CAI Shining Lights – Diya
Multi-media testimony and words of support
Over the years CAI has received many words of encouragement, support and thanks. These are the “lights” that have given us the ambition, motivation and drive to meet the challenges of our mission. In Urdu, Diya means lantern. These lanterns are lit for hope and light on special occasions. We hope you too find inspiration from these Diyas.
This is Hannah of New Smyrna Beach, I am in the sixth grade and I am 12. I am a dancer, artist and gifted student. I have recently read your book Three cups of tea for a book report in my reading class. I enjoyed it very much! It was so interesting to me what you do and how you do it. You are a true inspiration. Thank you.
May 15, 2013
Having just read an article in the Christian Science Monitor re the plight of women and their opportunity for schooling, I am moved to check in with you. The website is grand and gives lots of good information—-and hope. Keep up the good work!
May 11, 2013
I am Ali from Pakistan, a student at Virginia Tech. I want to say Thank You for spreading education and knowledge in Pakistan.
March 29, 2013
Journey of Hope is inspiring. The photos and maps are amazing. I wish David Starnes and all the team the very best in your demanding and wonderful work.
February 6, 2013
Thank you Greg Mortenson for the initiative you took to get all of this going…..thank you for staying at it through thick and thin…. thank you for raising the bar for people in Central Asia and for inspiring so many of us to step up to the plate….. Thank you to all at CAI who have caught the vision and continued to care…. The world is a better place with all of you in it. Thank you.
February 6, 2013
Peace be upon you and all of your families and loved ones as well! Keep up the good work, and may all good, health, ease, safety, wisdom, light etc be brought to you and may you be protected from any harm seen or unseen. Love to all.
Wobbe (The Netherlands)
February 6, 2013
Thank you for taking the time write the book “Three Cups of Tea.” I homeschool my three children and we just recently finished the book. My children and I have never been impacted as much as we have from your book. Not only are you educating children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, you are educating those of us in you own “village.” We learned more from your books than we could ever have learned (or that I ever could have taught) from a text book. It is truly a living book and one that has changed our lives forever. Thank you for not only impacting and helping those in need overseas, but also helping those of us in the States.
December 1, 2012
In the middle of Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”, Rob speaks to a story in which, upon being unable to get into a house where Jesus is dinning and healing, friends of a sick man tear off the roof to lower their friend into the midst of the home. It is a story which reminds me of Greg and his friends (of which I count myself as one): tearing-off the roofs in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to let in Love and Learning. And in Marcus Borg’s “The Heart of Christianity”, Professor Borg speaks to the modern Western mind’s obsession with “literal-factual truth” in which, when we ask “Is that story true?”, we forget that in the rest of the world (and in our own pre-Enlightenment history) the “more-than-literal” meaning of the story is what we really want to know. And that story is that Greg, alone initially, and then with a growing group of friends, followed his heart’s desire and committed to building relationships and schools in places where those things were extremely needed. To Greg, his beautiful family, and you, the staff at CAI (worldwide), I send my love and money. And to “60 Minutes” and a certain author, both of who’s future works I will boycott: SHAME on you. Because you do understand the meaning of “story”, but pretend you don’t.
I’m more than half-way through this book and am so beyond impressed words don’t suffice. I just read a quote someone posted on FB, “If you believe, it will happen,” by Juan Rodriguez, and Greg’s sister popped right into my mind and said, “If you build it, they will come.” And I imagined all those children heading into the classrooms. Thank you, Greg, and all of your support people, for being you, for representing humanity in such stellar fashion.
Greg, thank you so much for all you do! Your integrity is unsurpassed. I met you in New Jersey and gave you a video about autism and vaccines relating to your dear sister, Krista. I saw you bow and kneel before the school children. If our world had more true leaders like you, there would be peace on earth.The media machine is lost because they are incapable of leading, but only follow orders to manipulate and confuse the public. The awakening masses know where to go for the truth. This is because we are truthseekers, questioning everything, everyone and especially who profits from the “news”. Go get ‘em, Greg!
My respect for CAI and Greg grows everyday because of your exceptional dedication and performance. You will prevail. We will always support you.
Please count me in as a supporter of the work Greg M. is doing on behalf of the world. Our country needs people like him who care, who take themselves to places we won’t go, and help people we don’t do anything for. He and his family have sacrificed beyond anything any of his detractors would consider. They deserve vacations in Hawaii, and anything and anyplace else they wish to go. He will prevail and they will be shown to be focusing on their own fears instead of his great works.
Dear all at CAI,
Just to say that I have worked at a good number of UK charities over the last 30 years and have seen how painful the changes can be from start-up with a charismatic and passionate individual leader to a multi-million pound (dollar) concern; in particular the need for changes in structure, management, auditing and – often with great personal pain – a reduction in the leadership role of the original person who gave life to the organisation.
We would all wish that for CAI this transition had been less public; but it was almost certainly necessary. CAI will be all the stronger for it and an organisation of which I hope Greg will remain enormously proud.
My very best wishes to you all for the future.
Congratulations on the final resolution of the Montana Attorney General’s investigations. Greg Mortenson and CAI have always had the benefit of my doubt and my continued financial support. Obviously, the work of Greg Mortenson and CAI is vital in the lives of so many and must continue the basic fundamental mission of education. May the issue be laid to rest and may Greg Mortenson, CAI and supporters bounce back stronger, wiser and more determined than ever to continue the mission. Best wishes and regards to all of you and your loved ones.
I don’t care what anyone says- for an American white man to go into a war ravaged area, where Americans are so distrusted, and create some of the most beautiful things like schools and job training areas, I’m sorry. No one can shake my faith in the CAI and Greg Mortenson. He’s a great guy, great heart. He has inspired me to believe that knowledge is power, and that we are all entitled to that.
Keep your head and spirits up, sir!
After reading the AG’s report, I feel much better about the news report I heard on The News Hour (PBS) that Greg Mortenson must pay $1 million back to CAI for money he got from the sale of his books. I was initially very heartbroken to hear that, but now believe that with Greg’s new position he will be able to concentrate on what he is best at. Obviously, financial/legal matters are not his forte and he does not use best judgment in these areas. But, he has inspired many and created more good will than probably all our military has in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, I look forward to more good work, more girls educated, and better relations between the US and the countries Greg serves because of his work.
Thank you for sharing the AG’s report on your website!
I never doubted your sincerity or CAI’s effort to help woman and all people who have so little in this part of the world. I am sending my contribution/gift and will contribute a duplicate gift every month for 2012. I am sorry it is not much, but it is what I can afford at this time. Thanks for keeping me on your email list. I am concerned about Greg, is he doing alright? I hope he keeps the faith and keeps moving forward, we need him. I do not know why the accusations and negative publicity were made and quite frankly, I don’t care. We all make mistakes in life. It’s called being human and the trick is to ‘suck it up’ and move forward. Greg and CAI have done too many good things to give up and get depressed or give up. Whats done is done. There is a big world of needy people out there, and they need Dr. Greg and CAI. KEEP WORKING for those who have NO help or any hope of education and survival.
Hey Folks – just keep plugging away and don’t let the “naysayers” get to you!! Your work will be remembered as the only Western success story in the last 20 years in that region of the world…guaranteed.
I keep telling people not to listen to the “noise”, but focus on the results, achievements and dedication!!
You have far exceeded my expectations!! I received the package yesterday and I cannot thank you enough! My children were over the moon and both immediately sat down to continue reading Dr. Greg’s book. I recently started a Parent Resource Library in my children’s school that provides parents with a wide variety of educational resources on many issues. My son, Jacob suggested that I put the extra copy in the Parent Resource Library so we could continue to spread the works of Dr. Greg, which is exactly what I plan to do. I mentioned that I, myself am a teacher and I am currently running a Pennies for Peace program at my school. Upon receiving the package, my children suggested we start a Pennies for Peace program at their school as well. I can assure you that the time and resources that you have shared with my family will go a long way in spreading the message of the importance of education that Dr. Greg has put forth.
With sincerest gratitude!
Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I would first like to tell you that your story is incredibly inspirational.That, to me, is important because whether or not it is true, partially so, or false, you have the gift of inspiring those who read your work. I have never been so moved by the idea of educating Afghans and Pakistanis until i read your book, and you convinced me that education is the way – indeed, it could be the only way – to achieve true and lasting peace in the Middle East. If such a thing is possible, it will be due mostly to education.
