Welcome to the New Levant Initiative

The New Levant Initiative exists to recapture and reinvigorate the unique Levantine identity, shed a light on the roots of enlightenment and culture, and create momentum for the New Levant – one that is empowered with its cultural and historical achievements.

Learn more about us

What is the Levant?

The Levant means ‘where the sun rises’: the eastern Mediterranean Levant is a geographical word, free from associations with race or religion. It is defined not by frontiers but by the sea.

Author: Philip Mansel
Was Salonica a Levantine City?

Learn more about our history

NLI Inaugural Conference Recap

The conference reflected on the Levantine identity, as captured throughout history, art, architecture, music and cuisine, as well as the history of cosmopolitanism and commerce that enabled this vibrant culture to thrive. Panelists who share Levantine heritage examined its influence on their careers and lives as well as gave testimony to the uniqueness of the Levantine identity.

The program was followed by an evening concert performance with the original composition, Levantine Symphony N°1, by Ibrahim Maalouf.

See the full event recap

Upcoming Events:

Levantine Symphony No. 1

Composed by Ibraham Maalouf

The New Levant Initiative was honored to present distinguished trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf in the world premiere of his impassioned composition, Levantine Symphony N°1.

Learn more about the symphony

Prelude

Overture

Theme 1

Movement I

Projects

NLI is proud to support projects and institutions that bring about initiatives, tools, and experiences to further educate the public about Levantine arts, culture, and history.

See all projects

The RAND Corporation recently released their report on the substantial benefits of economically integrating the Levant through a comprehensive free trade agreement. Their independent research assesses these promising potential outcomes from more partnerships between Levantine governments. Along with the report, RAND has also created an interactive online calculator for policymakers to examine these benefits using different scenarios and partner countries.

The Levant in the News

September 23, 2019 Harry Seymour / Art

Ancient Palmyra’s painted lady brought back to life

Ancient Palmyra’s painted lady brought back to life

Harald Ingholt, a Danish archaeologist, was on his third campaign of excavations at Palmyra, in present-day Syria, in 1928, when his team unearthed a half-length portrait of an unknown woman made between AD190 and 210 in a tomb dubbed Qasr Abjad. Her sumptuous jewels and pearls and swathes of luxurious fabric led him to pronounce her […]

September 18, 2019 Joe Gill / Middle East Eye

Shakespeare, museums and Baghdad

Shakespeare, museums and Baghdad

On the first day of rehearsals for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Museum In Baghdad, writer Hannah Khalil looked around the studio at the big cast. All but two were – like herself – of Arab descent. “It was an emotional moment,” says the Irish-Palestinian dramatist. “I felt really proud, because that’s what I wanted […]

September 16, 2019 Sam Brennan / ALM

Beirut photo festival offers analogue experience in digital age

Beirut photo festival offers analogue experience in digital age

“Everyone has a phone. Everyone sees hundreds of images a day,” Ibrahim Dirani, project manager of the Beirut Image Festival (BIF), told Al-Monitor. “We have integrated this culture, but we don’t link it to an image that we stand in front of and really look at.” BIF, which runs Sept. 5 through Oct. 5 in different locations in Lebanon, seeks to […]

September 14, 2019 Mostafa Fathi / Raseef 22

The 500-Room Jewel in Egypt’s Crown

The 500-Room Jewel in Egypt’s Crown

It is one of Egypt’s most beautiful palaces – if not the most beautiful of them all – with 500 rooms and several museums home to important national treasures. It’s Abdeen Palace, inarguably the “jewel of royal palaces” in Egypt. Abdeen is located meters away from the Mohamed Naguib metro station. Built on an area […]

September 13, 2019 Lisa Morrow / ALM

Rich Ottoman recipes grace Istanbul tables

Rich Ottoman recipes grace Istanbul tables

Istanbul has long ignited the imagination of travelers, writers and historians. Minarets pierce the skyline, the call to prayer echoes off the clouds and the tantalising smell of food dances on the waves of the Bosporus. With a culinary tradition going back hundreds of years, visitors aren’t short of choice — from street food to restaurants […]

September 13, 2019 Aimee Dawson / Art

Middle East think-tank opens art gallery in Washington, DC

Middle East think-tank opens art gallery in Washington, DC

The Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington, DC, a non-partisan think-tank, is to inaugurate a new art gallery showing works by contemporary Middle Eastern artists on 14 September following a major renovation of its headquarters. The 1,200 sq. ft space near Dupont Circle will put on up to five exhibitions a year, including travelling shows, […]

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