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Afghanistan National Institute of Music wins 2018 Polar Music Prize

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Afghanistan National Institute of Music wins 2018 Polar Music Prize
 Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), with Founder/Director Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, and Metallica are announced as 2018 Polar Music Prize Laureates.
The Prize is awarded to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, its visionary founder and director, in recognition of how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people’s lives.
The Polar Music Prize awards two laureates in order to celebrate music in all its various forms and to emphasize the original intention of the Polar Music Prize: to break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.
In connection with winning the prize, ANIM Founder and Director Dr. Ahmad Sarmast told The Kabul Times correspondent: “Laureates are selected by the Polar Music Prize Award Committee the center of which is Sweden. This committee receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council, the NGO founded by UNESCO to promote geographical and musical diversity. One of the key reasons for which ANIM was declared as winner of the prize was considered as to bring musical life back to a generation of Afghans, change of the life and revival of Afghanistan music.”
Dr. Sarmast has founded Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) in response to that country’s civil war destruction of centuries of rich musical tradition. In the 1980s the pop music and film industries were thriving in Afghanistan, with hundreds of ensembles and a national radio orchestra playing Western and Afghan musical instruments. Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned. Over the last eight years, ANIM has been providing a challenging and safe learning environment for all students regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious sect or socio-economic status. The institute has a special focus on the most disadvantaged children in Afghanistan, including orphans, street vendors and girls.
Related to future plans of teaching at the ANIM, Sarmast said: “ANIM has lots of plans, but currently the institute is on its eight academic year and plans to launch its eight annual concert.”
“Currently ANIM is specifying a number of students for 2018 and will have foreign visits to Pakistan, India, Swiss, Portegal and France where the Afghan students will have concert shows,” Sarmast said, adding that ANIM is also planning to construct a hostel for nearly 200 girls and by completion of the hostel the number of female musicians will increase.
Complaining of lack of expert and educated cadres in music, Sarmast said that the institute by appointing foreign experts has addressed the problem with close support of the education ministry and World Bank, hoping that the institute would have the support until 2021, adding that the institute programs would be completed in 2021 as the first graduates from the institute would replace foreign teachers and experts.
It is worth mentioning that the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) was founded in 2010 by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast. It is a rare co-educational secondary school in Kabul, with a mission to teach both Western and native Afghan music, and to bring musical life back to a generation of Afghans born while music was banned by the Taliban in the 1990s.