Greg Mortenson bigraphy, stories - Founders

Greg Mortenson : biography

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Greg Mortenson is an American humanitarian, professional speaker, writer, and former mountaineer. He is a co-founder and former executive director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute as well as the founder of the educational charity Pennies for Peace. Mortenson is the author or co-author of the New York Times Bestsellers Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In April 2011, he was accused of fabrication in his non-fiction books and of financial improprieties at his charity, Central Asia Institute.

Published works

Notes

K2 and the promise to build a school

As described in his first book, Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson stated that he traveled to northern Pakistan in 1993 in order to climb the world's second highest mountain, K2, as a memorial to honor his sister Christa's memory. After more than 70 days on the mountain located in the Karakoram range, Mortenson and three other climbers completed a 75-hour life-saving rescue of a fifth climber. The time and energy devoted to this rescue prevented Mortenson from attempting to reach the summit. After the rescue, he began his descent off the mountain and set out with local Balti porter Mouzafer Ali to the nearest city.

According to the account in Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson stated he took a wrong turn on the trail and ended up in the small village of Korphe. Physically exhausted, ill, and alone at the time of his arrival there, Mortenson was cared for by some of Korphe's residents while he recovered., with Terry Gross, National Public Radio (NPR), February 7, 2002Elizabeth Bumiller. . The New York Times, July 17, 2010. As a gesture of gratitude to the community for their assistance to him, Mortenson said he would build a school for the village after he noticed local students attending school in an outdoor location and writing out their lessons in the dirt. Mortenson has since stated in a 2011 interview that the timing in the Korphe account in Three Cups of Tea is inaccurate and that the events actually took place over a longer period of time and during separate trips. Also in contrast to what is written in Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson is purported to have initially promised to build a school in Khane village, but was convinced to build a school in Korphe by the village leaders.

Advice solicited by US Military in Afghanistan

Due to attention paid to Mortenson's books first by their wives, US military leaders in Afghanistan sought Mortenson's advice on how to work with the elders of local Afghan communities since 2007. Seeking his knowledge on dealing with Afghan elders, the military has also included Mortenson as an active participant in meetings between the elders and US military commanders. He has not, however, accepted any payment for his services, nor does he have any contractual or other formal relationship with the US military.

Criticism, allegations, responses, and lawsuits

Criticism

In regard to Mortenson's management style at CAI, Nicholas Kristof has said that Mortenson is "utterly disorganized," and added, "I am deeply troubled that only 41 percent of the money raised in 2009 went to build schools." As a deeper look into Mortenson's business dealings, British journalist Jonathan Foreman wrote in a 2008 Daily Telegraph story that CAI's success is due in part to Mortenson's use of intuition and that he makes decisions at the last minute. Foreman further wrote that Mortenson is habitually late for meetings but that the combination of those traits works well and is important to the success of his work in the Balti region of Pakistan. Baltistanis have no tenses in their language, are vague on their timekeeping, and make their own decisions largely based on intuition.

Allegations

On the April 17, 2011, broadcast of CBS News' 60 Minutes, correspondent Steve Kroft alleged inaccuracies in Mortenson's books Three Cups of Tea and its sequel, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as financial improprieties in the operation of the Central Asia Institute. In particular, CBS News disputed Mortenson's claim that he got lost near K2 and ended up in Korphe; that he was captured by the Taliban in 1996; whether the number of schools built and supported by CAI is accurate; and the propriety in the use of CAI funds for Mortenson's book tours. 60 Minutes asked Mortenson for an interview prior to their broadcast, but Mortenson did not respond to their requests.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine