Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Musical Bridges in Lebanon

For more than 10 years the Norwegian Academy of Music has been a dedicated partner in the development of a project for musical and cultural bridge building in Lebanon, with Lebanese communities and Palestinian refugees.

An anthology of experiences has recently been published in the book Løft blikket - gjør en forskjell, "Look Beyond - Make a Difference," describing the development of the project and the Academy's involvement since its beginning in 2002.

What is the Lebanon Project About?

The Norwegian Academy of Music's role in the Lebanon Project involves creating music activities in Palestinian refugee camps, aiding the establishment of Music as a curriculum subject at several Lebanese schools, and offering music therapy for children with special needs.

Providing educational resources and methods to local music teachers in Lebanon is also an important part of the project, and researchers and graduate students from the Academy contribute to educational development through several research and development projects. For many of the Academy's students, the Lebanon Project has become an important arena for field work and teaching practice.


The Lebanon Project is a collaborative project run by the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), the FORUM for Culture and International Cooperation, and the Norwegian Academy of Music, with Jessheim Upper Secondary School and Algarheim Primary School. These Norwegian partners facilitate and contribute to a larger network for international solidarity work, aid, health care, cultural exchange, and education.

In Lebanon the project operates in connection with the Palestinian organisation Beit Atfal Assumoud, which runs culture and health centres in the 12 Palestinian refugee camps. Other local contributors include the Imam Sadr Foundation, a health and education organisation based in Tyr, the Maarouf Saad Sosial and Cultural Foundation in Saida, and Shohour Public High School. NMH also collaborates with the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music.


  • Today, approximately 100 children and youth receive weekly music training in Palestinian refugee camps
  • 7 Palestinian musicians have been employed as music teachers in the Lebanon Project
  • 3 Lebanese schools have implemented weekly music classes in their curriculums, for approximately 1500 children each year
  • 2 Lebanese musicians have been employed as music teachers at these schools
  • At a department for children with special needs music has been implemented as an important part of the teaching programme, and teachers are trained in how to use music in their work
  • An upper secondary school has implemented Music as an elective subject, which became a popular choice among students; 39 out of 250 enrolled this year
  • More than 180 hours of Art Education training has been provided to approximately 35 Palestinian and Lebanese teachers, contributing to increased musical and cultural activity in schools, kindegartens and community organisations
  • 106 students and 9 teachers from the Norwegian Academy of Music have travelled to Lebanon and participated in the Project in various ways. Their efforts have been focused on:
    • music education practices
    • music pedagogy in development work
    • musical community activities
    • music Presentation and Concert Activities
    • cultural exchange
    • community-music activities
    • ethnomusicology
    • music and health and music therapy
Children performing with musical instruments

Look Beyond - Make a Difference

In the recently published anthology Løft blikket - gjør en forskjell, "Look Beyond - Make a Difference," diverse descriptions of working in this Muslim community offer an engaging account of the project's development since 2002. The anthology enhances themes within a range of cultural encounters, exchange, music performance, and music as method in health work.

The book also explores the Lebanon Project from a research and development perspective, as well as the Academy's Student Practice Programme in Lebanon, and the development of music education materials for children and youth, and training of Lebanese and Palestinian music teachers.

The Academy's involvement and motivation for contributing in foreign aid projects is discussed, with particular emphasis placed on the effects of local music teacher training and advancement of the Music Therapy research field in Norway.

The book shows how the project has attempted to "look beyond and make a difference" for children, youth, students, teachers, researchers, parents and others concerned with children's right to cultural experiences.

The editors, Vegar R. Storsve and Brit ågot Brøske Danielsen are both associate professors of Didactics at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Contributing authors are: Even Ruud, Kim Boeskov, Signe Kalsnes, Geir Johansen and Ingrid Maria Hanken.

To order a copy of the book, please contact the Academy.

Libanon film: "Music Pedagogy at the Norwegian Academy of Music" by Norges musikkhøgskole on Vimeo.

The Future

We hope and believe that the Lebanon Project in the future will contribute to increased focus and awareness of community building in music education. This work is strengthened by a socially conscious student community and an emphasis on participation in cultural involvement with marginalised groups.