Radio Azadi honours music institute director
WASHINGTON (PAN): Ahmad Sarmast, director and founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, has been named "Person of the Year" by Radio Azadi in recognition of the opportunity he has given to the nation’s children to flourish through music.
Radio Azadi is the Afghan service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). “Sarmast has contributed to an atmosphere of hope," said Radio Azadi Director Hashem Mohmand.
"I believe music is not only art and a tool for entertainment, but it is also a tool for fighting against poverty and fundamental changes in a society,” Sarmast said in a statement issued by RFE/RL.
He added: “Music can have positive effects on the psychology of the people of a country, especially a war-torn country like Afghanistan, especially the children of Afghanistan who have witnessed destruction of their houses, death of their relatives and devastation of their villages.”
The award, presented annually on the occasion of Nawroz, recognises outstanding individual contributions to peace, democracy and culture.
RFE/RL said when the Taliban fell in 2001, Sarmast was among those who took steps to revive the country's musical tradition, by becoming the first native of Afghanistan to earn a PhD in music.
Later, he opened the institute at the site where his own musical education began as a boy. He sees his work in promoting music education as "returning the musical right of Afghans back to them."
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