Nadia Tarzi gave two tours on Afghanistan’s ancient past in San Francisco and New York City.

The extraordinary exhibition, “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum,” displayed over 200 objects from the National Museum in Kabul, from four different sites along the ancient trade route, the Silk Road, were long thought to be stolen or destroyed during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-90) or the civil war and Taliban rule that followed. Traveling to the United States for the first time, they not only gave us a glimpse of Afghanistan’s ancient past but tell their own story of redemption and dedication to preserving the past against all odds. On this special occasion, SAFE invited Nadia Tarzi to lead SAFE Tours at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum and also the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Nadia gave unique perspective on the objects in the collection. She explained the original excavation and re-discovery of the artifacts and the harrowing stories of their rescue, while discussing the issues surrounding cultural heritage preservation during wartime and the importance of this heritage in shaping the national identity of Afghanistan.

Nadia Tarzi is founder of the Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology, in San Rafael, CA and a strong advocate of cultural preservation and education in Afghanistan. A nonprofit organization that promotes public awareness of Afghan archaeology around the world, the APAA provides opportunities and funding to restore and conserve Afghanistan’s vulnerable cultural heritage. Born in Strasbourg, France, the daughter of renowned Afghan archaeologist Dr. Zemaryalai Tarzi, who is Director for the Bamiyan Archaeological Mission and president of APAA, Nadia has spoken at academic conferences devoted to Afghan archaeology and cultural heritage. She was featured in the National Geographic documentary “The Lost Treasures of Afghanistan” in 2006 with her father, who recently discovered a 19-meter “Sleeping Buddha” in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. On November 13-15, 2008, Nadia accompanied her father, who joined a panel of cultural heritage experts at the “Recovering Afghanistan’s Past: Cultural Heritage in Context” conference, which was cosponsored by APAA.

I am so happy I asked my husband, mother and friend to join me at the event. We are hoping to be able to attend the other lecture event later in the month. Nadia was so kind to share her passion and personal experiences with us. She is a wonderful advocate for Afghanistan, I hope she will continue to act in that role. Thank you for organizing the event! The exhibit was beautiful and educational.San Francisco tour attendee