ICON, Fall 2002

For nearly four decades, the World Monuments Fund has been on the forefront of preservation, working to save sites around the globe. For every project we have undertaken, there are seemingly dozens of stories t o be told, of lessons learned, of technologies developed, and of strategies devised to make sites economically self-sufficient and enhance the lives of those who live in their midst. We have launched ICON with the belief that, by sharing our experiences in the field, others will be encouraged to work to preserve the past for future generations. We invite you to join us as we explore the world's most treasured, yet endangered, sites and the cultures that created them. As this issue went to press, WMF participated in an international symposium on the future of Afghanistan's cultural heritage, held in Kabul on the eve of the meeting of the Loyajirga, the multiethnic grand council charged with shaping that country's future. Many have asked, "After decades of war, is there truly anything left to preserve?" Having seen the country firsthand, the answer is a resounding "Yes." Afghanistan lies at one of the greatest cultural crossroads the world has known—evident in its abundant remains from the Greek, Buddhist, and Islamic periods. The conservation challenges that this war-torn nation faces are great, but not insurmountable. As we have learned, it is within the human spirit to prevail.

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