The United States Mission in India commemorated 20 years of cultural collaboration with the country through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) projects.

The event was organised at the Sunder Nursery by the US Embassy in collaboration with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

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The organisers released a monograph documenting the endangered musical traditions of western Rajasthan, followed by a live performance by Langa and Manganiyar artists.

"India’s rich cultural heritage has had a profound impact on the United States, and on the world. We’re proud to have helped to preserve aspects of this heritage by investing more than $2 million over the past two decades for the documentation, conservation, and restoration of 23 key historic sites and intangible heritage properties in India," US Chargé d’Affaires Patricia Lacina said at the event.

Some of the projects in India include the restoration of the Sunderwala Burj, Batashewala Mughal tomb complex, and the Arab Serai complex gateway - all located within the UNESCO World Heritage site Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi.

The AFCP has also supported the recording and transcribing of endangered folk music of western Rajasthan’s Langa and Manganiyar communities; and the preservation of palm leaf manuscripts and rare books at the United Theological College in Bengaluru.

Public outreach

The AFCP was established in 2001 to "demonstrate American values and respect for other cultures".

Since its creation, the AFCP has provided financial support to more than 1,100 projects in 133 countries around the world.

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Talking about India's continuing efforts in preserving heritage and culture, Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi said that India has been running similar projects in countries across the world.

"This kind of public outreach every country does in their respective ways, especially India. We have been part of the solution, more than being a part of the problem. So whether it is Vietnam, China, Uzbekistan, or Combodia, India has been doing the same and preserving culture and heritage all around. Efforts from the US Embassy, especially under the Ambassadorial funds is a very welcome step," Lekhi said.

A US Embassy website page, featuring details on AFCP project sites across India, was also launched on the occasion.

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