Ambassador Blome: Today, the United States is excited to announce a grant under the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation of $320,470 that will enhance the Mehrgarh Museum in Quetta and secure cultural artifacts for the future. But this is more than just money; it’s a partnership. Working with Balochistan’s Culture Department and the Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society, we’re making history with the first Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation project for Balochistan.
The Mehrgarh Museum is not just a collection of artifacts; it’s a living connection to our shared past as human beings. It represents Balochistan’s rich history and tells the shared story of Pakistan and South Asia. The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation grant will help preserve Neolithic and other archaeological artifacts of the Mehrgarh civilization, as well as upgrade the museum’s displays, ensuring this incredible heritage is protected and shared with generations to come.
The Ambassadors Fund goes far beyond preserving artifacts; it empowers people. This investment not only preserves Pakistan’s heritage, it creates jobs and strengthens local economies. It also provides opportunities for cultural heritage professionals to exchange best practices.
Under this grant, we established a partnership with the Balochistan Directorate of Archaeology and funding will support staff training to ensure the continued vibrancy of the museum long after this project finishes.
The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has an impressive track record, supporting over 1,100 projects across 133 countries since 2001. And today, we proudly add the Mehrgarh Museum to that list, joining 32 existing projects in Pakistan. The United States has committed over $8 million to cultural preservation in Pakistan, partnering with local organizations to protect historical sites, some dating back 2,000 years. Restored buildings include Buddhist monasteries, Hindu monuments, Sufi shrines, and relics of the Mughal Empire.
U.S. funds helped stabilize the Varun Dev Temple on Manora Island in Karachi, which exemplifies Pakistan’s religious diversity.
More than $1 million in U.S. funding helped restore the Chowk Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Punjab.
And we helped restore the Makli Hill in Thatta, Sindh where AFCP funding preserved the 17th-century tombs of Sultan Ibrahim and Amir Sultan Muhammad of the Tarkhan Dynasty.
We are very proud to partner with Pakistan to preserve historical sites that reflect this country’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity.
And that partnership includes now our distinguished guests, including Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki, Dr. Kaleemullah Lashari, Dr. Asma Ibrahim, and officials from the Culture Department of Balochistan. Your commitment to preserving Pakistan’s cultural heritage and fostering understanding is truly commendable. Thank you.
I want to thank everyone involved in making this project a reality, especially the staff at the Mehrgarh Museum. You’re also not just preserving artifacts; you’re fostering understanding and appreciation for the people, art, and culture that came before us.
So thank you everybody for being with us.