Cultural Series to Focus on Afghanistan, Iran

  • October 16, 2008
  • MEDIA CONTACT: Diane Daniel; Publicist; College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences; (510) 885-3183

This is the Dragon Master pendant to be featured at Afghan Exhibit in San Francisco.California State University, East Bay - a university with a diverse and international student body and faculty - is piloting a year-long series of lectures and artistic presentations through its College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences to draw attention to some of the special cultures of the Bay Area.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, the series will focus on the nations of Afghanistan and Iran through a variety of programs and presentations to be held in various Bay Area locations in concert with a consortium comprised of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum; the University of California, Berkeley; and San Jose State University.

The first event is the exhibit, "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul," opening Oct. 24 and continuing through Jan. 25. It takes place at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco. On loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan, the collection of nearly 230 artworks, from three archaeological sites, includes gold objects from the famed Bactrian Hoard, bronze and stone sculptures, ivories, painted glassware, and other ancient Afghan works of art. They span the Bronze Age through the rise of trade along the Silk Road in the first century CE.

A highlight of that exhibit will be "Afghanistan Today: A Conversation with Two Scholars," featuring Cal State East Bay's President Mohammad H. Qayoumi - an Afghan native - and another expert. They will discuss the current political and cultural landscape of Afghanistan against the backdrop of the archaeological treasures. This program will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11. It will follow a docent tour of the exhibition.

The Afghanistan exhibit will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during its run from. On Thursdays it will remain open until 9 p.m. Ticket prices range from $5 to $12. Additional information is available online at CSUEB students with valid student identification will be admitted free to the Dec. 11 program.

The second component to the series will be the collaborative conference, "Recovering Afghanistan's Past: Cultural Heritage in Context," Nov. 14-15. The conference will take place at Chevron Auditorium of the International House, located at 2299 Piedmont Ave., on the University of California campus in Berkeley. President Qayoumi will be part of a panel discussing, "The Future of Afghanistan's Past: Valuing Cultural Heritage," during the 9:30 a.m. to noon program on Nov. 14. The CSUEB leader also will moderate a roundtable on cultural heritage from 3:45 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Other sessions will cover the archaeology of ancient Bactria and Bamiyan, the "Golden Hill" and the Kushans, cultural heritage in context, and preservation and protection. Additional information and registration are available on the Institute of East Asian Studies Web site:

This year's series of lectures and presentations will resume in early spring with several lectures to be announced.

In October 2009, a conference - "Dar Jahan, dar Hazar (In the World, At Home): Afghan and Iranian Diaspora Cultures and Communities in the Bay Area," is scheduled to be held on Cal State East Bay's Hayward Campus. Additional information on the conference will be available at

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