Friday, April 9, 2010

Why I Will Be Attending Greg Mortenson's Webinar Next Week

I have been a fan of Greg Mortenson's work ever since reading, with millions of others, the best selling (100 Weeks on the New York Times bestseller charts and a recommended read on my website)
Three Cups of Tea. Edutopia will be hosting Greg's webinar on April 15th at 1:30 EDT. entitled "The Power of One: Greg Mortenson's Crusade to Promote Peace through Project Learning."
There are so many things to admire about Greg--his single minded effort after he was rescued in a mountaineering accident to build a school in the remote area of Afghanistan for girls, in part to pay the villagers back for their kindness and in part because he was so moved by the plight of these children who were otherwise destined for some terrible lives. As an aside we should be in a war not against terrorism per se (how can you fight a brutal tactic) but against fundamentalist mindsets that kill hope and opportunity for the majority of human beings on the planet. What more stirring cause to awaken the young and idealist among us than this cause in Afghanistan and in the rest of the world where women and others are unjustly oppressed? But getting back to Mortenson's great qualities--he also sees the need to reconnect his work to young children back in the US as a recent article in Edutopia states:

"Mortenson hasn't forgotten that it was children who raided their piggybanks to make the first sizeable contribution to his effort in 1994. "I had been having trouble raising money," he recalls, and was growing disheartened about ever making good on his promise to build that first school. But when he shared his saga with kids in Wisconsin where his mother was then a principal, they responded by contributing "62,340 pennies," Mortenson says. It was just the vote of confidence he needed."

Also commendable is the Pennies for Peace program

"Launched in 1996 as a program of Central Asia Institute, Pennies for Peace has expanded to include a standards-based, multimedia curriculum for grades K-12. (See below, "How to Participate in Pennies for Peace.") Although fundraising is an important part of the program, it's not the main goal. At heart, Pennies for Peace is about cross-cultural understanding -- learning to listen, and learn, from others' stories."

Altogether Greg is a modern hero, teacher and good soul--so that is why I will be listening to him on the Webinar next week.