Greg Mortenson, Co-Author of Three Cups of Tea to Speak at Augustana
SIOUX FALLS - Greg Mortenson, co-author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller, Three Cups of Tea, speaks at Augustana on Sunday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Elmen Center.
Mortenson’s presentation, Journey of Hope, is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization Mortenson co-founded in 1996.
Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
Augustana’s New Student Seminar is sponsoring Mortenson’s visit. This one credit hour course is designed to facilitate a successful transition to college in general and to Augustana in particular. Students are required to read Three Cups of Tea for this course.
The book’s title comes from a Balti proverb: The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time, you are an honored guest. The third time, you become family.
Three Cups of Tea, co-authored by Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, describes Mortenson’s transition from a mountain climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since its founding, the Central Asia Institute has built more than 70 schools in remote areas of the two countries.
Mortenson is also founder of Pennies For Peace. The non-profit organization’s purpose is educating American children about the world beyond their experience and shows them they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time.
Mortenson, the son of Lutheran missionaries, grew up on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. He attended Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minn., and served with the U.S. Army in Germany. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an associate degree in nursing.
In 1993, to honor the memory of his deceased sister, Christa, he attempted to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain. After more than 70 days on the mountain, Mortenson and three other climbers completed a life-saving rescue of a fifth climber that took more than 75 hours. After the rescue, Mortenson began his descent of the mountain and became weak and exhausted. He ended up in Korphe, a small village, where he recovered.
To pay the people for their compassion, Mortenson said he would build a school for the village. He convinced Jean Hoerni, a Silicon Valley pioneer, to found the Central Asia Institute. Its mission is to promote education and literacy, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hoerni named Mortenson the organization’s first executive director.
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