New Levant Initiative – Revitalizing the shared Levantine identity

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



Theme 1

Movement I


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

Featured Project: Levant Carta

NLI supports the Humanities Research Center (HRC) at Rice University and their sustainable, multi-tiered, and data-driven Levant Carta initiative. The Levant Carta is dedicated to the production of a cartographic platform that will bring together scholarly networks and enable the production of temporally accurate and illustrated maps of Levantine cities. For this initiative, the HRC will interconnect a series of activities, meant to act as bridges across disciplines, schools, and universities both in the US and abroad.

The Levant in the News

October 3, 2018 Mahmut Bozarslan / Al-Monitor

Diyarbakir book fair returns after 4-year hiatus

Diyarbakir book fair returns after 4-year hiatus

Over the weekend, Elazig Street, which leads to the Diyarbakir Fair and Congress Center, was filled with cars and pedestrians — possibly reminding an onlooker of the happier times for the region more than a decade ago, when large crowds gathered on this road to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year. But, this time, the crowds — families, young […]

October 2, 2018 Mada Masr / Peter Holslin

Egyptian audiovisual collective reimagines live performance

Egyptian audiovisual collective reimagines live performance

For a long time, many thought of the worlds of music and visual art as discrete fields — seen as industries unto themselves with distinct histories, audiences and quirks. Gallery spaces stood in contrast to nightclubs, and the interests of art collectors were seen as worlds away from the everyday music fan. That is not […]

September 28, 2018 Dominic Lutyens / FT

Lebanese designers tap into local crafts

Lebanese designers tap into local crafts

Lebanon’s designers have long faced adversity. They receive no government funding, there have been few platforms to showcase contemporary design, and the Lebanese population has shown little interest in it. One resource for designers has been the country’s strong crafts tradition, particularly in Tripoli, where handcrafted copper is a speciality. These skills were once passed […]

September 5, 2018 Rupert Hawksley / National

Egypt is awarded Main Prize at London Design Biennale 2018

Egypt is awarded Main Prize at London Design Biennale 2018

The Egyptian installation, Modernist Indignation, was curated by Cairo-based architect Mohamed Elshahed and is described by the London Design Biennale as “an elegy for a rapidly disappearing culture, seen through the prism of the first Arabic design magazine”.

September 4, 2018 Joshua Levkowitz / Al-Monitor

Entrepreneur brings blueberries to Lebanon

Entrepreneur brings blueberries to Lebanon

Lebanon’s ecosystem is a regional anomaly. Unlike most of the Arab world, there is no desert, and cedar trees grow along dewy mountaintops. Talal Nassereddine, an agro-businessman who hails from the same fertile mountains as Lebanon’s famed cedars, has introduced another anomaly to the area: the North American highbush blueberry.

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