August 25, 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

The world is sadly aware of the events in Afghanistan and of the danger faced by women, girls, journalists, and all those who helped the Americans during the war. Less visible is the danger faced in Afghanistan by musicians of all ages, and the Taliban’s history of denying the human right of access to music and music-making. 

A number of stories have started to appear in the media outlining the terrible dangers faced by Afghan musicians. These articles have focused on the closing of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, an organization with which the League of American Orchestras has a relationship, and whose musicians have inspired global audiences:

National Public Radio
New York Times
Wall Street Journal (Opinion)
Thomson-Reuters (Video)
Associated Press

A natural response is “How can we help?” The League has asked that question of itself, too, and is actively engaged with music organizations worldwide working to support music rights for the people of Afghanistan.

In the short term, there are three main ways that individuals and organizations can help: 

  1. Learn more about the young musicians of Afghanistan by visiting anim-music.org
  2. Help spread the word through your communications channels of the plight of Afghan musicians by reposting articles such as the ones above. Please tag with these hashtags on social media:


  3. Donate to “Friends of ANIM,” the official US-based nonprofit organization supporting the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) at this link, and ask others to do the same.

    All donations go to securing the safety of the school and student body during this uncertain time. 
    About ANIM: A 501(c)(3) non-profit, the institution provides unparalleled music education to youths of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, establishing music as a human right and sharing the rich cultural history of Afghanistan with the next generation.

Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast, Founder and Director of ANIM, is tremendously grateful for the outpouring of support, and has said this: 

“I ask for us to work together to ensure that ANIM and other Afghan musicians will have their musical rights respected and the freedom to continue to share their unique cultural heritage with music-lovers around the world.  

“ANIM is committed to ensuring the musical rights of Afghan children, promoting musical diversity in Afghanistan, transcending cultural ethnic, religious and gender barriers, and transforming the lives of Afghan children.  

“Music education and performance is vital in rebuilding a war-torn country and contributing to the establishment of a just and civil society.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and for whatever help and support you can provide at this time. We hope to have further news shortly on ways you can help. 

With best wishes, 

Simon Woods

Simon Woods
President and CEO
League of American Orchestras 

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