Iraq's academy of peace and politeness

The former embassy, abandoned by Nigerian diplomats shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is now home to the Academy of Peace through Art, a school created under the umbrella of Iraq's national Symphony Orchestra. Its aim is not only to teach music but also to revive what founders of the school believe many young people lost during the last six years - good manners.Every day, dozens of teenagers with different backgrounds learn that boys should open doors for girls and the art of dinner party conversation. For many of them, the centre is an escape, a welcome break from the reality of living and surviving in Baghdad. "We offer space, teachers, the instruments and a chance to be exposed to a bit of civilisation, something that everyone in Iraq deserves," says Karim Wasfi, the energetic director of the orchestra and founder of the centre.

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