Cultural Preservation Program
The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation enables the United States to demonstrate its respect for other cultures. The Cultural preservation offers an opportunity to show a different American face to other countries, one that is non-commercial, non-political, and non-military. In efforts to preserve cultural heritage, we show our respect for other cultures by protecting their traditions. United States Ambassadors in less-developed countries may submit competitive proposals for one-time or recurring projects with awards based on the importance of the site, object, or form of expression, the country’s need, the impact of the United States contribution to the preservation of the site, object, or form of expression, and the anticipated benefit to the advancement of United States diplomatic goals.
Through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, the U.S. Department of State is helping eligible countries around the globe preserve historic sites and manuscripts, museum collections, and traditional forms of expression such as music, dance, and language. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the fund, established by Congress in 2001 to assist less-developed countries in preserving their cultural heritage. The Ambassador’s Fund is the only program in the U.S. government that provides direct small grant support to heritage preservation in less developed countries.
United States Ambassador’s in eligible countries may submit competitive proposals for one-time or recurring projects. The U.N. Human Development Index is used as a guide in determining the eligible countries each year. The program has enjoyed great success and has consistently received an 80% response rate from U.S. Ambassadors to the call for proposals. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has developed the program guidelines and criteria, and oversees the review and selection process. Once selected, the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section oversees the project implementation.
To date, the Ambassador’s Fund has supported 292 projects, worldwide, totaling $6.7 million. Funds projects include technical support for the restoration of historic buildings; assessment and conservation of museum collections; archaeological site preservation; documentation to save threatened traditional crafts; improved storage conditions for archives and manuscripts; recording oral history; and documentation of indigenous languages. In many of the recipient countries, few resources can go a long way in addressing preservation needs.