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

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

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

November 7, 2018 Giuseppe Mancini / Al-Monitor

Turkey caps off Year of Troy with new museum

Turkey caps off Year of Troy with new museum

A treacherous wooden horse, a blind Greek poet from Smyrna, a thrilling archaeological rediscovery — Troy is an essential component of Europe’s cultural memory and imagery, both as history and as literary myth.

November 6, 2018 Agence France-Presse

Egypt struggles to restore Cairo’s historic heart

Egypt struggles to restore Cairo’s historic heart

Workers perched on scaffolding delicately repair Cairo’s 13th-century al-Zahir Baybars mosque, a vital restoration project in the Egyptian capital’s neglected Islamic quarter. Halted by the popular protests that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the ensuing political and economic turmoil which enveloped the country, restorative work on the Mamluk-era mosque picked back up last […]

November 1, 2018 Orhan Pamuk / New York Times

‘I Like Your Photographs Because They Are Beautiful’: Remembering Ara Guler

‘I Like Your Photographs Because They Are Beautiful’: Remembering Ara Guler

Ara Guler, who died on Oct. 17, was the greatest photographer of modern Istanbul. He was born in 1928 in an Armenian family in Istanbul. Ara began taking photographs of the city in 1950, images that captured the lives of individuals alongside the city’s monumental Ottoman architecture, its majestic mosques and magnificent fountains. I was […]

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