Cultural Heritage


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The preservation of our Afghan cultural heritage and identity are inextricably linked, which is why culture is one of our focus areas here at DHSA. We founded the Irfan Cultural Center in 1997 in Peshawar, Pakistan, to help create and preserve Afghan art. The Center was a creative space for exiled Afghan artists, filmmakers, musicians, and writers. 

We are grateful to have been able to provide a space that could nurture the creative talents of renowned artists such as filmmaker Siddiq Barmak, who went on to win the 2004 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film for Osama. Barmak was also the co-founder of Irfan Cultural Center and on the editorial board for Sapeda, DHSA’s quarterly arts and culture magazine founded in 1998. The magazine’s editorial board also included Afghan literary figures, such as renowned poet Wasef Bakhtari, author, playwright, journalist Razaq Mamoon, and Afghan Academy of Sciences advisor Habibullah Raf. 

We have worked on restoring historic buildings as part of our cultural heritage preservation efforts. Some notable examples of our work in this area in Kabul are: 

  • The pavilion inside Bagh-e-Babur (Babur Garden)

  • The Shah Shaheed Shrine in Karte-Naw

  • Mullah Mahmood Mosque, a 17-century wooden mosque in the old city