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Leader of Buddha reconstruction effort to discuss project, Feb. 22

The Swiss architect leading an effort to reconstruct two 1,700-year-old giant Buddha statues that were destroyed by the Taliban will speak on campus Friday, Feb. 22.

Paul Bucherer, who directs the Afghanistan Institute and Museum in Basel, Switzerland, will speak on "Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage: The Reconstruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan" at 7:30 p.m. in McCormick 101.

The colossal statues were carved into solid limestone cliffs in Afghanistan. The larger of the two, at 175 feet tall, had been the world's largest Buddha. The Taliban dynamited the statues in March 2001, acting on a belief that Islamic law forbids representational images of deities.

The restoration plan calls for three phases of work: creation of a detailed digital representation of the Buddhas; construction of a one-tenth scale model based on the digital images; and complete reconstruction at the Bamiyan site.

Bucherer's visit is sponsored by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination , which will host a public reception for him before the talk, starting at 6:45 p.m. in the lobby outside McCormick 101. Over the following weekend, 25 other experts and leaders from Afghanistan, Europe and the United States will join Bucherer and Princeton faculty members for workshops on the subject of security and self-governance in Afghanistan.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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