Afghan Women’s Orchestra “Zohra” Launches Tour at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos

22 Dec 2016

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211; Email:

· World Economic Forum invites Afghan Women’s Orchestra “Zohra” to perform for the Annual Meeting Closing Concert in Davos

· Musicians are students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) founded by Ahmad Sarmast and operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan

· Performances in Switzerland and Germany will take place in collaboration with local youth orchestras in the spirit of intercultural dialogue through music

Geneva, Switzerland, 21 December 2016 – The Afghan Women’s Orchestra “Zohra”, and the Swiss youth ensemble, the Orchestre du Collège de Genève, will perform at the Closing Concert of the World Economic Forum 47th Annual Meeting on 20 January 2017 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. After the Annual Meeting, the ensembles will travel and perform together in Zurich and Geneva. In Zurich, the orchestras will be hosted by the prestigious Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich. In Geneva, reflecting its spirit of fostering cultural exchange, the Centre for the Arts of the International School of Geneva will open its doors to produce fully six concerts, including four for school-children, reaching more than 1,600 public and private school children. “Zohra” will then travel to Berlin and Weimar in Germany to perform with students of the Musikgymnasium Schloss Belvedere. The tour aims to create and promote intercultural dialogue.

The orchestra comprises 30 girls between the ages of 14 and 20 who are studying at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and the first women in their families, community and country to learn music in over 30 years. The tour includes the country’s first female conductors, Negin Khpolwak and Zarifa Adiba. This is happening in a country where women have borne the brunt of over three decades of war. “The courage and leadership that these young women demonstrate is humbling. It will be an honour to host them,” said Nico Daswani, Head of Arts and Culture for the World Economic Forum.

Through music, ANIM is providing an important and revolutionary outlet and hope for hundreds of Afghan children regardless of their sex, ethnicity, religious sect or socio-economic circumstances. Girls and boys who learn to work together through music develop respect and understanding, which is crucial to overcoming gender barriers and bringing about peace and stability in the country. One of ANIM’s primary commitments is to empower girls through music. From its inaugural days in 2010 to the present, the enrolment of girls in ANIM has risen to 65 out of a total of 200 students. The Afghan Women’s Orchestra “Zohra”, led by an inspiring female conductor, Negin Khpolwak, was formed in 2016.

Tour Schedule

All concert proceeds will be distributed to the ANIM.

January 19, Davos (CET)

12.30 to 14.00 Leadership Beyond Borders: The Afghan Women's Orchestra "Zohra"

Special Performance with Q&A, Open Forum. Webcast live at

16.00 to 16.30 Press Conference, Media Village. Webcast live at

18.00 to 19.00 Artists on the Frontlines: Fighting the Taliban with Music

A Conversation with Founder, Ahmad Sarmast and Afghanistan’s first female conductors, Negin Khpolwak and Zarifa Adiba. Aspen 2, Congress Centre. Webcast live at

January 20, Davos (CET)

17.30 to 18.00 Closing Performance

Congress Hall, Congress Centre. Webcast live at

The participation in Davos of the Afghan Women’s Orchestra is made possible thanks to the generous support from Intesa Sanpaolo.

January 21, Zurich (CET)

Concert, 19.30, Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich
Tickets: Claridenstrasse 7, 8002 Zurich, Tel: +41 44 206 34 34

January 24 and 25, Geneva (CET)
Concert, 20.00, Centre for the Arts, International School of Geneva

January 29, Berlin (CET)
, 20.00, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, Free entrance

January 31, Weimar (CET)
, 18.30, Großer Saal des Musikgymnasiums Schloss Belvedere, Free entrance

Project Partners

The tour is made possible by the collaboration of several partners including the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, the World Economic Forum, the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, Intesa Sanpaolo, the International School of Geneva, the Service Cantonal de la Culture de Genève, the Orchèstre du Collège de Genève, Mr. Elyass Nory, Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich, the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar, Minz GmbH, among others.

Notes to Editors

For more information about the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and to contribute to its efforts, visit

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