Author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson spoke in Chattanooga recently, recounting the heartwarming story of his efforts to improve the lives of children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortenson is known for raising money to build schools, and his award winning book has inspired many.
“By coincidence, if you believe in them, Education About Asia had already scheduled a review of Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea in our fall issue before we learned that the author would be in Chattanooga,” said Dr. Lucien Ellington, Co-Director UTC Asia Program and Editor of Education About Asia.
Education About Asia is an international teaching journal created to inform teachers and undergraduate professors, published by the Association for Asian Studies. Louise Nayer, Professor of English at City College of San Francisco, served as the reviewer for Mortenson’s book.
Mortenson “wanted desperately to reach the summit of K2 in Pakistan’s Karakoram mountain range to memorialize his sister, Christa, by leaving her necklace at 28,267 feet…Though he did not make it to the top, her kind spirit and life of struggle guided him. When he was found, near death, and brought to the village of Korphe, he witnessed the extreme poverty and grave medical problems of the villagers. These villagers, who had next to nothing, gave him endless attention, food, and drink,” Nayer writes.
Mortenson’s book, co-written with David Oliver Relin, describes his personal journey and how he kept his promise to build a school in the village, the first of many educational opportunities he has created in this part of the world.
“Three Cups of Tea can be successfully used in both high school and college English and history classes,” Nayer said.
Last year, the book moved students at Girls Preparatory School to raise nearly $60,000 in one week to build a new school for girls in Pakistan. “I congratulate GPS for assisting in internationalizing our community through sponsoring this acclaimed author. I am delighted as well to discover that other area schools are having students read Mortenson’s book.”
Students in Charles Newell’s Advanced Placement English Course at Notre Dame High School read Three Cups of Tea over the summer. Eleanor Thompson, a junior in the class, said the book appealed to a large range of students because of the message.
“It shows that anyone can make a difference in our world. I enjoyed this book and was moved by what Greg Mortenson has accomplished for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson’s building of schools gave these children a chance, the chance for an education and a bright future of peace that comes with the knowledge, tolerance, and understanding of different nations,” Thompson said.