Of course, as you know, your story has become quite controversial in the past few months. I want you to know that I stand behind you and your claims. In my opinion, 60 Minutes did not present a fair and balanced argument against you; it seemed riddled with biases from those that they interviewed, and I would not be surprised to learn that at least a few of them had a personal vendetta against you, for such was their seeming antagonism towards and resentment of your goals. Furthermore, I thought some of the show’s tactics were blatantly and unfairly trying to make you look guilty, such as the instance where they approached you at a book signing. It did not seem just at all for them to expect you to stop the signing just to answer a few questions – which, I suspect, was one of the reasons they chose to approach you there – and their use of it to try to make you look suspicious upset me. Also, I read your responses to 60 Minutes’ claims, and your arguments seemed altogether well-balanced and less biased than that of the television show.
This is an extremely important issue, not only for you and the Central Asia Institute but for the whole of the Middle East as well as the Western world. If the West can be convinced that education, particularly for girls, in the Middle East is the best way to achieve peace, many thousands of lives, both Western and Middle Eastern, will be saved because of the war’s end, and many millions more will perhaps not have to live with the devastating emotional consequences of such violence. Your story, required reading for some of the troops going to Afghanistan, had the potential to sway the world to belive with you in the utmost importance of education. These claims of 60 Minutes could destroy all of that – if they are found to be true. I hope and pray that they are not and that the world will side with you, for I believe that, if given the chance, you could continue to do much good in promoting peace in that turbulent area of the world. I stand behind you, Mr. Mortenson, as do many millions in the world; please do not let us down.
Sarah Wall, Class of 2012, Virginia Beach, VA
I am saddened and angered by the recent allegations against Greg Mortenson and Pennies for Peace. As you know I have been an avid supporter of Greg Mortenson and Pennies for Peace through my service learning work in the schools for the past 5 years. Having spoken to my connection at Central Asia Institute, the outreach coordinator, I think it’s the perfect time for us all to renew our support of Greg Mortenson and his wonderful work in the world! At a critical time when the world needs peace more than ever before, I applaud his efforts and vow to continue to support him. Please join me today in speaking out in a manner in which you are comfortable – whether it be a phone call, letter, email, FB support, speaking out against accusations, making a monetary contribution to his efforts or sending up a prayer….Thanks for doing your best! Practice Peace!
You are doing something truly wonderful. I wish you a lot of strength to deal with people not appreciating what you do. I admire your work and yours books, you create perspectives, hope and inspiration for a lot of people, not just in Central Asia. All the best for your operation.
Please do not be discouraged by the various accusations. It is always the case, when one does something, only then people can find faults. You have helped many in the remote areas, brought awareness about Afghanistan and Pakistan education systems. Your goal of getting the girls educated is so important and will be the only thing that will actually change that area’s perspective and decrease the violence when the mothers and sisters are educated. May you have Divine Grace to continue your work in peace.
Following the talk and controversy that has surrounded Greg Mortenson in recent weeks, I have decided to speak out about my own beliefs. I am an American seventeen-year-old high school senior, and while I was born in America, both of my parents were born in the northwest of Pakistan. I first learned about Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute when I was a freshman attending the North Shore Country Day School in suburban Chicago. Three Cups of Tea had been made a part of the high school curriculum, and Greg even came to speak at the school. After reading his book and hearing him speak, I was amazed by this American who had done such incredible work in my ancestral home despite the barriers of language, culture, and religion.
I feel it is important for me and for others to remember this sense of amazement and inspiration now, when accusations and controversy are threatening to destroy the work of Greg Mortenson and the CAI. Regardless of whether the accusations made by Jon Krakauer and others are true or false, Mortenson has done some incredible work in the past few years, and we should keep in mind that this man and this organization are at the forefront of raising awareness for education specially for girls in underdeveloped regions of the world. He is one of the few westerners actively promoting peace through education in the rural, war torn regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan and no amount of accusations or lack of them can change that fact. He has also inspired a countless number of young people to begin their own service work. I myself will be taking a gap year this coming fall in order to establish and build a girl’s school in Kangra, my ancestral village, which is located close to Peshawar in the northwest province of Pakistan. I know that without the example of Greg Mortenson to follow, I would never have had the courage or initiative to begin such an ambitious project. I offer my continued support to Greg Mortenson and the CAI, and urge you all to remain open-minded and clear-headed in the face of this controversy.
I firmly believe we may be shooting ourselves in the foot by participating in this blame-game. If Mortenson is discredited and his organisation shuts down, we will gain nothing. Instead, we will suffer great harm by the sudden loss in whatever funding we receive from the Central Asia Institute.
The Dawn News Blog, Pakistan.
Click Here for full article
If we wish to allege that we are educated, then we ought to be able to discern the important truths from the unimportant editing falsehoods. For John Krakauer to rank these alleged inaccuracies, not all of which are accepted as fact, as a “fraud” and for him to create the very storm from Mortenson’s alleged deceptions that he argues will sink the ship of childrens’ education, is itself unconscionable and must cause us to question his own book marketing objectives. For 60 Minutes to carry the story reveals more about that show’s standards and appetites than it does about the humanitarian cause of childrens’ education.
M. Salahuddin Khan
Author of “Sikander”
Click Here for full article
I have read the books’ Three cups of Tea’ and ‘ Stones into Schools’ and have donated copies to local Library. They provide incentive for promoting education in a country where rate of literacy is very low, and where the extremists are destroying schools. I am a Pakistani, living in Islamabad and have lived long years in neighbouring Rawal Pindi. I have traveled to and am familiar with Northern Areas. I am familiar with the places Mortenson has been to and has described in the books. He could not have invented or imagined all the details in the book. He has done noble job. Even if one believes in ten percent of what he has said, his contribution to the spread of education and service to humanity is monumental. We cannot thank him enough. People like him who serve humanity and do good should be eulogized and not condemned because then good deeds will be at a discount. Yes do check their accounts. As for the audit of his accounts let him explain and clarify. My very best wishes for Greg Mortenson and his team.
Ambassador (ret) Abbas Nazar
Along with being a father, my finest effort and most humbling honor is portraying Greg Mortenson in the one-man play, “Three Cups of Tea”.
Through 88 performance in 14 states, Washington D.C. and Canada, I’ve witnessed hundreds of moments between Greg and one other person, anonymous moments yet so true they took my breath away. Greg slows life down. He takes the precious time necessary to really connect meaningfully with another, to share “Three Cups of Tea”.
I grew up in Montana. I’m an Eagle scout. I’ve been a Wall Street/Park Avenue Republican and a Cater-waiter/Actor Democrat—Greg’s the most honorable guy I’ve ever met. Even over hot coals and glass, he walks his talk. We’re all learning that now.
Greg’s made heartfelt promises, not all he’s been able to keep. Who among us has? Yet the promises he’s fulfilled are relentlessly serving the highest needs of humanity and life on this planet.
Global literacy, empowerment of women, peace through education, books not bombs, girl power–Greg’s simple perseverance has saved thousands of lives, not only of newborn children and mothers–can you imagine the immense trauma relieved from a family, from the world, by preventing the death of one beloved child? It staggers the heart. The man brings a great hope and we all know it.
We are now surprised to find a human beneath our great and humble hero. Some of us respond to hope with envy and fear. The change Greg presents is fearful, yet without it we are nothing. The young people of America know this in their hearts. I see it in their eyes when they hear Greg’s story. A sea of hungry 15-year-olds, silent and alive. The women of this country, our life-nuturers and life-givers, they know Greg’s truth too. They feel it intuitively and have brought Greg’s hope from the obscure mountain-top into our book-groups, schools, churches, synagogues and mosques. They bring Greg’s hope into the minds of our generals, admirals, soldiers and President. They bring Greg’s hope to save life.
May God keep Greg Mortenson safe on his journey down this American K2. And may the women and children of America keep Greg’s hope alive and kicking.
With greatest respect,
“Three Cups of Tea”
I have followed your incredible work since first reading about it in an article in 2003 and reading your first book, Three Cups of Tea. I have also followed your humanitarian efforts in the news and through CAI’s website and newsletters and your sequel. I have long admired you for your unselfish dedication to fighting for peace where many others dare not venture, at great personal risk to yourself. In fact, as a college teacher, I regularly recommend your books to my English students and read aloud the section in which you describe the village children doing their lessons outdoors without a teacher. No student fails to be moved by that scene. I also continue to support CAI and your efforts. I believe in what you and your staff and the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are doing and I will continue to support you and the organization. I don’t get my news from television, so the broadcasts will have no impact on my opinion nor on my continued support. You are a blessing in this world and deserve to be lauded.
