The Kennedy Center

Afghanistan National Institute of Music


The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) is the first and foremost institution for the education and nurture of gifted young Afghan musicians. Integral to the school’s music program is a high quality academic education, ensuring that students are able to achieve at the highest level internationally as musicians, music educators, academics, and specialists. The institute is committed to providing a dynamic, challenging, and safe learning environment for all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social circumstances. ANIM focuses on supporting the most disadvantaged group in Afghan society—the orphans and street-working children—by helping them attain a vocation that will allow them to reach their full potential, while contributing to their emotional health. Through the provision of an internationally accredited curriculum, graduates will have the skills, creative vision, and confidence to contribute to the artistic, social, and cultural life of Afghanistan and the revival of Afghan music traditions.
The first music school within the Ministry of Education was established in 1973 and later merged with the School of Fine Arts, which operated until 1992, when civil war consumed Afghanistan. In 2001, the music department within the School of Fine Arts re-opened, and in 2006, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, then a Research Fellow at the Monash Asia Institute in Melbourne, Australia, initiated the Revival of Afghan Music (ROAM) project. In 2007, Dr. Sarmast, with the support of Monash, discussed the establishment of a music institution with the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan. In April 2008, he went to Afghanistan to lead and implement his brainchild.
With the support of the World Bank, the National Association of Music Merchants, and other donors, Dr. Sarmast began establishing Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). This initiative received the International Music Council (IMC)’s 2009 Musical Rights Award and Dr. Sarmast received the 2009 David Chow Humanitarian Award. ANIM was inaugurated on June 20, 2010. ANIM ensembles, including the Afghan Youth Orchestra, have performed for President Hamid Karzai, members of the Afghan cabinet, ambassadors from many countries, and members of the Afghan community.
ANIM initiatives include: the annual Afghanistan Winter Music Academy; a Student Association whose members are elected in a completely democratic process; and a partnership with the Kabul Blind School that introduces, develops, and nurtures the inherent musical skills of students. ANIM moves forward with expanding its programs through the construction of a practice building, a concert hall, a dormitory, and a national conservatory. ANIM students recently toured to Germany, Denmark, and Uzbekistan, and additional local and international tours are planned.
Afghanistan National Institute of Music