“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honoured guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.” Haji Ali
In his New York Times best seller, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson, a homeless American mountaineer, promotes peace through education, ‘fighting terrorism one school at a time’. His inspiring biography proves that when one door closes, another opens. Live life positively, be relentless, and transform failures and obstacles into new opportunities!
Mortenson discovers his life mission in 1993, when he becomes lost in the remote, dangerous mountain regions of Pakistan and nearly loses his life in a failed attempt to climb K2 (world’s second largest mountain). Rescued by impoverished villagers, Mortenson devotes his life to educating Muslim youth in secluded areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tijakistan. He learns that these regions’ youth are often overlooked by their governments and those lucky enough to attend school are often subjected to outdoor classes and writing their lessons in dirt. As men usually leave their families and villages to find work, Mortenson argues that the best investment for poor countries is in the education of girls. Educating and empowering women will lead to healthier, more sanitary, more organized and more stable societies.
“You can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads or put in electricity, but unless the girls are educated, a society won’t change.” – Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea deals with pre and post 9/11 and the various difficulties Mortenson encounters as an American in Pakistan & Afghanistan. By providing a free, liberal education for the Pakistani and Afghani youth, Mortenson creates an alternative to the extremist madrassas (free extremist Muslim education centres geared towards militancy) thus literally fighting terrorism through education.
Facing cultural and political tension and a severe lack of financial support, Mortenson discovers that terrorism is best opposed not through war, but rather through understanding, cooperation and education.
‘Education is the key to positive change.’
“The real enemy is ignorance.”
“Three Cups of Tea is beautifully written. It is also a critically important book at this time in history. The governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are both failing their students on a massive scale. The work Mortenson is doing, providing the poorest students with a balanced education, is making them much more difficult for the extremist madrases to recruit.” – Ahmed Rashid, best-selling author of Taliban: Militant Islam and Oil in Central Asia and Descent Into Chaos.
Mortenson has recently been criticized for his lack of organization and his finances in his Central Asia Institute charity.
Consider his humanitarian achievements! Mortenson brought inspiration and hope to countless Muslims, in remote regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikstan. He risked his safety and his life by working in extreme and dangerous Muslim areas during a time of severe tension and conflict. He revolutionized the lives of innumerable Muslims and their families by building and continuing to finance hundreds of schools (300 and counting) in nearly inaccessible, forgotten regions of Central Asia; thereby providing education and hope for a better life, because education is indeed the key to change!
Central Asia Institute www.ikat.org
Pennies For Peace www.penniesforpeace.org
Three Cups of Tea www.threecupsoftea.com
Stones into Schools www.stonesintoschools.com