Polar Prize to Afghanistan's National Institute of Music

Afghanistan's National Institute of Music (ANIM) and Ahmad Sarmast, its visionary founder and director, along with American heavy metal band Metallica have won the prestigious 2018 Polar Music Prize. The award will be presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on June 14, 2018.
The award panel said the Afghan ensemble "revives Afghan music and shows you can transform lives through music."
The 2018 Polar Music Prize was awarded to ANIM and Sarmast “in recognition of how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people’s lives.” The prize is traditionally given to one person from the pop world and one from the classical or jazz genre. The winners have been invited to receive their awards, including a cash prize of 1 million kronor ($124,000 USD) each, on June 14 from members of the Swedish royal family in Stockholm.
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, Sarmast, the son of a famous conductor, returned to Kabul to establish ANIM. He founded ANIM in Kabul in 2010 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.