Thank you for sending me your update on current affairs. We send you our very best wishes and thanks for your continued important work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We do not watch 60 Minutes as a rule. We rather prefer to judge issues by reading info supplied direct from the entities we support coupled with info from Charity Navigator. org. Thus we take any sensational reports with a grain of salt.
Keld Agnar and Judy Ryerson
Greg has done so much real, verified, wonderful work helping people he’ll never meet and inspiring children to give instead of take.
I for one am a huge fan. Have been from the beginning. Will be until the end.
Hang in there…
Elizabeth Baker, CA
As a past elected official, I understand the contemporary mode of “hysterical journalism” and I am so sorry that you and your organization, that do so much for the oppressed women of Afghanistan are part of the journalistic mayhem to sell “news” in the USA. My prayers are with you for a prompt recovery and for the continued success of your organization. Met you in Huntington Beach a few years back.
Hi – I wanted to let you know that I have been a fan of CAI for several years and will continue to be one for several more. The entire organization is in my prayers constantly and the Lord continues to use you for good in the world. You know, I read the entire 9/11 Commission Report that came our from our government some time ago. Much of it was dry, but some parts very exciting. In the end, one of the major recommendations in a sustained effort to combat terrorism across the world was to start with 5 year olds in kindergarten and educate them. CAI knew this inherently from the beginning and I hope CAI will continue doing so for many years.
I have been on a few Boards and in the position of President on one of them (a school for autistic children). It’s hard and the parents and supporters for some reason, at times, demand perfection. Unfortunately we are humans and we make mistakes, get tired, or simply let the “shiny new nickel” syndrome grab our attention for too long and get us off track. It is at those times that others tend to notice and point out our mistakes. It is precisely at this time when the founders need to reflect on what got them here in the first place and refocus on the vision the Lord gave them.
We are built to be in community with one another. CAI has built bridges to communities most of us have yet to dream of. Many blessings to you. Good health to Greg. Thank you for all you do.
Patrick Jones, CA
Thank you for your communications. This email is written to let you know that you have my complete support. Things like this happen in life. You have done an enormous good. You may not be a perfect human being, but then, none of us are. There will be a light at the end of this experience!
Greg, your mother spoke to our church group in Hudson, Wisconsin. You have a lot of support in our area, including River Falls, Wisconsin.
Thank you for your dedication and selfless leadership.
Nan Lopatka, WI
Dear Greg and Staff,
I support you all and pray for Greg’s speedy recovery. Keep the faith.
Judy Plymyer, MD
I don’t care what 60 minutes says; you have my unfailing support. Keep up the great work you’re doing and tell Greg he’s in my thoughts as he goes through this difficult time (& everybody else, there, too!) and heals from his upcoming surgery.
I have read both of Mortenson’s books and have been so inspired by his work. I talk to everyone about his work, have donated to the CAI when I can, and given his books to everyone I know to read. His work is one thing that stays with me always and has inspired me to work for change wherever I can. My daughter and her friend did a Pennies for Peace program at their school a few years ago, and I just find in incredible that anyone would question this man’s work and the work of the CAI. I believe Mortenson has the only true answer to peace in that region and that we will see huge changes there in the next generations due to his determination and unselfishness. I am sorry to see he has health problems, and wish him well in his surgery and recovery and hope his family is doing well.
Dear Dr. Greg,
I hope that your safely came out from the conspiraries of the enemies of humanity. I did not meet you but I acknowledge that you have done a lot of good for the poor children of my motherland Gilgit Baltistan. We the people of Gilgit Baltistan salute you on the splended contribution in the field of women education. I am afraid the current debatable and controversial actions are now going to hurt our very children of Gilgit Baltistan that you wanted to help. Take stance against your opponents we are with you. Keep up your humanitarian services for the people of GB.
Manzoor Hussain Parwana, Skardu, Baltistan
Please let Greg, his family, and your staff know that I stand behind your mission and the veracity of the statements and ideals promoted in “Three Cups of Tea”. I continue to support you and your efforts.
Wishing you good health, Greg. My sister, Fay, and I would like you to know that we believe in you and your work. There are those who create and those who destroy, and we know where you stand. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.
Maureen Marks-Mendonca, Canada
Fay Marks, AZ
I’m writing to voice my support of Greg Mortenson and the work he has done with CAI. His successes in his mission to provided education to girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as raising millions for the cause is certainly amazing, and no doubt has raised a few brows. No surprise, as he has been far more successful in his goals than many other non-profit executives could hope to be. Perhaps there were some embellishments in telling the story. How many stories are told without embellishment? The main thread is true however. He found and cared about people with a need. He thought of and created a solution and he worked to bring the reality of education to a population of people who needed it. He did create funds to build the schools and the vocation centers. He created opportunities for a better life in a region of the world where it was desperately needed. And then he brought awareness to people in this country (USA) and around the modern world, who wanted to support his ideals. His work is good. He’s not a business man. He’s not a born executive. He’s an adventurer and a dreamer with a heart of gold. I will be praying for the success of his heart surgery and for his speedy recovery. And I will pray that the wolves that seek to bring him down, back off and focus on the facts of his success.
Tracy Moyle, CA
Dear Greg, Kudos to you for the job that you do. Also wishing you a whole holy heart. Your books have been favorites of our book club, here in Saginaw, MI. Enjoyed very much your interview with Bill Moyers and thought it was the best news (except for the schools) to come out of Afghanistan. Amazing, the U.S. military taking seriously the consultation approach with the local elders! Grace and peace with justice.
Bob Hastings, MI
I recently began interning for an organization called the Center for International Study and Development (CISD) and on my first day, they told me to read Three Cups of Tea. We are trying to do very similar work and have recently opened up 3 schools in the Chagai region of Baluchistan. Your dedication and passion for what you do has been such an inspiration. I applaud CAI’s work, and know that many others do too, despite whatever this 60 Minutes report may say. So keep on doing what you’re doing!
I saw the report on 60 minutes. In my opinion, Jon Krakauer is jealous of your work. He wants attention on himself so he created the uproar. I am disappointed that 60 minutes did not have documented facts that they would provide. It appeared to be a witch hunt. The “watch dog” fella…..he was also performing. I am sorry that CAI has had to go through this insulting behavior.
This is exactly why I only watch “The Onion News”. I think The Onion is probably the only news source that has not been corrupted yet. Please don’t let these things upset you and leave plenty of time on your daily schedule for smiling and getting better. I know I am not contributing much but after watching this report, I am increasing the level of my monthly contribution. As you know there are many children and future teachers and nurses and doctors and … that need your organization’s help in Afghanistan.
In short, please be assured that I will continue to support the work of CAI to the best of my ability. I feel honored to be able to support your mission and outreach in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I understand the critical nature of building lasting & trusting relationships over the long term. Sadly, the attention span of so many of our countrymen & women in America seems to be about 1-2 days. This phenomenon is not great for relationship-building, as you have learned over the last 2 decades. I thank God for your dedication to, and passion for, your work. I am deeply proud to be part of the extended community that is the Central Asia Institute. I shall hold you and your family in concentrated prayer this week as you undergo the medical procedure to repair your heart. Bon courage, Greg Mortenson!
Christine Mack, AZ
We send you our support in the recent “media” controversy. I am a member of a women’s church circle and we have a Pennies for Peace project going on for our whole church. And we will continue the project. We are strong believers in your program, in your successes and in you. You are in our prayers. Don’t give up.
Sally Harper, TX
Hi folks at CAI, I’m a 41 year old teacher at a high school in Alberta. I read Three Cups of Tea two years ago and was blown away- inspired and grateful that somebody has taken leadership in such a powerful and positive way. Since then I’ve bought CAI calendars and told all my friends to buy and read the book. I’ve also bought Stones into Schools and will continue to spread the word and add my support, even if it’s just small ways. I will continue to speak well of CAI and Greg. If ever I was tempted to think the world is spiraling downward unchecked, then it’s organizations like yours that make me believe there’s hope. If you can fight for what’s right, then so can I.
It is with great sadness that my wife and I have heard about the personal attacks upon your character. Indeed, when your life’s work is negated by spurious comments and media frenzy, one is left to wonder at times about the motivations of others. As far as we are concerned, your efforts and deeds over many, many years speak more loudly than any of these useless accusations. We are sure that your true supporters will not be swayed by this nonsense. Your life’s sacrifices and concrete results are so evident that no one should care about this too much. Be assured of our continuous support and trust. Please take care of yourself and get better soon.
