For decades now, even from far away, even if one otherwise knows nothing about it – the charged symbolic power of its name has given this city a special significance. The reasons for this kind of charge, the extremes between cosmopolitanism and civil war, between tolerance and religious dogmatism, between a new beginning and a downturn appear to have been more graved into the work of the artists of this city, of this country, than we could imagine. This is something one can learn from, on which one can sharpen one’s own artistic, socio-political, aesthetic perceptions and at the same time, allow solidarities to grow.

The symbolic power of the name: A generation in the West has grown up hearing of Lebanon as the Switzerland of the Near East. For the following generation, everything had changed: at the end of the 70s, the New York Times reported on the catastrophic conditions of its own educational system with the headline “The Beirut of Education”. The name of the city had become a synonym for disaster. And when, on short notice in 2006, open warfare broke out again , the generation of artists living there reacted with anger, despair or both. Even sarcastically, as the illustrator and musician Mazen Kerbaj on whose weblog one may find the now famous entry to a downloadable mp3 file: “Starry Night, a minimalistic improvisation by mazen kerbaj / trumpet and the Israeli air force / bombs. recorded by mazen kerbaj on the balcony of his flat in Beirut, on the night of 15th to 16th of July 2006”.

With particular regard for the work of those artists living and working there and also for the work of those who are engaged in the creation of an infrastructure of culture and arts, Beyrouth - "The Beirut of Education" aims to reinterpret the odious dictum of the “Beirut of Education” into an education for us, into the possibility of learning from the artists of this city through their art. 

To come to terms with the radical work of the artists of this city, to bring this work to other cities, to set it in relation to artistic work going on in other cities, mainly addresses artistic interests, curiosity, goals. But the work of these artists is, at its core, charged with directness of the life-experiences reflected in it. Indeed, there is something more that can be read from it, ultimately to learn from it, than simply experiencing categories of just “art” or “music”.