What difference can one person make?
Three Cups of Tea, this year's Common Reading selection for new students, chronicles how mountain climber Greg Mortenson has changed the lives of 28,000 school children (of which 18,000 are girls) in his quest to bring education to Pakistan's and Afghanistan's rural villages. He has established more than 78 schools and vocational centers in areas rife with political discord.
Mortenson's account is of how descending K2, the world's second highest mountain, he lost his way in 1993 and by happenstance found a small village of Korphe in the remote Karakoram region of the Himalayas. As a parting promise in response to the villagers' generosity, he promised to return and build a school. It took over 580 letters, building a bridge across the rugged terrain but eventually his first school was built.
But others heard what he was going to do for Korphe and wanted a school for their villages, too.
In his role as co-founder of the Central Asia Initiative, other facilities have been built. His story told through Three Cups of Tea has remained the number one book on the New York Times bestseller's list since its release in January 2007 and has earned numerous award, such Time Magazine Asia Book of The Year honors.
The campus community will have the opportunity to hear his first-hand account when he delivers the keynote address for Convocation at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 26, in Severance Hall. Mortenson's appearance will be his first in Ohio.
Three Cups of Tea is a riveting adventure story that is filled with an inside look at life in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. The humanitarian scaled his own personal peaks as challenging as K2 in his mission. He has put his life on the line by being kidnapped by the Taliban and caught in the cross fire of snipers as he forged ahead and was unstoppable in the obstacles before him.
"I've learned more from Greg Mortenson about the causes of terrorism than I did during all our briefings on Capitol Hill," said Congresswoman Mary Bono (R-California). "He is a true hero, whose creativity, courage and compassion exemplify the true ideals of the American spirit." Former NBC Nightly News Anchor Tom Brokow describes Mortenson as "One ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, who is really changing the world."
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.