Designation ceremony of Mr Naseer Shamma as a UNESCO Artist for Peace

When :

from Thursday 23 February, 2017
to Friday 24 February, 2017

Type of event :

Special Event

Where :

UNESCO Headquarters, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75007, Paris, France

Contact :

Fuad Pashayev (

The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova will designate the famous Iraqi musician and oud player Naseer Shamma as a UNESCO Artist for Peace.

Born in 1963 in Kut, Iraq, Naseer Shamma is a musician internationally known for being one of the world's greatest oud virtuosos as well as a music composer for numerous films, theatre productions and television shows.

A graduated of Baghdad Music Academy in 1987, Naseer Shamma taught oud at the Tunisian Higher Institute of Music between 1993 and 1998, and served as Director of the Arab Oud Center in Cairo. A multi-talented musician, he has participated in several international concerts and festivals of music and poetry, which contributed to revive interest in the oud accompanying poetry.

All along his career, he has hosted various Iraqi television and radio shows, and the founder of many bands including “Al-Bayareq” in 1986. He plays also an important role in the rapprochement between the Orient and the West by collaborating with legendary European and American musicians and composers such as the American trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. He is the composer of various albums such as: Qisset Hob Sharkiya (Oriental Love Story) released in 1994, Hissar Bagdad (The Baghdad Embargo) released in 2000 and Pneuma released in 2011.

Famous for playing the oud with one hand, Naseer Shamma has developed this technique in order to allow the injured children of the Gulf War to play music. A stunning creative artist, he manufactured an eight-strings-oud according to a manuscript of the Arabic philosopher Al-Fârâbî, dating from the 9th century. This new instrument increased the Oud musical range as well as produced a specific tone.

Mr Shamma received numerous awards for his contribution to promoting and advancing Arabic music all over the world: the Best Adagio Award in Iraq in 1986, the Best Artist of Iraq in 1994, the Decoration of the Royal British Academy in 1998, the Medal of the Taha Hussein Museum of Egypt in 1998, the Prize of the 1st edition of the International Festival of Istanbul for all his musical works in 2010, The Stars Festival Awards in Alexandria in 2010, the Gusi Peace Prize in the category "Performing Arts" in 2012.

Naseer Shamma is currently the director of the "Arab Oud House" in Cairo, an institution he founded in 1999. He is also renowned for his commitment to peace, especially by targeting youth during his musical performances.