All the best! Salaam Alaykum,
Arnie (Jamal) Nermo & Saida Raffiai,
Public Educators from British Columbia
Dear Greg and CAI staff,
Please know that you are peace warriors who are truly making a difference in the world, and that based on your courageous history/actions, you and your work is at least one of the most trustworthy activities ongoing in the world today. All of this is to be highly praised and not attacked by the media-a source proven to be untrustworthy and unreliable many times over. Thank you, thank you, thank you and God bless you for all of your valiant (and successful!) efforts to help others in very specific and tangible ways! Your business and communication efforts have always been exemplary. Your work is an inspiration to all Americans and to all in this world you care about the spirit of helping others in a constructive and non-invasive, culture-sensitive and respectful manner, despite all the struggle and challenges. All blessings to you, Greg and your family for a successful and positive surgery. Your energy is greatly needed and greatly appreciated. All health and well being to you and all the CAI staff here and abroad!
Channel 4 just reported on 60 minutes. Assumption is they’re telling the truth. Chin up, shoulders back “sticks and stones may break my bones but words.” Greg must fight this libel with all the strength he has and with all his supporters strength claim by claim, line by line. I would also advise CAI Board to engage a Policy Governance consultant to establish appropriate governance arrangements and delegation arrangements with Greg/a CEO.
Keep up the good fight.
I am so glad that your physical problem has been diagnosed and will be fixed, Greg. You have done such amazing things and, God willing; will be able to resume your remarkable work. I did not watch the program on 60 minutes, and I am glad to have missed it! Shame on them!!! I support you in the work you and the CAI staff do, and will continue to do so. May God guide you safely through the surgery and recovery.
Like all great people, your path will be made difficult by the media whose only objective is to make a quick buck by the throwing around sound bytes. You will be happy to know that very few people with a reasonable amount of intellect take the media seriously. We have seen them sway from left to right form supporting unjust wars to printing lies. You will not lose our prayers and our support irrespective of what the media prostitutes say. All the best for your procedure. May the almighty grant you good health and success.
Abdul Sonday (Pr.Eng)
When someone like you does good in the world there will always be demons ready to ‘shoot you down’. They are jealous of your success and your character. Please go on doing your wonderful work and get well soon. I will be sending a contribution in the next couple of weeks. Namaste.
Suzie Jennings, England
My congregation just recently “joined” Pennies for Peace. We’ve read your amazing books and want you to know that after this vicious attack on “60 Minutes”, our support has in no way lessened… perhaps is now even stronger – if that is possible! We have been collecting many pennies throughout Lent and will have a check off to you in a few weeks! Our children at church now talk excitedly about the school children that they are helping – as they and the children “over there” are joining to build a school “together.” Your Mom, Jerene, has become a dear friend and preached your message of love and caring at our United Methodist Church here in Anchorage. We love her dearly! Please know that we are holding you very close in love and prayer as you face the challenges of your heart surgery this week! God bless you for the incredibly fine work you are doing! We are with you all the way! A thousand blessings!
Dale Kelley, Pastor of Turnagain UMC, AK
My prayers are with you Greg and with your staff. Perhaps CBS would find their time better spent by finding out what they do with my tax dollars. I will monitor my own private donations thank you very much. My son has been in Afghanistan near your schools and is in perfect agreement with your foundation. Actually the press will probably bring you more donations. My money is with the United States Army in that area and they are with you and so AM I.
I hope my email is one of many that bolsters Greg Mortenson. His work is immensely inspirational. All books take artistic license. The main facts are indisputable. I’m incensed that anyone suspects Greg Mortenson’s motives. He is dedicated to the idea that education (building schools) is a pathway to peace. I agree. Please extend my good wishes for his quick recovery from heart surgery, and my strong support for him and his work.
I want to send Greg Mortensen my best wishes for a successful surgery and recovered robust health.
I have heard of the new controversy and accusations, and choose to believe in Greg’s good intentions and good work unless there is proof that he has not done what he claims. It is easy to say words that can hurt others, and I will not get on the naysayers’ bandwagon. It’s possible that there were some errors in Greg’s books and in his reporting, but he has always asserted that he was not good at this aspect of his work. He has given up the comfort and company of his home and his family to go to remote, uncomfortable and dangerous parts of the world. Why would he misappropriate funds to do this? So, my best wishes to Greg and to the continued good works of the Central Asia Institute.
To Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute:
Thank you for the fine work that you have been doing in promoting education, particularly girls’ education, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Inevitably, there are bound to be snags and set backs in a development program, such as yours, that takes on such a difficult challenge. I fervently hope that CAI can move beyond the recent problems and continue the excellent work.
Betsy Stephens, MD
Response to your letter of April 17, 2011:
I am apalled at 60 Minutes!! May CAI and Greg Mortenson prevail! What can’t destroy one, can only make one stronger!
Likewise, You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Anna Q Wong
Dear Greg and people at CAI,
Peace to YOU!
Here’s what I sent to Newsweek (letters@Newsweek.com)
Having read Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools” plus the newsletter, “Journey of Hope” and his website, and having heard him speak in person and having contributed to his work, I was deeply saddened by recent criticism of a generous and courageous man that assumes he’s guilty until proven innocent.
Hampton Sides is correct in his acknowledgment that all our heroes have failings, yet I, for one, can believe. It’s like what some of us have said about the Bible: “It’s true, and some of it even happened.”
Most of us have no idea of the culture in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson has done more good in that difficult place than what most of us can conceive. Just ask/read what some of his female students have said!
The Rev. Carole L. Vincent (retired United Methodist pastor)
Thank you for all your faithful work. YOU are in my thoughts and prayers, and we hope to hear that your surgery went well and your recovery will be complete.
Carole Vincent, CA
I just wanted to send a note of support to Greg and all the other wonderful people who have worked so hard to bring schooling to the young people (particularly the girls) of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this barrage of negative media coverage… please know that you still have so many supporters, those of us who don’t need memoirs to be history textbooks, and who understand that mistakes, financial or otherwise, don’t undo or cancel out years of dedication and hard work.
You have a remarkable organization, and although I don’t know him personally, Greg Mortenson seems to be a humble, kind human being who has always been honest about his strengths and weaknesses. Please continue to do your good work… you are changing the world, one
school and one student at a time, and so many of us will continue to stand behind you and support you, whether it’s through book purchases or donations.
Heather Steinberger, CO
You and your organization have my full support, even after all this bad publicity. I know things do not work the same way in the countries you are working in. After reading your book, it was very clear you have to always be outside the box. Keep up the good work. You have thousands if not millions of supporters.
Thank you for all you and CAI do educating girls around the world.
A quick note of support, appreciation and blessings to the CAI community – and especially to Greg – during these tough times.
I will increase my (extremely modest) donations to CAI and will contribute to any fund established to assist Greg to deal with financial or legal matters that might arise. The world is a tough place, as you all know already.
Thanks to all of you for working conscientiously toward positive ends.
Please pass along my wishes of support and appreciation to Greg and his family. Thank you.
Pat Todesco, CA
My thoughts are with Greg, his family, and all his friends around the world, wishing him successful surgery and a speedy recovery. This world needs more people like Greg. I’m so sorry you are all having to deal with the attack by 60 Minutes. I have full confidence that things will turn out the right way.
Dear Parents & Staff,
I was heartsick today as I learned about the CBS 60 Minutes program attack on Greg Mortenson and the CAI (“Pennies for Peace”) organization.
“Pennies for Peace” has my complete devotion as a noble and worthwhile cause that is building a safer world for our children.
I know our contributions are making a significant difference. This is a factual example: My daughter has a friend who recently returned from Afghanistan where she served in the U.S. military as a physician’s assistant. Among her patients was an Afghan boy who suffered an injury in an explosion. He and his sister were taken in and cared for while attempts were made to locate their parents. The main reason it was so difficult to find their parents was the girl’s lack of education. She did not know how to tell anyone the necessary information about their home and family. The American military in Afghanistan knows about “Pennies for Peace”, and they know this program makes a difference. They were wishing that program had reached these two children. I will continue to support “Pennies for Peace” so that one day it can reach those two children, and others like them.
I am glad to hear that you are not discouraged by the words and propaganda of the media. It is a shame to see how some people can devalue the very difficult task you have undertaken and done so wonderfully. Please continue supporting the forgotten part of the world, as you are. I don’t think I have donated to any organization with the amount of pleasure I have done to CAI. I trust your work and I know that every penny I donate is put to good use. Thank you so much for your hard work and great intentions.
