Posted by blk1 on 18th January 2008
I just finished the book. I didn’t want to, but I had to move on. What now? I just can’t pack a bag and join on in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but I could visit the website and find a place to send an online donation without much pain. Something, and that’s the answer. Education! As I finished the book, I found my way into the kitchen as Tuvia was watching the Bill Moyers Journal with journalists and historians who were condemning Bush for his kissing up to the Saudis for all the money they’ve been siphoning into their country at out expense. OIL. What has Bush done to move us to alternative fuels? Why would he want to with his “friends” in the Middle East. Are they our friends too?
And what money does Greg Mortenson get from the government? None. He won’t accept money from the government. And does the government care what he’s doing? Damn, I hope some people do.
|Greg Mortenson (bio as of October 2007)
Greg Mortenson is the co-founder of nonprofit Central Asia Institute www.ikat.org, Pennies For Peace www.penniesforpeace.org, and co-author of New York Times bestseller ‘Three Cups of Tea’ www.threecupsoftea.com which has been a bestseller for over nine months since its release and was Time Magazine Asia Book of The Year.
Mortenson was born in Minnesota in 1957. He grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (1958 to 1973). His father, was a founder of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) www.kcmc.ac.tz a 480 bed teaching hospital, and his mother founded the International School Moshi www.ismoshi.org
He served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Cold War (1977-1979), where he received the Army Commendation Medal, and later graduated from the Univ. of South Dakota (1983), and pursued graduate studies in neurophysiology.
On July 24th, 1992, Mortenson’s younger sister, Christa, died from a massive seizure after a lifelong struggle with epilepsy on the eve of a trip to visit Dysersville, Iowa, where the baseball movie, ‘Field of Dreams’, was filmed.
In 1993, to honor his sister’s memory, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the Karakoram range.
After K2, while recovering in a local village called Korphe, Mortenson met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand, and made a promise to help them build a school.
From that rash promise, grew a remarkable humanitarian campaign, in which Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote education and literacy, especially for girls, in remote, volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As of 2007, Mortenson has established over 61 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 25,000 children, including 14,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before.
His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, he survived an eight day armed kidnapping in the Northwest Frontier Province NWFP tribal areas of Pakistan, escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory. He has overcome two fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured CIA investigations, and also received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim children with education.
Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, government officials and tribal chiefs from his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls.
He is one of few foreigners who has worked extensively for fifteen years (spending over 65 months) in the region now considered the front lines of the war on terror.
His cross-cultural expertise has brought him to speak on Capital Hill, D.C. think tanks, the Pentagon, Dept. of Defense, libraries, outdoor groups, universities, schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, business and civic groups, women’s organizations and more. From March 2006 through 2007, he has visited over 110 cities to talk about his message of peace through education.
NBC newscaster, Tom Brokaw, calls Mortenson, “one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, who is really changing the world”.
Congresswoman Mary Bono (Rep – Cali.) says, “I’ve learned more from Greg Mortenson about the causes of terrorism than I did during all our briefings on Capitol Hill. He is a true hero, whose creativity, courage, and compassion exemplify the true ideals of the American spirit.”
Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, and the D.C.-based Freedom Forum, says “Mortenson doesn’t just climb mountains. He moves them, and through his courage, he gives hope and has changed the lives of thousands of children in a region of turmoil considered the front lines of the war on terror”.
Mortenson advocates girls’ education as the top priority to promote economic development, peace and prosperity, and says, “you can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won’t change”.
While not overseas half the year, Mortenson, 49, lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, Dr. Tara Bishop, a clinical psychologist, and two children.
Book tour, reviews and media on www.threecupsoftea.com
Central Asia Institute website www.ikat.org
Pennies For Peace website www.penniesforpeace.org