Image - image from film
Past Event

Escaping Afghanistan: Two Girls’ 'Symphony of Courage'


The documentary Symphony of Courage tells the story of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and its brave founder, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast. Challenging the Taliban’s ban on secular music, Sarmast joined forces with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and others to evacuate his students, including the all-female orchestra Zohra, to Portugal. The film follows Farida and Zohra Ahmadi, two pre-teen girls and the last ANIM students to be evacuated from Afghanistan.

Join us for a special screening of Symphony of Courage followed by a conversation about the film and how Afghanistan’s musical heritage is being kept alive.


Photos courtesy the speakers.

May 31, 2023

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Beth Mendelson

Beth Mendelson

Documentary Filmmaker and Executive Producer at Voice of America; Director, Symphony of Courage

Image - Pedro Perestrelo Pinto

Pedro Perestrelo Pinto

Consul General of Portugal in San Francisco

Image - Ahmad Sarmast

Ahmad Sarmast

Founder and Director, Afghanistan National Institute of Music (participating via Zoom)

Image - Janine Zacharia

Janine Zacharia

Lecturer, Stanford Department of Communication; Former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, The Washington Post