Friday, November 23, 2007

NBC Today Show (11-20-07)

Excerpt: ‘Three Cups of Tea’
Nov. 20: TODAY’s Ann Curry reports on Greg Mortenson, who has dedicated his life to giving girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan a better future by building them schools.

For the complete story please visit:

NewJersey Fundraiser a Huge Success (11-10-07)

11-10-2007, New Jersey, -A fundraiser for CAI and was tremendously successful as it raised $264,000 to benefit the charity. This event was sponsored and organized by the American-Pakistani community and spear-headed by a local couple, Sumeera and Zahid Baig. The Robbinsville High school entrance hall where students mill, socialize, exchange notes and notice each other fashion oddities during the day was transformed in a splendid banquet Hall at night. Mortenson first had a book signing from which it was hard to tear away the 470 guests that were able to get a one-on-one time with the legendary author/humanitarian whose book has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for over 40 weeks.

"If you promote peace, that's based on hope," Mortenson said, "The real enemy is ignorance because it's based on hatred." The book's title, Three Cups of Tea, refers to the measured progression of becoming a trusted partner with people in developing areas. With the first cup of tea, you're a stranger. With the second, you're an honored guest. With the third, you're family." Mortenson then spoke of his journey from the peaks of K-2 to the pinnacle of humanitarianism in front of the hundreds of spectators where one could have heard a pin drop. In simple lyrical sentences punctuated by a slideshow of his voyages, the unassuming American hero who has been called a real Indiana Jones retold his story. Mortenson explained, "There are 145 million children without education because of slavery, gender discrimination, religious intolerance and corrupt governments. It only costs $1 per month, per child to change that, roughly $6 to $8 billion per year."

In a region marked by tribulation, Mortenson's schools and projects have been triumphant by extending self-empowerment to communities, which leads to enduring life development. Before a project starts, he explained, the community matches Central Asia Institute project funds with equal amounts of local resources and labor. Such ownership ensures the project's viability and long term success. As he said, "When the Taliban was in power, only 800,000 kids were in school. Today more than 5 million children go to school -- and 1.8 million are girls. That's where we should be putting our money."

As Mortenson finished speaking, the captivated audience gave him a standing ovation. A school building now costs $50,000 and as the fundraiser ensued the checks cascaded in and a ticker on the screen tallied $264,000: the amount raised. All the proceeds will benefit Mortenson's Central Asia Institute and help sustain schools and build new ones.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

East Coast vs West Coast (11-03-07)

West Coast:
Three Cups of Tea supporters queue for hours in line for limited tickets for Cambridge Reads series on Nov 7 and 8th.November 8th talk at Sanders Auditorium, Harvard sold out in less than two hours (1,100 tickets) on Oct. 24th.This line, on Saturday, 11/3 at Cambridge library, is for the added 11/7 event at First Parish Church, Cambridge, and sold out also.
Photo: (c) 2007 Carole Feeney -Withrow, Cambridge Public Library

East Coast:
In response to sell out crowds in the West Coast, east coast 3CT and CAI supporters respond with equal enthusiasm Tickets (450) for New Jersey 11/10 fundraising dinner event sold out by 11/03.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Seattle Post Intelligencer interview with President Clinton (11-01-07)

Seattle Post Intelligencer interview with President Clinton
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Extracted from full interview on above website:

QUESTION (by Bob Marshall - P-I book editor):
(The book) "Giving" provides many examples of successful philanthropic efforts. Two from the Northwest merit special praise from you. ... I'm speaking of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute (that builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan). Talk about what you have learned from those two. What I admire about the Gates Foundation, is that they've not only put a massive amount of money into play, but they are directing almost all the money, virtually 100 percent of it, trying to remedy the world's inequalities at the moment, not only around the world, mostly in health care, and in America, mostly in education.... With Mortenson, I admire the fact that he had a big idea that he realized it was big because it could be replicated. He's the ultimate social entrepreneur ... a guy with a good idea, prepared to start small and stay with it as long as it takes to have a big impact and commit a lifetime to it. ... I admire he was able to encourage and tap people of exceedingly modest means to help him. ... I also admire he was working and was effective in an area where Americans are not popular, ... he was able to break through all that because he was able to relate to people as human beings ...
Please note: (c) 2007 Seattle P-I. All Rights Reserved

Three Cups of Tea selected for Rochester Reads (11-01-07)

Rochester Post-Bulletin (Rochester MN)
Three Cups of Tea selected for Rochester Reads
Thursday, November 1, 2007
By Christina Killion-Valdez

More than any other year of Rochester Reads, this has been the year that people want to know which book is in the lead.

Since the community began voting in June on which book Rochester will read, Katherine Stecher, chairwoman of Rochester Reads, has been careful not to give it away.

"People are coming up to me and asking who's winning?" she said.

Yet even before Mayor Ardell Brede announced the winner this morning in the city hall rotunda, one book had a clear lead, she said.

"Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations -- One School at a Time," a New York Times bestseller, has been a popular choice at the library all year. Book clubs have the book reserved through June, and the waiting list for single copies has been up to 30 people deep, Stecher said.

"I think people will be really pleased that this book won," Stecher said.

The book tells the harrowing journey of Greg Mortenson, a Montana resident, who helped build 58 schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The other books considered were: "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" by Atul Gawande, "Sweet Land: New and Selected Stories" by Will Weaver and "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" by Geraldine Brooks.

The books were selected for a variety of reasons, including good writing, a good story and being ripe for discussion, she said.

"Three Cups of Tea" however got twice as many votes as the other books and has sparked discussions across the country, Stecher said.

The book "does not make people into terriorists," she said. "It's trying to explain their culture in a sensitive way."

Discussions based on the book and cultural programs will be a big part of Rochester Reads events in February. Mortenson will speak to classes and at a public forum Feb. 11.

The book selected for junior readers looks at the same region of the world. "The Breadwinner" is about a girl living in Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban. Author Deborah Ellis is expected to visit Rochester as part of Rochester Reads.

(c) 2007 Rochester Post-Bulletin. All Rights Reserved. Used With Permission.