Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Three Cups Of Tea - One Man's Mission To Promote Peace


Today there was an article in LA Times Travel Section about Celebrity Travel. It mentioned Clay Aiken and referenced his visit to Afghanistan. Berkeley blogged about Clay's April 2007 Unicef trip to Afghanistan drawing attention to critical needs of children in Afghanistan. In that blog, there is a quote from Clay:

"As a former teacher I recognize that spark of hope and excitement all children possess when given the opportunity to learn," said Aiken, who spent five days traveling between Kabul and Bamyan in the central region of Afghanistan. "Rebuilding schools, training teachers, providing essential supplies and teaching materials are just some of the advances UNICEF and its partners have made to keep that hope flourishing.".

I was reminded of an amazing book I read a few months ago, Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. Reading this extraordinary true story reminded me of what Clay has stressed about the importance of providing a means for education and it's deep-rooted connection to hope.

Three Cups of Tea
tells the story of Mortenson's unsuccessful 1993 attempt to climb K2 and how his recovery in the small Pakistani village of Korphe led to a promise to come back and build this impoverished town's first school. The book's central theme derives from the Baltistan proverb, which says "the first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time, you are an honored guest. The third time you become family." Coauthored with David Oliver Relin, the book chronicles the journey culminating in the establishment of the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed hundreds of secular schools that are educating thousands of tribal Muslim children throughout a war-torn region. The most effective way to fight terrorism, according to Mortensen, is to educate children and give them a future, and help them rebuild their villages that have been shelled into oblivion over the last couple of decades. As the book continues to a post-9/11 world, the authors present a case for the United States to fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls.

But the book is also an adventure story. A love story. And a remarkable read.

One of the programs central to the CAI is Pennies For Peace, which "educates children about the world beyond their experience and how they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time. It teaches children the rewards of sharing and working together to bring hope and education opportunities to the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A penny is virtually worthless, but in impoverished countries a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.".

There are many teachers in the Clay fandom - check out their website and see if perhaps your students might benefit from seeing how they can become positive change agents half-way around the world.

Watch Greg Mortenson talk about Three Cup of Tea for Borders:

Nelson Mandela
once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." Greg Mortenson's story is proof that ordinary people can indeed truly change the world.

Technorati tags:


claycherie said...

Thanks for the information about Three Cups of Tea. It sounds like a fascinating and insightful book. I will order it from the library. Can't wait to ead it! I loved the Kite Runner and the other one.

Ashes said...

Excellent blog. I have read "Three Cups of Tea", a great book.

Anonymous said...

I read Three Cups of Tea and found it
to be an amazing story and very
inspirational. Education is the key!
Thanks for highlighting Clay Aiken's work and the work of Greg Mortenson.