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Hey, I Was Going to Blog About Three Cups of Tea!

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I'd been planning to recommend Three Cups of Tea, about Greg Mortenson's adventures in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to you for summer reading, but eduwonk beat me to it. Not very wonkish of them, is it, to get into the business of recommending books for summer free time?

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Anyway, it's the best book I've read that gives insight into the lack of education in rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it's good background knowledge for anyone in this country who has students in their schools from those countries. The book portrays Mr. Mortenson (he's a co-author with David Oliver Relin), a former mountaineer, as an unconventional hero who respects the customs and culture of tribal leaders and is able to convince them to work with his organization to build schools. Mr. Mortenson has gotten a fair bit of attention for how his efforts to build schools are a way to promote peace and fight terrorism. See the opinion piece, "It Takes a School, Not Missiles," that ran in the New York Times on July 13.

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I love the book Three Cups of Tea. In addition to the insights to rural Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is also a inspirational. Greg Mortenson decided to do something profoundly contributory and that decision has framed his life. Nothing about what he has tried to do has been easy either. So, I guess for me, it remains a constant lift to my spirits. The website is interesting and includes (or included) a link to a program Pennies For Peace.

I agree. This is a tremendous book, and a fascinating tale of one heck of a determined guy.

Among the lessons that I hope our policy-makers learn are the need to convey honest and deep respect for the languages and cultures of the peoples we intend to influence. Mortenson illustrates this beautifully.

To the dismay of some who want to join him in his mission, he requests that we send money, but stay home. More North Americans in the remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan are not needed right now. He seeks to empower local leaders and others indigenous to the region to take action.

The book has many messages we can use right here at home, too. Bravo!

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