“Three Cups of Tea” Author Greg Mortenson Brings His Cause—Schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan—to Chicago

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Three_Cups_of_Tea.Jacket_smallIf your book club somehow overlooked the bestselling “Three Cups of Tea” phenomenon, here are the Cliff Notes: Philanthropist and adventurer Greg Mortenson believes that improving literacy is the secret to achieving peace in war-torn, terrorist-laden countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Whether or not you read or were inspired by Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, there’s a chance to contribute to Mortenson’s organization, the Central Asia Institute, and learn from this renowned philanthropist coming up: CAI’s annual gala, “Promoting Literacy … Promoting Peace,” takes place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare on April 3.

Mortenson, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has built more than 135 schools serving more than 50,000 children in Central Asia, will speak about his recently released second book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In this first-person narrative, Mortenson picks up where “Three Cups of Tea” left off in 2003, recounting his relentless, ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan; his extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005; and the unique ways he has built relationships with Islamic clerics, militia commanders, and tribal leaders, even as he was dodging shootouts with feuding Afghan warlords and surviving an eight-day armed abduction by the Taliban.

Stones_Into_Schools.Cover_smallAt the gala, he will share his broader vision to promote peace through education and literacy, as well as touching on military matters, Islam, and women—woven together with personal stories of the people who have been involved in this two-decade humanitarian effort.

Reviewing “Stones into Schools” in The Washington Post Book World, Jay Mathews wrote, “Few new books are as well-timed as ‘Stones Into Schools.’ Mortenson is the author of the most popular recent account of a part of the world at the center of American foreign policy. His views will influence how voters react to President Obama’s efforts in Afghanistan.” (Read the full review here).

NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw has called Mortenson “one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, who is really changing the world.”

To learn more about the Central Asia Institute, visit ikat.org.