U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP)

Established by the U.S. Congress in 2001, the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in developing countries around the world. Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. Since its inception, the Fund has supported more than 900 cultural preservation projects in more than 200 countries.

Over the past fifteen years, The U.S. Department of State, through AFCP, has supported 24 projects worth more than $1,500,000 to preserve historically important cultural sites and objects in Turkmenistan:

  • 2001 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to restore the 15th Century Seyit Jemalletdin Mosque in Annau (Ahal province), which was destroyed by the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake.(1)
  • 2002 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to support a project to preserve Parthian wall frescos at the historical site of Ancient Nisa (2)
  • 2003 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to support conservation work at the historical monument of the 11th Century Mausoleum-Shrine of Abu Sakhyt Abul Khair (1049). The project consisted of restoring the majolica tiles, strengthening the structure, and producing an educational brochure about the historical significance of the site. (3)
  • 2004 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to the National Carpet Museum of Turkmenistan’s project to preserve a unique collection of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Turkmen Carpets. (4)
  • 2005 – Two significant projects in Turkmenistan won AFCP grants.
    • AFCP supported the preservation of Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum, a famous Islamic monument in Central Asia. (5)
    • The second project supported the preservation and investigation of the Ak-Saray-Ding Tower (Dashoguz province), built circa 11 A.D, which is the only remaining structure of what is now a Muslim pilgrimage site. (6)
  • 2006 – The U.S. Department of State awarded AFCP grants to two additional projects in Turkmenistan:
    • One project allowed for the completion of the first phase of conservation work on the unique mud-brick architecture of the palace and temple complex at Gonur-Depe dating from the Second Millennium B.C. (7)
    • The other project financed the first phase of conservation of manuscripts containing literary works, Turkmen history, culture, and religion, written in Arabic, Turkmen, and Persian, dating from the 18th through early 20th Centuries. (8)
  • 2007 – The U.S. Department of State awarded two AFCP grants to projects in Turkmenistan:
    • One project allowed for the completion of the second phase of conservation work on the unique mud-brick architecture of the palace and temple complex at Gonur-Depe dating from the Second Millennium B.C. (9)
    • The other project financed the second phase of conservation of manuscripts containing literary works, Turkmen history, culture, and religion, written in Arabic, Turkmen, and Persian, dating from the 18th through early 20th Centuries. (10)
  • 2008 – The U.S. Department of State awarded two AFCP grants to projects in Turkmenistan:
    • AFCP supported the preservation of the Shir-Kebir (Mashad Ata) Mosque in Ancient Dehistan (Balkan province). The project was implemented by the National Administration for Preservation, Study, and Protection of Cultural and Historical Monuments of Turkmenistan. (11)
    • AFCP supported the Institute of History of Turkmenistan in the first phase of research, restoration, and conservation of the Ismamut-Ata Monument (Dashoguz province). This monument, a monastic complex and pilgrimage site founded in the 11th Century, is one of the great religious and architectural monuments from Central Asia’s medieval history. (12)
  • 2009 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to Turkmenistan’s National Library for the conservation and restoration of rare and valuable books. The grant helped the National Library conserve and restore nearly 50,000 rare and valuable books from the 16th-19th Centuries. These books represent a massive portion of Turkmenistan’s literary treasures and preserving them will enable generations of Turkmen to continue to enjoy the wisdom of their heritage. (13)
  • 2011 – A record year for the number of projects supported in Turkmenistan. The U.S. Department of State awarded AFCP grants to four more projects in Turkmenistan:
    • The Fine Arts Museum of Turkmenistan won an AFCP grant for the conservation of decorative panels from a 5th Century Zoroastrian Temple of Fire, located at Mele-Heyran, in the Serakhs Oasis (Ahal province). (14)
    • The second award was given to the National Administration for Preservation, Study, and Protection of Cultural and Historical Monuments of Turkmenistan for restoration of the majolica tombstone in the 14th Century Mausoleum of Najm-ad-Din al-Kubra in Kunya Urgench (Dashoguz province). (15)
    • The third award was given to the Institute of History of Turkmenistan for the second phase of research, restoration, and conservation of the Ismamut-Ata Monument (Dashoguz province). This monument, a monastic complex and pilgrimage site founded in the 11th Century, is one of the great religious and architectural monuments from Central Asia’s medieval history. (16)
    • The fourth award was given to the Ancient Merv State Historical and Cultural Reserve for the research and preparatory study before the preservation and restoration of the Greater and Lesser Gyz Galas, two monumental mud-brick fortresses from the late Sassanid and early Islamic periods (6th-8th Centuries) in Ancient Merv (Mary province). (17)
  • 2012 – The U.S. Department of State awarded three AFCP grants to projects in Turkmenistan:
    • The National Conservatory of Turkmenistan was awarded an AFCP grant for the preservation of unique recordings of early folk music at the archives of the National Conservatory of Turkmenistan. (18)
    • The National Administration for Preservation, Study, and Protection of Cultural and Historical Monuments of Turkmenistan was awarded a grant for the preservation of the 12th Century Silk Road Caravanserai at Dayahatyn (Lebap province). (19)
    • In addition to these small grant projects, the U.S. Department of State also awarded a large AFCP grant, the first grant of its size to a project in Turkmenistan, for the preservation and restoration of the Greater and Lesser Gyz Galas, two monumental mud-brick fortresses from the late Sassanid and early Islamic periods (6th-8th Centuries) in Ancient Merv (Mary province). (20)
  • 2013 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to the Fine Arts Museum of Turkmenistan to restore the 15th Century mosaic panel and epigraphy from the Seyit Jemalletdin Mosque in Annau (Ahal province). This project was the second phase of the very first AFCP project awarded in Turkmenistan. (21)
  • 2014 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to the Institute of History of Turkmenistan for the 3rd and final phase of research, restoration, and conservation of the Ismamut-Ata Monument (Dashoguz province). This monument, a monastic complex and pilgrimage site from in the 11th Century, is one of the great religious and architectural monuments from Central Asia’s medieval history. (22)
  • 2015 – The U.S. Department of State awarded an AFCP grant to the Fine Arts Museum to support the study, conservation, partial restoration and reconstruction of a monumental mosaic décor of underground burial chambers of a famous bronze-age monument (2300-1600 BC) of Turkmenistan, Gonur Depe. (23)
  • 2016 – The U.S. Department of State awarded this year’s AFCP grant to the National Administration for the Study, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural and Historical Monuments of Turkmenistan to support the study, conservation, and restoration of the 13th century Mokhammed II Mosque of Khorezmshakh, located in the city of Misrian in the Ancient Dekhistan Historical and Cultural Park in the Balkan Region of Turkmenistan. (24)
  • 2017 – The U.S. Department of State awarded this year’s AFCP grant to the National Administration for the Study, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural and Historical Monuments of Turkmenistan to support the second stage of preservation of the 12th-century Silk Road caravanserai at Dayahatyn in Lebap province. (25)