SG, Pakistani American, MD
Please convey my heartfelt support to Greg and all the CAI workers. I think you folks have done a terrific job of service and am always inspired by it. Tell him we’ll be praying for him and a long life ahead to continue his great work. You have to wonder what it is in programs like 60 Minutes that they don’t want to do their homework and are out to harass people and tear down the good name of a group whose only goal has ever been to do good in the world. They are easy to disregard. Thanks again for your fine work and take care!
Dear Greg and Every Person Involved with CAI,
I ran as a Democrat against John Kerry for the United States Senate in 2008. I admire your courage and dignity to stand up to 60 and television sound bytes! Several months ago, I had stints put into a main artery in my heart…the lad….with little warning; I was proactive and contributed to saving my own life…..Best of luck and well wishes to you, Greg! I believe in CAI’s work and will send in another donation within days!
Ed O’Reilly, MA
I’m sorry to hear 60 Minutes is painting an untrue picture of your incredibly needed and well received accomplishments in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I don’t understand how that could happen. I am praying for your return to good health and your continue success in building schools. You are my hero and have been for a long time.
Dear CAI and Greg,
You are the best and I don’t care what anybody says. I am a journalist in Cache Valley, Utah, and I am ashamed of the way my fellow journalists are acting, and I don’t say that too often. My best to you all during this difficult time. Keep up the good work, the world needs you.
Storee Powell, UT
Stay the course, Greg. Detractors are the jackals that feed on the refuse of human progress. The CBS allegations appear to be an effort to find a story rather than report one.
I’m glad you wrote this, even though it would take more than a half-hour expose I am not changing my mind about your organization. I’m changing my mind about Jon Krackauer though. To his credit he did mention at the end that whatever he felt was not right, was not negating all you’ve done. Carry on with your good work…..and be transparent! And get well!
I wish to state that despite the story on 60 Minutes I still have complete confidence in the personal character and work of Greg Mortenson. I hope other supporters feel the same so that his work can continue. It is sad that there are those who wish to discredit him for reasons of their own. I want his work to continue to improve the world.
I did watch 60 minutes and it was distressing and confusing. I do thank you for this communication and explanations. I believe strongly in your philosophy, know that schools have been built and I will continue to support the cause.
Thank you for all that you have done, and how you have impacted my life and others. I am so sorry that the press is attacking you, and that you must go through the process of defending your work. Your story, and your passion for following the purposes in your hearts, have inspired me (with sponsorships from area Rotary clubs) to develop a literacy coalition in our county. We now have over 25 tutors, with more tutor trainings planned. I am working on with a local community college to develop a pilot program to utilize our tutors to help students who cannot pass entrance tests. (The fact is that 60%-90% of community college enrollees are required to take developmental courses, in reading, writing or mathematics, which I find unacceptable in America!) I present each tutor trainer graduate with a copy of Three Cups of Tea, to inspire them so like Greg, can make a difference in someone’s life. I send it to you, to encourage you, and to let you know that you are a star in that black night, and I know that your light will continue to shine. I send my prayers for continued physical healing for Greg, for courage and for strength, and for healing of this media situation.
Thanks for your informative email. Maybe the negative publicity from 60 Minutes will turn out to be a good thing…I hope so. Their “way of doing things” depends on doing something that is sensational, but your way of doing things is certainly positive, and brings hope and life enhancing possibilities for participants. The current “flap” is a good opportunity for comparison of the work done by the TV show and the work done by CAI. It seems to me that you and your staff are doing work that brings hope and new life to people. I think that is what the Easter message is all about! Best wishes to you, your family and staff from someone in Atlanta who appreciates what you are trying to do.
Dear & Respected Mr. Greg,
It has always been my passion to see the next generation holding pens & books instead of guns & bazookas. Albeit I live in Lahore, Pakistan but I have spend lot of time in Northern Areas, Gilgit – Baltistan. I pray from the core of my heart for your early recovery, sustained health, and long life. Please accept my heart felt gratitude. Best of luck, health & prosperity God Bless You & those you care.
Dear Greg & Colleagues,
You may well find this current confrontation with 60 minutes a personal front to all of the hard work that you have put in to helping people in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the years. But ironically CAI will grow bigger and stronger because if it. Debate is at the heart of our democratic society, and we must allow others to question what we are doing, and test that we all have the best intentions, no matter how intrusive it may prove. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Good luck, and keep up the good work.
Thank you for keeping your supporters informed. After reading the questions/answers from 60min, it seems they are little too late in their attack of Greg. I wonder what the motivation is? I do hope this whole event, after the initial darkness, makes CAI stronger in its commitment to raising the collective awareness of the importance of education. Too bad things have become so complicated. Hang in there – and please tell Greg to have a speedy recovery from his surgery and know that he is loved by many and no one can please everyone all the time. Thank you again.
Thank you very much for the clarification. Just wanted to let you know that I am really disgusted that the 60mins folks trying to discredit Greg’s good work. Before I even read his email message I actually fired off an email to the editor and journalist of the NY Post to voice my displeasure: “I read both of Greg’s books, follows him on twitter and follow his progress as he struggles to keep up his good work. I previously traveled to Pakistan and have some sense of what he writes about so I certainly do not doubt any of his writings. I am amazed that anyone would want to do what he does in the first place. You can’t write a damning article like that and don’t try to be more objective and detailed.
He should be well paid for his work in making all that happen. If it is being said that he ‘boost his bottom line’ with money from the charity, kindly elaborate. How can you make broad statements of criticism without trying to mention all that was achieved or accomplished? Shouldn’t you try to give some examples at least? Have you try to compare all he has done and what it takes to make it happen instead of repeating negative stories like a parrot from some idiot? In a country like Afghanistan/Pakistan, you just don’t build schools on your own. Because of the war in these parts, no wonder the schools can’t function. This story just smacks of people who look at the ‘glass half empty’ and a smear campaign and people who never focus on the good but love to highlight only the bad whenever they can.
There are so many problems the world over, why are you spending time writing about a man who is only trying to make the world a better place. Get up off your couch and look for real material with merit to write about rather than to bring others down. Stop piggy backings off others negative stories and go discover some original ones of your own. The former board member who criticizes for instance, go look into why he is a ‘former’ board member. Go bring awareness to Denmark’s gruesome festival – killing of the dolphins to prove manhood in Denmark. No one seem to want to touch that.
Dear CAI friends and workers, and Greg Mortenson:
I am so sad that there were ugly implications in the questions that 60 Minutes asked Greg. I believe Greg totally and believe that people they contacted misled the 60 Minutes staff. 60 Minutes is on a tight and expensive schedule and does not take the time to drink tea, which leads to a clash of cultures and grave misunderstandings. Please continue your good work.
I am praying for Greg’s rapid and total recovery.
Having been trained as a journalist, I can only tell you that “Sixty Minutes” is nothing more than yellow journalism and doesn’t deserve the air time it gets. Anyone with a smattering of intelligence knows that the show builds its ratings on muck-raking. I trust you will be better soon, as no one else has done what you have for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In other words, God is not ready to retire you. The donors who have believed in you and your cause will continue to support you and CAI. And as soon as I’m employed again, I’ll increase my monthly donation.
You continue to have all our support. Let the dogs bark. But should not you take one 60 minutes journalist down-there in Pakistan for a look?
Pierre Coindreau, France
I wish CAI and Greg Mortenson best of luck in dispelling the accusations at the earliest, and with the minimum collateral damage to the organization and its activities. Know that you are well respected and very much admired for your dedication even in the face of adversity! Hope you will be able to jump this ‘hurdle’ as you have all the previous ones…. Your personal sacrifice shames those like me who feel they should do something to help, but just haven’t gotten around to it… yet. Still hope to do so, sooner rather than later! In the meantime, you certainly have my support (passive as it may be) and my best wishes for the times ahead!
I’m sorry, but who watches 60 Minutes anymore? Your work is immeasurably important. As with any organization going through the four phases of life which we organisms also pass (Genesis, Growth, Deterioration, and Disintegration), you are right to be concerned about where CAI is along that spectrum. It’s all about challenge and response (Arnold Toynbee, 1947). A charismatic leader who gives the institution direction and purpose is always a difficult act to follow. Asalaam-o-Alaikum.
Bob Richardson, LtCol, USMC (Ret)
I give my 100% support to the work of Greg Mortenson and ignore what ignorant folk say about him. He is a remarkable individual whom I respect enormously.
