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Inspiring Greg Mortenson in St. Louis Friday

Debbie Monterrey
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Greg Mortenson and a few of the thousands of kids he's helped in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Greg Mortenson and a few of the thousands of kids he’s helped in Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Changing the world one school at a time. Greg Mortenson, whose book “Three Cups of Tea” has inspired millions, will speak at the St. Louis County Library Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. I’m honored to emcee the event.

sis11 Inspiring Greg Mortenson in St. Louis Friday

Mortenson’s latest book is called “Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs.”

Every time I would run into a friend of mine, she would ask me, “Have you read ‘Three Cups of Tea’ yet?” After more than a year of this, I decided I’d better just do it so she’d stop bugging me. Now I get it.

Greg Mortenson didn’t set out to change the world, but he may be one of our greatest assets when it comes to fighting terrorism and anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a lesson the U.S. government could learn in trying to win the hearts and minds of people in those regions.

Mortenson was lost after a disastrous attempt to climb a mountain. He was taken in by a village in Pakistan. Seeing their generosity to him in spite of their extreme poverty, Mortenson vowed to return and build a school for their children.

To date, Mortenson has built 145 schools in mostly rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He’s been awarded the Sitara-e-Pakistan, the “Star of Pakistan,” the country’s highest civilian honor, for his humanitarian efforts. He’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

His efforts show how one man really can make a difference and how people are people, despite whatever conflicts our governments may be involved in.

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