(Central Asia Institute) Greg Mortenson with students in Sarhad village in remote northeastern Afghanistan in 2006. It takes 30 hours' driving time over mountain trails to reach here from Kabul. These are the first children to attend school in the region.
"Three Cups of Tea" Author Offers Advice
DECEMBER 04, 2009Marcia Stepanek, MSNBCNonprofit activist Greg Mortenson, co-author of the 2006 international best-seller "Three Cups of Tea," knows firsthand about the challenges of nation-building in Afghanistan, and he’s got some advice for the Obama administration: Open your ears more to the locals, or risk shooting yourselves in the boots.In interviews this week, Mortenson, 51, the former K-2 mountain climber-turned-philanthropist whose nonprofit Central Asia Institute has established 130 schools and promoted girls' education in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan, urged the U.S. to include input from Afghani tribal elders in the Pentagon's expanded military effort in the region, or risk failure.Mortenson is someone the military's top brass listens to — and has often consulted with. "Three Cups of Tea" has become required reading for U.S. commanders and troops deploying to Afghanistan, making Mortenson a valued but unofficial adviser to the Pentagon. Mortenson's follow-up book, "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs," was released Monday.Marcia Stepanek interviewed him on the first day of his book tour. Read the full interview here: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34238313