With best wishes and to future successes.
Joyce Sloan, England
Thank you CAI. I never did believe a word of this obvious smear campaign and have defended Greg & his work to others who’ve brought this up to me. They are obviously very anti-Muslim though I’ve not looked into the work of the non-profit “watch dog” agency that’s responsible for this, I’m very suspicious of their motives. My best to you & your institute’s good work.
Jana & Ben Cichowski
I am sad to see the negativity that has been leveraged against you. It is one thing to ask about finances of an organization and while it is fair for donors to know what percentage of their donation is used for administrative purposes, it is another thing to accuse a person of intentionally profiting. That is specifically what I am sad about. From both the books that I have read as well as attended your events twice, I find it hard to believe the allegations. Being from India and understanding how business gets done, things are not as simple as they are here. When I donate to most charities, I accept that part of the money will go to administrative costs. And in the grand scheme of things building even one school in that part of the world brings girls the hope that they would never have had. I think that’s worth my money. I will still donate to CAI for these girls to have any opportunity at an education. And they will then go and change society for the better. Having said that, I do think that the “Board of Directors” needs to be expanded and a dedicated accountant (tax) will be beneficial. Running a non-profit organization is a challenge and many charities are scrutinized in this day and age. To be prepared for further investigation may be a good idea.
I have followed your incredible work since first reading about it in an article in 2003 and reading your first book, Three Cups of Tea. I have also followed your humanitarian efforts in the news and through CAI’s website and newsletters and your sequel. I have long admired you for your unselfish dedication to fighting for peace where many others dare not venture, at great personal risk to yourself. In fact, as a college teacher, I regularly recommend your books to my English students and read aloud the section in which you describe the village children doing their lessons outdoors without a teacher. No student fails to be moved by that scene. I also continue to support CAI and your efforts. I believe in what you and your staff and the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are doing and I will continue to support you and the organization. I don’t get my news from television, so the broadcasts will have no impact on my opinion nor on my continued support. I only wish for you and your wife and children that you are able to restore your health. You are a blessing in this world and deserve to be lauded.
I know that you’ve been eviscerated by the media recently, so I just thought that I would send a note of thanks and appreciation. By a wonderful twist of fate, my sister gave me a copy of Three Cups of Tea for my birthday a few years back, and shortly thereafter I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Mortenson speak at the University of San Francisco. As a result of seeing him there, I am now a graduate nursing student in a program for non-nurses at USF. As part of our global health project in epidemiology, a colleague and I are presenting a project on maternal mortality in Afghanistan, and we have both said that we wish to travel there to help with the situation when our children are grown.
Even if Three Cups of Tea and/or Stones for Schools were entirely works of fiction (which I believe is not true at all), Mr. Mortenson opened my heart to a part of the world about which I knew absolutely nothing, and I am forever grateful. He has brought far more peace to the region than his critics ever will.
I wish you all the best on this beautiful Easter Sunday and send many prayers for Mr. Mortenson’s swift recovery from surgery.
Hello to those at CAI and to Greg,
My prayers and good wishes are with you. I presume that all will be ironed out.
Thank you Greg for your message to supporters. I read the interview you did with Outside Magazine and it seems that there is a lot of information that you were not able to provide to 60 Minutes. I did not see the segment as I do not have Dish Network at this time, (I go without TV for six months at a time) Then subscribe for a month until I get fed up. I’ve joined your blog so that I can keep up with new developments. Just got Stones Into Schools from Amazon last Friday and in reading your introduction I feel that you have a grasp on the needs for education that is important. Now, even we in the USA are struggling with this. I think your support comes from the fact that you can do so much more in Central Asia with so much less. Perhaps the “dumbing down” of America comes from
arrogance and complacency. Dickens even wrote in A Christmas Carol, “Beware ignorance and want. And of these the most dangerous is ignorance”
Karen LeBlond, CA
Hello just a little note to let you know Greg and all of the staff at CAI that you still have my support. I have been thinking of all of you this last couple of weeks and send all my good thoughts your way. Just know that we know what a great thing you are all doing that that we are aware there are nasty jealous people out there. Want you to continue to do what you have been doing especially the book tours as any body that has read your books knows that its is the single most reason people become donors. I believe you are changing the world and making it a better place for future generations! Take care of yourself Greg cuz we need you!!
As a regular donor to CAI, I want to convey my support for Mr. Mortenson, and also wish him a speedy recovery from his surgery. Greg has so obviously devoted almost 20 years of his life to CAI’s mission, and I have no doubts about his integrity. Thank goodness he doesn’t live out of his car anymore, and that he makes a living wage to in some small way ameliorate the fact that he is away from his wife and kids and in harm’s way so much of the time!
CAI’s work building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan is vitally important. Equally important is the work CAI does to educate people in the US and internationally about the situation in these two countries, inspiring us to become emotionally invested in the people living there. This work is done in large part by promoting Greg’s books, and any publisher knows that this takes money. I believe it is money well spent.
I plan to continue to support CAI financially and to continue to spread the word about the good work CAI does.
Mary Derr Van Brocklin, OR
I met Greg Mortinson one evening when I was working in the ICU at Alta Bates and he came and worked with us through the registry. It was years ago. We had a short discussion about his work with building schools in Pakistan. I had lived in Pakistan as a teenager. Greg’s book Three Cups of Tea is wonderfully told. We need more people like Greg in our world!
I did not see 60 minutes last night but I heard about it. I find it disgusting that anyone would go after him in this manner. I am writing to send Greg support, especially while he is facing his upcoming surgery.
Keep the faith Greg….take care of yourself right now…we believe in you and the work you do.
Life is full of obstacles….as you have already experienced. I know you will get through this.
Don’t let these people destroy your good hearted spirit!
I appreciate your letter dated April 17, 2011. I was greatly disturbed when I watched 60 Minutes and I appreciate your direct response to that. That has helped to restore my trust in your work.
Dear Greg Mortenson,
Thank you for your letter of April 17th. I really appreciate how quickly you got on the correcting of misinformation that has been circulated recently, and letting your supporters know the true facts including the state of your health. We wish you a successful surgical procedure and a speedy recovery with all the energy of your life restored to you.
Thank you so much for the work you are doing. And thank you for allowing us to have a small part in it. We will be forwarding another donation for this work.
Laurel & Robert
I recently received the letter dated April 17, 2011, detailing the recent charges against Greg Mortenson, from the CAI. I want to express my strong support for Greg, and to wish him the strength to weather this crisis. I neither saw the “60 Minutes” report, nor have I read Krakauer’s article (and I don’t want to). I find Krakauer’s brand of sensationalism to be very disturbing; he seems to choose to focus on what he thinks someone has done wrong, and to then create popular stories from this. In this case, I find his allegations extremely damaging, not only for Greg personally, but for the girls of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I trust and respect Greg M way more than Jon K.
D Levine, NM
Hi Central Asia Institute,
I remember reading “Three Cups of Tea” about four years ago before I decided to go into ministry. I am a big believer in the mission of CAI and how one person can make a difference in this world. I just want to say to Greg and all of you thank you for being an inspiration. I am attaching and posting below in this email what I sent to 60 minutes about information that makes me question Krakauer’s motives for the interview. I will also send this letter to other news outlets. I preached on Palm Sunday about how we cannot keep silent, but must lift our voices up for those who are silenced; and this is what you all do for the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan. God bless you all.
Here is the letter I sent:
April 27, 2011
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
To Whom It May Concern:
When I viewed over a week ago the 60 Minutes report on Greg Mortenson’s non-profit Central Asia Institute. I was shocked with the anger that Jon Krakauer had toward the CAI, and it made me question what this famous author’s true motives were. In addition, as the 60 minutes segment went on I found it to be very biased. Therefore, I did a little research online and within 20 minutes I found out some interesting information not included in the report:
Jon Krakauer has recently published an article online through www.Byliner.com called, Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. All the author’s proceeds will go to “Stop Girl Trafficking Project” through the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF). The odd thing is Krakauer sits on the Board of Directors for this non-profit, and they do similar work as Central Asia Institute does in the Himalayan region of the world; and I believe Mortenson did things with them in the 1990s (according to Three Cups of Tea). I just think it is odd that Krakauer would be trying to make a profit off an expose on Mortenson to fund another non-profit…unless there is some “funding jealousy” going on because the United States is in an economic recession.
