Inaugural Event of Presidential Speaker Series
SPOKANE, Wash. – Greg Mortenson, an international educator, humanitarian and author of The New York Times’ best-seller “Three Cups of Tea,” will visit Gonzaga University next month as the inaugural lecturer in the annual Presidential Speaker Series. Gonzaga President Dr. Thayne McCulloh invites the Gonzaga community and the Inland Northwest to be inspired by the compelling story of how one person can make a difference in the world.
Mortenson will discuss, “Promoting Peace Through Education,” from 7-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 28 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Tickets are $10 for the public, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students and employees of any educational institution. Tickets are available now online; Mortenson’s talks have sold out all over the country so be sure to buy them soon.
President McCulloh said he is pleased the University was able to secure Mortenson’s visit to Gonzaga given he is in the United States for only approximately six months of each year.
“His story of promoting peace through building schools, especially for women, in Afghanistan is amazing. Mortenson has become a valuable adviser to the U.S. military, given the esteem in which he is held by the Afghan people,” Dr. McCulloh said. “The proceeds from this event will go to support his school-building efforts.”
Mortenson’s dedication to educate girls as a way to empower communities resonates strongly with Gonzaga’s mission. So far, Mortenson has established or significantly supports 171 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools educate more than 68,000 children, including 54,000 girls, in places where few if any educational opportunities previously existed.
Mortenson’s personal experiences led him to pursue social justice in Central Asia. In 1993, Mortenson set out to climb K2 in Pakistan, the second-highest mountain on earth after Mount Everest, to honor his sister’s memory. On his way down the mountain, facing fatigue and delusion, Mortenson recovered from the climb in the village of Korphe. While there he was stunned by a group of children using sticks as pencil and sand as paper. Then and there, he vowed to help them build a school.
Mortenson is now co-founder and director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of the education charity Pennies for Peace. With the CAI, he has fulfilled his promise to promote and support community-based education by successfully partnering with tribal leaders in remote locations of Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan to build schools.
In 2009 Mortenson published a second book “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace Through Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”