Changing Minds and Policy Through Cultural Diplomacy

Afghan women’s orchestra Zohra at the World Economic Forum

Jessica Lustig by 21C Media Group

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Session 3

Chaired by Jessica Lustig (US), managing director, 21C Media Group, Inc.

with Ahmad Sarmast (Afghanistan), founder and director, Afghanistan National Institute of Music

Nico Daswani (UK/Switzerland), head of arts & culture, World Economic Forum

Death threats and suicide bombs are a fact of daily life for Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul. His “crime”? Heading a co-educational school where children learn Western and Afghan music and girls can go to school after the age of 13. Meet a real-life musical hero who fights every day for the musical rights of children and the return of the rich Afghan musical tradition which was eradicated when the Taliban forbade all music in the 1990s. Dr. Sarmast is joined by Nico Daswani, head of arts & culture at the World Economic Forum and moderator Jessica Lustig, managing director of 21C Media Group, who together will highlight the groundbreaking performance of the “Zohra” Orchestra in Davos in 2017, as an example of the positive effects of cultural diplomacy in helping to challenge cultural norms and change attitudes around the world.