1930s;
  • Restoration of the early 19th-century Government House in Belize, one of the country’s most important political and historical landmarks and, because of its location along the coast, also one of its most vulnerable; and
  • Conservation of ancient manuscripts in the Collection of the Advanced Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Mauritania, a continuation of an earlier AFCP project that has generated genuine excitement and a sense of personal and national pride among students and staff.

Established by Congress in 2001 and administered by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Cultural Heritage Center, AFCP provides direct grant support for the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects and collections, and forms of traditional cultural expression in developing countries around the world. Since its inception, the Fund has supported more than 500 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 developing countries.

The Cultural Heritage Center supports the foreign affairs functions of the Department that relate to the preservation of cultural heritage. In addition to AFCP, the Center administers U.S. responsibilities relating to the 1970 UNESCO Convention to reduce pillage and illicit trafficking in cultural property. Information on the Fund is available at exchanges.state.gov/afcp/.

Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, (202) 203-5107 or StearnsCL@state.gov

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PRN: 2009/557