Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Three Cups of Tea

"Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business: first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything."

No act of charity is without criticism, but Greg Mortenson's work is quite an inspiration and Three Cups of Tea is a valuable read for anyone's book list.

One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ...

As of 2008, Mortenson has established over 78 schools in the volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 28,000 children, including 18,000 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 animal hides in a truck en route to a leather-tanning factory. He has endured CIA investigations, and also received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim children.

... One School at a Time ...

Mortenson is a hero to rural communities of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of community leaders, military commanders, government officials and tribal chiefs from his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls in the region now considered the front lines of the war on terror.

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.”


  1. This is on my reading list for a current project I am doing on peace-seeking via ed tech - any other recommendation on the topic would be greatly appreciated!

  2. There's a moral purpose to education I hope, and this man's work is truly about building educational systems where there has been years and years of neglect and where frustrations and anger have been allowed to foster. I couldn't imagine how to even begin the work he's done, but I draw inspiration, and one day would like to support similar work.

    You might already know this, but Greg Mortenson is Minnesotan!

  3. very impressive... I think the military have done a lot of damage there. And im afraid the british were not too tolerant of the Afghani way of life...

  4. ... all the more reason that a state with a sense of security can begin to develop upwards through a grassroots education programme ...

  5. Grassroots is a good choice of words!

  6. Yes, the book is definitely a must-read! Not just for non-Afghans but for Afghans as well because we can be inspired by it to help our people. It's sad that we have come to a point where we're depending on the help of others and cannot help our own selves.

    God bless Mortenson (and all others like him) for caring about a people who have been neglected for a time untold! We owe him a lot.

  7. Dear Qrratugai,

    It is a shame that we come to depend on others, but you know whilst there are people with clearly suspicious intentions, there are also some friends out there.

  8. As well as wanting to discover more of my roots. I was also inspired by Three Cups of Tea to help build a school and make some sort of positive contribution towards eduction in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. Greg Mortensons follow up book Stones into Schools takes the journey much further adding Kashmir to his portfolio.

  9. Ramon Jan,

    Salaam - What people like you and Greg Mortenson are doing is great.

    We often talk about the "moral purpose" of education - and this is a fitting example - bringing opportunities to people who otherwise would be without. I find this so inspirational.


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