Is this a charity war that is being waged on the CAI then? I hope not. I do feel though that some investigative reporting needs to happen in regards to Krakauer’s motives, because it points to “conflict of interest” since he sits on the board of AHF. Please look into this seriously, because hurting a non-profit like CAI is terrible, because it has helped educate so many children and inspire many people around the world into action.
Dear Greg Mortenson and CAI Board,
Your letter of April 17 was a welcome explanation of your difficult and compounded media ambush. Be assured that as current supporters of your organization and programs we persist in our loyalty to you personally and as a world initiative.
We are living through a strange culture in our country. Every day we see and hear stories and news releases that cast doubt on honest efforts to resolve national problems and to turn back injustice and hate. Many critics accuse others of shortcomings that they blindly ignore in their own endeavors.
This is certainly not the first instance in which “60 Minutes” has taken the low road to discredit international development toward enlightenment and unification. Our first exposure to “60 Minutes’” bad journalism came back in the early 80s. They compiled and aired a report on the World Council of Churches filled with innuendo and half-truths about Communist infiltration and potential takeover. That program prompted considerable loss in their credibility and viewership. We expect the same outcome this time. And we assure you that CAI will ride this one through the storm. It is possible that CAI and its Director will be better known and exonerated as the sarcasm fades.
To you, Greg, we former Bozeman residents ourselves, send you best wishes, healing support, clean mountain air and God’s goodness as you meet the coming days and months.
Curt and Sandy Haney
To the editor of the New York Times,
A couple of years ago, I read Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools. My wife and I have two daughters. I am a CPA. I am involved with our local public schools. I have served on the boards of a number of not-for-profit organizations and was deeply involved in their finance and governance. We support Greg Mortenson and CAI, including financially. So much for full disclosure.
Once again CBS missed the critical question: How can CAI be scaled up to do more, not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but in or as a model for similar organizations in other benighted regions of the world? Education is a condition precedent for freedom and liberty. When I finished reading Greg’s two books, downloaded CAI’s IRS Form 990s and decided to support CAI, I did so with the knowledge that CAI was growing very rapidly, that it’s management and board were razor-thin and that it would be stressed. Clearly Greg was the organization. The hope for its future was the development of Afghan and Pakistani-based operational management which seemed to be occurring.
CAI reported that in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, about 80% and 89% respectively of CAI’s expenses went into the projects. In those two years, CAI received revenue in excess of expenses of $8 million and $4.6 million respectively, building its financial reserves. At the end of fiscal 2009, CAI had net assets of $14.8 million, about 1.5 times the year’s expenses. This is not a particularly large reserve, especially for a growing organization reaching half-way around the world.
CBS accuses CAI of granting and/or Greg taking too much compensation. Greg is compensated at a far lower level than many US school superintendents who have far less responsibility as measured by number of children or families served, fund-raising required or security challenges to be surmounted. If he is so-well paid, why are not more people setting up similar organizations?
CBS challenges Greg’s veracity in telling his story. Was he lost returning from K2; was he kidnapped; did CAI build the schools? These are legitimate questions, but if CBS is going to investigate them, the investigation has to go beyond repeating allegations made by others. That is way CBS erroneously reported President Bush’s being AWOL from his National Guard service.
In short, we will continue to support Greg and CAI.
Robert Brady, CT
Dear Mr. Mortenson,
May Allah bless you and your family with all the bounties and beauties of life, health and prosperity, amen! I came to know about you and your cause couple of weeks ago when I was forced to grab ‘Three Cups of Tea’ from a book fair in Dubai (without having least idea what the book is about..though name seems familiar) rushing to catch my flight for Riyadh. It was a pleasure to read the book. After ages I read something so motivating n inspiring. It was equally good to read good words from a foreign hand and know sincere thoughts which he cherishes for my land, my people and my religion.
Few days ago my husband forwarded me couple of mails regarding programme 60 minutes. Though he has not read the book but knows about you as I kept repeating lines from the book which I adored:) I trust you, your cause and your efforts. Being a Pakistani I’m thankful to you for rendering these services to my country and being a Muslim I’m obliged to you for bringing light of literacy to the people of Afghanistan.
May Allah strengthen your will to move on and make every step easier than previous one, amen!”
I wanted you to know I’m appalled at the news that Sixty Minutes has attacked you. Back in the early ‘80s, my father, Roy Huffman, was also attacked by Sixty Minutes when he was vice president for research at MSU — one of the few times they let Andy Rooney do a news story. That was a much smaller matter, but they were unfair, edited interviews to suit their thesis, and it was very upsetting to my father, others on his staff, and to his family. I was in Japan at the time and heard from friends all around the US who were indignant about what they could clearly see was a hatchet job. In the end my dad got a sort of semi-apology from one of the producers.
All the best. Hang in there! The world needs you!
I wish Greg all the best with his medical conditions. I hope he will be back to better health as his doctor has suggested. It is sad that our society is always looking for ways to attack people who are doing good in the world, which benefits us all. I am so sorry he has this added stress, as if being away from his family promoting peace and his medical issues were not enough. I also wanted to state that if it was not for his firs book I would never heard of CAI. I own both his books and contributed to CAI because of them… Get well soon.
Heather Hubbard, CT
Keeping you in my prayers. Know that difficult work as yours often has nay-sayers. Please don’t lose heart…. I’m sure that most of us can recognize true devotion and hard work when we see it. Thank you for helping out in some of the most dangerous and uncomfortable situations in the world… It really does break my heart to see you have to
suffer false accusations. People just can’t imagine how much you give and how little you get (except for inner happiness)…. When I get sad I always remember the words of Vivekananda, “know that all sacrifice is holy work and knowing that you shall be free”….
I had been in Afghanistan in 1977 (Oct) and passed through Pakistan (end Oct 77) into India. I know first hand the kindness of the people there and their generosity – in spite of having next to nothing…. Thanks again for your great personal and family sacrifice in spending all your time and energy on this mission.
Dear Mr. Mortenson and staff (and family!):
Please do not be discouraged or even swayed by last night’s broadcast. I believe I speak for almost all of us when I say, those of us supporting the work you have been committed to doing for so long, and at great personal cost, will continue to contribute to the CAI. We are not just any mass population which can be so easily bulldozed by such so-called “investigative” reporting. We are intelligent, educated, and deeply convicted and caring people who realize that what you have been trying to do is the best and, perhaps, the only way to end religious oppression, stop political abuses, and bring relief to impoverished
peoples the world over.
I will be writing to 60 Minutes and Channel 4 immediately to express my abject disgust and to let them know my family will not being watching either again. I feel especially bad for the white, upper middle-class bloke who “covered” the story who himself could learn a great deal from some fifth grade girls, such as how to use a dictionary and look up the meaning of words such as “cult” which refers to poor souls under mental control, not to readers who want peace. Some high school girls might explain to the station editors something about history as well, like that the kinds of people that are in the Ku Klux Klan (like the Taliban) don’t generally go out into public and say, “Yes, I was with this criminal group and I committed criminal acts”! (I could go on and on, but you already know it and I’ll save it for the show!)
My greatest prayer is that you and everyone there realizes this is nothing more than an opportunity to begin to catch up. Hire a few more talented professionals, maybe, with experience in running such an enormous undertaking/organization. I understand that since you’re just a human, a man, an author, and never in a million years expected to be thrust into this position, the organization may have a little tidying up to do. I hope you rest then and pour onto yourself and your colleagues all of that infinite respect and love that you have so generously and graciously given to the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
You give hope to the children of the world. You have ended much unnecessary suffering. You have taught me how to empower others to help themselves. My gratitude is boundless. Thank you for beginning to teach Americans and many others around this great planet about age-old cultures, their social complexities, their languages, and Islam. We are less egocentric, wiser, and our hearts are more open because of your courage and your willingness to do and say that which is tremendously difficult.
Lauri Shea, MA
I find Central Asia Institute, and the story of Three Cups of Tea to be transformational—I had those who traveled with me on a mission trip to Mexico read it before we left. The story of having to build a bridge before starting on the school was a strong parallel to what we faced in our attempts to help a remote village secure clean drinking water. From our perspective, the issue was straight forward, but the water issue touched on centuries old rivalries in the mountains, landownership issues, and religious divides. It was not a straight path, and progress has not come quickly. As Americans we are pragmatic—one and done sorts of people. Development work is never a fast or straightforward endeavor. The importance of listening, understanding the fears and objections, as well as dreams and aspirations of those we serve can make for story line that is not cut and dried.
I support you, and learned so much from you. Blessings in these difficult days.
