Fairfield University Convocation to be addressed by Greg Mortenson, author of "Three Cups of Tea" and builder of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan


 

"Three Cups of Tea" author’s talk to be simulcast in the Quick Center

Greg Mortenson, who has motivated many people, especially children, to join him in his quest to build schools, primarily for girls, in dangerous and remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, spoke to a capacity crowd in Alumni Hall on Friday for the annual Convocation for freshmen. The response to the news that he would be speaking on campus brought requests for tickets from Hartford and beyond and resulted in the university decision to simulcast his talk in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts for the overflow crowd.

Among those attending was a sixth grad class from Thurgood Marshall School for Social Justice in Bridgeport, whose teacher is Mary Nelson, a 2008 graduate of Fairfield University who has been reading Mortenson's book, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Vision to Promote Peace," to the children. In response to the book, the children have launched a "Pennies for Peace" campaign and wrote letters which they presented to Mortenson.

Watch Professor Paul Lakeland's exclusive interview with Greg Mortenson, best-selling author of Three Cups of Tea


 

Image: Greg MortensonGreg Mortenson, who has made his life's work the building of schools, primarily for girls, in dangerous and remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, will speak at the Fairfield University Convocation for freshmen on Friday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. in Alumni Hall. Mortenson's journey into a mission he never could have anticipated is recounted in the best-selling book, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time." All incoming freshmen were given the book to read this summer.

A nurse by profession, Mortenson attempted and failed the dangerous feat of climbing K2, the world's second tallest mountain. The disappointing end to his venture in 1993 left him dangerously ill, and the people of the small Pakistani village of Korphe took him in and sheltered him for seven weeks. In gratitude, Mortenson promised to build the impoverished community's first school, a project that has resulted in more than 50 schools being erected across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In a letter to the Class of 2012, telling them about the freshman summer reading program and Greg Mortenson's book, Fr. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., university president, said, "Engagement with the issues Mortenson raises in his book is a part of who we are as a Jesuit, Catholic university." College years, he said, "are a time to grow in understanding, sympathy, and compassion for people who are different from us. Greg Mortenson and this book can serve as a bridge to coming to terms with 'the other.'" Among those attending the lecture will be a 6th grade class from the Thurgood Marshall School for Social Justice in Bridgeport. Their teacher, Mary Nelson, is a graduate of Fairfield University, who during her days as a student was active in post-Katrina activities and immigration issues.

Greg Mortenson has won over a lot of skeptics since he first embarked on this seemingly impossible quest. His book, co-written with David Oliver Relin, has won rave plaudits, including being named Time Magazine's Asia Book of the Year, where it was called an "Astonishing tale of Compassion - and of promise kept." Tom Brokaw has called it "one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time ... it's proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world."

The first-year students are just beginning their education at Fairfield University where the study of globalization, social justice, and the need to interact with others in the world are all important components of the curriculum.

A limited number of tickets are available to the event. Those interested should contact Maureen Mauri at mmauri@mail.fairfield.edu.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 26, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 34