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Mortenson, author of 'Three Cups of Tea,' to speak on campus March 1

Greg Mortenson
GREENVILLE, NC   (Feb. 18, 2010)   —   Greg Mortenson, internationally renowned humanitarian, bestselling author, and co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, will speak at East Carolina University on March 1 as part of the Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series in the College of Business. His presentation is titled "Promoting Peace through Education."

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Minges Coliseum at ECU.

Mortenson's well-known book, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time," recounts his journey that started with a failed attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, and ended with successfully building schools in remote regions of Central Asia ‒ work that he continues today. The book has sold 3.6 million copies, been published in 41 countries, and been a New York Times bestseller for three years since its 2007 release. He is also author of the new bestseller, "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs," which takes up his story where “Three Cups of Tea” ended.


“Three Cups of Tea” by Mortenson and David Oliver Relin was chosen as the “The Pirate Read,” summer reading selection for first-year students arriving at ECU in August 2009.

Karen Smith with ECU’s First Year Center said the committee chose the book based on its message of compassion, leadership and globalism.

During his visit to ECU, Mortenson plans to meet with N.C. Teaching Fellows and Maynard Scholars to talk about his work.

"We are excited to welcome Greg Mortenson to ECU. His mission of creating peace through education is extremely relevant to current world events," said Smith.

For more than 15 years, Mortenson has advocated education and literacy in rural parts of the world. In 1996, he co-founded the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports community-based education in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. To date, Mortenson has established more than 130 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools have provided education to more than 58,000 children, including 48,000 girls, where few educational opportunities existed before. He also founded Pennies for Peace, an international service-learning program with tens of thousands of participants around the globe.

For more information about Mortenson and his educational mission, visit his Web site.


The Cunanan Leadership Speaker Series is made possible by a gift from alumni Steve and Ellen Cunanan of Richboro, Penn. Matching funds are also provided by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation. The series brings distinguished leaders to Greenville to speak on topics highlighting leadership, professional development, ethics, and the role of business in modern society.

Mortenson's visit is also supported by the ECU Parents Council, ECU Student Affairs, ECU's First-Year Experience Program, ECU N.C. Teaching Fellows, and Maynard Scholars.


Individuals with disabilities requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at (252) 328-6799 (V) or (252) 328-0899 (TTY).