Dr. Ahmad Sarmast is founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). A musician from a renowned family, he fled Afghanistan when its rich musical heritage was halted by the civil war, as music was forbidden under Taliban rule. Following the nation’s liberation, Sarmast returned to Kabul to establish ANIM. ANIM offers music education in Afghan and Western classical music to students regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social backgrounds. For over a decade, ANIM flourished. Students and ensembles—including famous all-girls’ orchestra Zohra—toured the world as a positive face for Afghanistan’s future. Upon the Taliban’s return in August 2021, Sarmast worked with an international coalition to rescue the school’s 273 members and re-establish it in Portugal. Sarmast and ANIM are winners of the 2018 Polar Prize. Named “Honorary Fellow of the National College of Music, London,” Sarmast received international honors. Both are the subject of media reports in prominent international publications. The target of three assassination attempts, Dr. Sarmast was grievously injured in a suicide bombing during an ANIM Ensemble peace concert in Kabul in 2014. Dr. Sarmast received his PhD in Music from Monash University, and a Bachelor’s and Masters of Arts from the Moscow State Conservatory.

Dr. Ahmad Sarmast will perform with musicians from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music at the World Justice Forum's Rule of Law Award and Arts Performance