Greg Mortenson and children
Image courtesy Central Asia Institute.

Greg Mortenson with Sitara (Star) schoolchildren in Afghanistan.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Humanitarian Greg Mortenson to Address IWU Community

August 20, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Greg Mortenson, the co-author and subject of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling book Three Cups of Tea, and founder and executive director of the Central Asia Institute, will speak at the President’s Convocation at Illinois Wesleyan University at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 9, in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall.

The annual Convocation ceremony is focused on the campus community as it celebrates the start of the academic year.  The general public is invited to view the Convocation via remote at the Hansen Student Center (300 E. Beecher St., Bloomington).

Mortenson’s book about his efforts to build schools for children in poverty-stricken areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has sold 3 million copies and been published in 34 countries, was chosen for the 2009 Summer Reading Program for Illinois Wesleyan first-year students.  Co-authored by journalist David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea was named a Time Magazine Asia Book of The Year, won the Kiriyama Prize Nonfiction Award, and has spent 120 weeks on the bestseller list since its release in 2007.

CAI Logo
Image courtesy Central Asia Institute.

Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute has successfully established 130 schools since its inception in 1996, providing education for more than 51,000 students, with an emphasis on girls’ education. Mortenson said he returns to the areas the U.S. State Department has declared highly dangerous for Americans because he believes education is the key to peace. He states, “If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.”

Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw referred to Mortenson as “one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, who is really changing the world.” For his efforts, Mortenson has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Star of Pakistan (the highest honor the country bestows on a civilian), the Rotary International Paul Harris Award for Promoting Friendly Relations Among People, a Golden Fleur-de-lis Award from Commune Firenze in Italy, a Freedom Forum Free Spirit Award from the National Press Club, and the Vincent Lombardi Champion Award for humanitarian service.

For questions or more information, please contact Director of University Communications Sherry Wallace at (309) 556-3181.

Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960