AFCP supports projects to preserve cultural heritage in the following three categories:

  1. CULTURAL SITES includes (but is not limited to) historical buildings and sites, monuments, and archaeological sites:
  • Preservation of an archaeological or historical site, sacred place or monument;
  • An archaeological survey as a component of a preservation plan;
  • Preservation management planning for a site or sites in a region, and
  • Documentation of a site or sites in a region for preservation purposes
  1. CULTURAL OBJECTS AND COLLECTIONS from a museum, site, or similar institution, includes archaeological and ethnographic objects, paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, photographic and film collections, and general museum conservation activities:
  • Conservation of an object or collection of objects;
  • Inventory of a collection of objects for conservation purposes;
  • Creating suitable space and conditions for a collection of objects, and
  • Specialized training in the care and preservation of collections
  1. FORMS OF TRADITIONAL CULTURAL EXPRESSION includes traditional music, rituals, knowledge, languages, dance, drama, and crafts:
  • Recording traditional music or dance forms;
  • Compiling a dictionary of an endangered language;
  • Recording oral history or traditional poetry, and
  • Support for training in the preservation of traditional arts or crafts that are threatened by extinction

Applications should meet the following criteria:

Detailed description of the project and participants, including the time frame and indication of the importance of the cultural or sacred site (or sites), object (or collection), or form of expression. All should have a close association with the history and cultural development of the host country and demonstrate need for preservation or conservation.

  • Detailed work plan, including educational component (such as a plan of lectures, presentations, description of brochures proposing for the publication according to the project, and etc.).
  • Indication of the necessity of the project for the host country and its urgency of implementation.
  • Detailed budget of requested funding. Indicate other funding sources, if any. Strong encouragement is given to local non-U.S. government source cost-sharing (including in-kind) from sources such as governments, international organizations, and the private sector.
  • Indication of reporting methods intended to use during project implementation to report project implementation process and its outcomes.

The proposed budget should not be less $10,000, and should not exceed $300,000.

PLEASE NOTE: This program is meant to support the preservation of cultural heritage ONLY. Funds cannot be used to support the purchase of privately owned, residential or commercial property or collections.

For more information on cultural preservation projects that have been funded through this program around the world, please, visit: http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation.

Contact the Public Affairs Section for an application form and/or if you have any questions.

Deadline for the submission of proposals: annually at the end of November.

Point of contact

Nargiza Metyakubova, Cultural Affairs Assistant

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Ashgabat
70 Andalyp (1958) köçesi
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Tel: (+99312) 473503 ext. 245 or ext. 237
Email: irc-ashgabat@state.gov