The 2018 Polar Music 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. In the 1990’s, Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage, which thrived for centuries, was abruptly halted by the civil war and from 1996 until 2001, music was forbidden and silenced throughout the country. In 2008, Dr. Sarmast, the son of a famous conductor, returned to Kabul, at great personal risk, to establish ANIM. ANIM, a decade on, flourishes and is committed to preserving Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage and to providing a safe learning environment to hundreds of boys and girls.
Credits: footage from Kabul from documentary “When Kabul Sings” by Sahra Mosawi.