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International Citation of Merit 2017

2017 Int'l Citation of MERIT Recipient

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Dr. Ahmad Naser SarmastDr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast 

Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast, a recipient of the Honorary Membership Award of the Royal Philharmonic Society of the UK, is the Founder and Director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). A visionary cultural leader and figure of, Dr Sarmast is an advocate for music education and strong believer in the power of music as a force in bringing about social changes, transforming lives, and connecting nations and civilisations. This belief led him to establish in 2010 ANIM, a music school that within a short period of time became one of the most influential educational and cultural entity of the country widely known internationally for its unique mission and vision.

A winner of distinguished alumni award of Monash University, and an Honorary Fellow of the National College of Music, London, Dr. Sarmast received his PhD in Music from Monash University, Australia in 2005; his MA in musicology/ethnomusicology from the Moscow State Conservatorium in 1993; and his Bachelor Degree in performance and music education from the same school. He has been conducting research on music of Afghanistan since 1993, resulting in the landmark book A Survey of the History of Music in Afghanistan. His research areas also include music of North India, Central Asia, and Iran. His other publications include “The naghma-ye chartuk of Afghanistan: a new perspective on the origin of a solo instrumental genre,” and “Ustad Mohammad Salim Sarmast: a 20th century composer, and the first symphonic score of Afghanistan.” 

Dr. Sarmast is an inspiring keynote speaker who spoken and continues to speak at important international music and arts conferences and congresses around the world. Sarmast has received many accolades, including the International Music Council (IMC) Musical Rights Award, the David Chow Humanitarian Award, and the Education Award of the Government of Afghanistan. In 2013 he was a finalist for Australian of the Year, and was named “Person of the year” by Radio Azadi, RFE/RL. In 2014 Dr Sarmast received the Charles Ansbacher Music for All Award and was honoured to receive a Monash Univeristy Distinguished Alumni Award. Recently Dr Sarmast has been humbled to receive the Asia Game Changers Award from Asia Society and Cultural Heritage rescue Prize from Priorita Cultura, Italy. He is subject of many media reports including the feature documentary Dr Sarmars’s Music School. 

Dr Sarmast has been the victim of a targeted suicide bombing for the work he has done in Afghanistan in reviving and protecting musical traditions of this country, ensuring musical rights of Afghan children, promoting gender equality and coeducation in music and promoting musical diversity in this war torn nation. In the face of such adversity, Dr Sarmast tenacity and determination has not faltered and continues to grow to the dismay of extremist forces.  

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