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



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

March 15, 2019 David Tanis / New York Times

A Taste of Lebanon via Paris

A Taste of Lebanon via Paris

My introduction to Lebanese street food was at an outdoor market in Paris, when I had just moved there in the early days of the 21st century. As I would learn, Lebanese savory treats are common at Parisian markets, a great boon to the hungry shopper. You get to the market by 10 a.m., when everything is […]

March 13, 2019 Salwa Samir / ALM

Where Cairenes go just for laughs

Where Cairenes go just for laughs

Guffaws from the third floor of a large building echo along Adly Street in downtown Cairo on a cool March evening. The main hall at 9 Adly Street, a comedy club that takes its name from its address, is packed with people of all ages, sitting at tables or standing, laughing and chuckling at the familiar picture of daily life […]

March 7, 2019 Joseph Hammond / ALM

Lebanese architect blazes new path

Lebanese architect blazes new path

The selection of a design for the new Beirut Museum of Art building marks an important step forward for women in the Middle East and in the Lebanese cultural scene. In December 2018, the museum announced that the winning design was from WORKac, a New York-based firm co-founded by Beirut-born architect Amale Andraos. Andraos, currently the dean of the Columbia […]

March 7, 2019 Prospero Blog / The Economist

Vintage film posters show the Middle East as imagined by the West

Vintage film posters show the Middle East as imagined by the West

IN THE poster for “Abdullah’s Harem” (1955), a British comedy film, a man in a fez clutches strings of precious stones while 13 women in diaphanous bikinis pout and pose seductively. “You Know What Sailors Are” (1954), another British production, follows three inebriated officers who cause a major international incident and features three women dressed […]

March 4, 2019 Alasdair Soussi / National

Are we headed for a new ‘Golden Age’ of scientific discovery in the Middle East?

Are we headed for a new ‘Golden Age’ of scientific discovery in the Middle East?

In July 2020, the Emirates Mars Mission will launch its Hope spacecraft from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. Funded by the UAE Space Agency, the expedition will involve a rocket travelling about 60 millionkilo­metres from Earth to arrive at the Red Planet in 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. As far as scientific engineering, technique and […]

March 1, 2019 Salwa Samir / ALM

American University in Cairo celebrates centennial with gift of art

American University in Cairo celebrates centennial with gift of art

The American University in Cairo (AUC), founded in the aftermath of World War I in 1919, has over the years seen monarchs and military men come and go across Egypt’s political stage and stood witness to the Arab Spring and 2011 revolution as it unfolded outside its gates on Tahrir Square. This year, the institution, with a global ranking of 420thby QS […]

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