Back in May we wrote in this blog about the work of Dr. Greg Mortenson, author of the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea which has been translated into many languages. After being rescued by villagers in northern Pakistan following a failed attempt to climb K2 in the Himalayas, Dr. Greg promised to repay the village by building a school for its children.
This decision became the turning point in his life and Dr. Greg went on to head a foundation that has built more than 100 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in areas where Islamic fundamentalism is firmly rooted and most Americans are viewed as enemy infidels. He has been able to persuade all but the most conservative local mullahs of the benefit of educating their daughters as well as their sons. And he has done it with respect for local religion and customs. No fights about hijabs here, just a clear conviction that the best way to combat terrorism is with books, not bombs.
For those who, like me, read Three Cups of Tea and were totally blown away by what Mortenson has been able to achieve, you should know that a sequel will be coming out next month. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Viking, 2009, ISBN: 0670021156) focuses in particular on the Central Asia Institute's expansion into Afghanistan and even contains a foreword by famed Afghani writer Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns). Pre-order your copy now from your favorite bookseller.