Omara Khan Massoudi
Omara Khan Massoudi through outstanding professional dedication and personal bravery, has saved some of the world’s finest cultural treasures. When the Kabul Museum was bombed and looted in 1993, he inspired other members of staff to assist him in ongoing evasive action to safeguard whatever was possible and to assess and record the damage. Taking extraordinary risks to preserve the most important items, secretly removing some to safe places and disguising others, he was directly responsible for saving a large proportion of what remains of the museum’s unique collections. After 25 years of service within the institution, Omara Khan Massoudi was appointed the director of the Kabul Museum in 2001 where he continues his inspiring and indefatigable efforts to rehabilitate the museum building and restore its collections, as well as prevent the plunder of Afghanistan’s important historical and cultural sites. His work emphasises the ongoing importance of protecting the world’s cultural heritage, now severely threatened by increasing wars and disasters, and safeguarding it for the benefit of future generations. This Prince Claus Award honours Omara Khan Massoudi for his courage and for his continuing commitment to defending and promoting culture in the most extreme of circumstances.