Molly Seaverns, WA
Peace be with you all,
I refuse to believe the claims laid against Greg and your organization. I understand the complexity of dealing with other cultures and religions.
As far as I am concerned, Greg has done more to educate and enlighten people about Islam and the Middle East than our government has done through it’s fear tactics. Greg has offered hope to many cultures, including our own. It sickens me to see this hope being put on trial but thankfully, inshallah, my faith in goodness and light gives me confidence that all of this will pass and your work will continue even more strongly.
I admire your work and know the area well enough to know what you have faced trying to get your schools built. Signed a present and future donor.
Dear Central Asia Institute and all who work there, and Dear Greg Mortenson,
I just read the report of you being called a liar and I am outraged for you. Honestly, the media is helpful sometimes, but sooo damaging too. I read your first book and then bought Stones into Schools only a month ago and am still reading that one. And I am praying for you and your upcoming surgery, for the institute’s success and for our Lord to change the hearts of all who want to discredit you.
Please stay strong, the world needs selfless, loving souls like you all. I will be sending in a check to show my support, and am sorry I haven’t until now. God bless you all, and in my very small way, I just wanted to let you know that not everyone just blindly agrees with the media reports.
I pray that more people make donations now to show support. What you are doing is such a radical YES to our Lord’s call to love the poorest among us.
Dede Potticary, OH
Hello Greg and CAI staff,
I wanted to reach out and let you know of my support for Greg and the work of the CAI. It is a sad day when 60 minutes desperation to get viewers by casting a negative light on what is in-arguably one of the most inspiring stories of how one person can make a difference; came at the expense of hundreds of thousands of children whom could benefit from the CAI’s work. I have read both of his books and they are at the top (and will remain at the top) of my recommended reading list.
I attended Westside Elementary in River Falls, WI, where his mom was my principal. I only got sent to her once, maybe twice, but am proud to have been a tiny part of his inspiring work. Please continue the good work you are all doing.
Leah Kuypers, CA
I just wanted you to know that after watching the 60 Minutes piece I support your work more than ever. I can’t believe that at the end of the show even they had to admit that Greg has done so much great work at furthering the education of girls. Why try to ruin it all? My heart goes out to Greg and his family. Let him know that people are standing beside him and believe in what he does.
Barb T, WA
Just wanted to drop Greg a note saying that I still believe in the mission 100% and know that Greg’s heart is in the right place. Thanks to everyone at CAI for the good work you do. I’ll be sending a donation shortly. Hang in there and good luck with your surgery. I will keep you, your family and staff in my thoughts and prayers.
Julie Coan, TX
I saw you made headline news last week. I don’t have TV so I don’t know what was presented. I have traveled the KKH to Askole and then hiked to basecamp of K2. I saw several CAI projects and spoke with teachers from the schools. You are doing a good work and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands that would otherwise have no education. Keep up the good work.
I write to express my continued confidence in CAI’s business procedures, despite concerns I heard about them on NPR and 60 Minutes.
I believe the work CAI does to educate and inform the American people about the lack of education and poverty in Pakistan and Afghanistan is of crucial importance to the safety and security of the world’s citizens. I applaud CAI’s decisions to continue this work domestically, and to provide for Greg’s security needs as he travels.
I wish to thank the Board of Directors for its clear statements about its financial reporting to 60 minutes, and wish the CAI every success in its mission.
How to talk to kids about it? Well, when I told my boys, ages 6 and 10, that someone is accusing Mortenson of being a fraud and a liar, there was a long silence. Then my 10-year-old said something that made my GeekMom’s heart soar: “Well… what’s the evidence?” Hooray for open-minded critical thinking, especially among the young whippersnappers! There ensued a nice discussion about evaluating sources, information and motives. Also about hero-worship and its pitfalls.
I happen to sit on the board of a terrific foundation that funnels contributions to carefully selected charities. This quarter, one of our donees is the Central Asia Institute, Mortenson’s group. I am very proud that we have not pulled our support, and have started a discussion with our donors about the issue.
In sum: Please, let’s just keep our heads and let Mortenson sort out his books and his public relations. This man is not a god or a demon, and kids can totally relate to that.
Blogger on GeekMom
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I support Greg Mortenson and his life work. I support Central Asia Institute (CAI) and their goals. I will not be swayed by sensationalism media and rankings. This is a shy man that has done incredible things for humanity. He deserves our respect and support.
Connie Boucher & Craig Bergstedt
Greg and CAI et All…
I did not see 60 Minutes and am so sickened to think that they would do this mean spirited show. I will always support and believe in you, I just saw you in Spokane and have been on board since the first… always wishing I could be more helpful besides the small dollar amount and the enormous push I give to you at every turn…
I will do my best to remind people how question, that you are pure heart, doing the very best a human can do….. and I will blast 60 Minutes, how shameful they are……
Take care of that hole in your heart, so many will be with you in spirit.
I am so disturbed to read the piece that 60 Minutes did on Greg and the CAI. I am a longtime supporter and HUGE fun of your organization and Greg’s dedication to this part of the world and this cause! One would think a news program could cover some of the “real” insane terrible destructive things that actually do go on in this world and leave people trying to make a difference in the world alone! Please continue to do your amazing work and to inspire the rest of us to make a difference. My prayers are with Greg and his family as he deals with his health issues. God Bless you and your cause!
Dear Greg and CAI,
Please know that your work is the most important thing happening for the women, girls and boys of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also some of the most important work for all the rest of the world to witness. As we see your commitment and hard work with helping others in war-torn parts of the world we all want to contribute and make a difference. Your example of love and goodwill will outlive this shortsighted, nasty bit of “journalism”. I feel renewed by your example and will be reading Listen to the Wind to my young students in my library classes this spring! I will be sending healing prayers and energy your way, for now and the future. Yes, “the stars are shining brightly…” Thank you for your work.
Katy Adams-Hedrick, WA
I have donated in the past and will in the future as well. I have seen you speak and read your books. I’m sad to hear about the 60 Minutes progam coming up — it will surely detract from the important work that you do. Keep your chin up and just keep plowing away at the important work that you do.
After receiving Mr. Mortensen’s group email regarding the piece in “60 Minutes”, I’ve grown angry. I research charities in depth prior to committing my family’s resources to its support, and CAI is no exception. That a barely-mediocre TV show would unduly disparage all of your hard work in the quest for higher ratings saddens and angers me.
Please know that you have my family’s support. Financial, emotional, spiritual — all of it. We stand behind your work and integrity and have zero qualms about doing so. Keep up the good fight.
I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea and was very inspired with the book and the goal of building schools, especially for girls. I am very dismayed that 60 Minutes made such a biased presentation. I wanted you at IKAT, and I also want Greg to know, that I totally support you and him, and believe in you and your organization. I think it was wise to avoid an interview with 60 minutes – they had already made up their minds. I found Greg’s responses on your website and the responses from the Board of Directors to be very convincing and putting questions to rest.
I wish Greg well in his surgery and recovery, and will continue to support you. I don’t have much money to donate but will be sending a small donation shortly.
Blessings to you all – and don’t be discouraged – people know the truth, and we will continue to spread the message and to correct the false information.
Dear Mr. Mortenson: Inshallah, you will soon recover from the medical problem you mentioned in your recent letter of thanks to your admirers and supporters. Please, do not let excitement mongers discourage you from your noble work. Take care of your health which is the most valuable asset one possesses. I am sure that you have already received thousands of complimentary message from all over the world for the unique educational projects you under took and completed. This is just small addition to the messages.
I became aware of your work through the Parade article that appeared about your activities several years ago. Since then I have read the two heart rendering books you coauthored. Three Cups of Tea my wife and I read together and needless to say we enjoyed every page of it. We introduced your activities to our daughter and her two daughter, one of whom organized the Pennies campaign in her Elementary school. Our daughter gifted several copies of your Three Cups of Tea to her friends and associates. Our daughter, husband and two young daughters traveled some distance away from Boston City to attend your lecture and personally met with you after your lecture that they enjoyed very much. Similarly, our son has been a great admirer of you and your educational projects. It was 3 am in Boston when he called us in Ankara, 10 am, saying that he could not fall asleep because of the unfairness of the 60 Minutes program about your projects. We assured him that Mr. Greg Mortenson as a “clean” person and he will properly defend himself and will continue his noble activities in the field of education. I was correct in my statement about your future plans even before I and read the documents provided by the Central Asian Institute.
We all pray for a full recovery of your health and for continued success in your future educational activities.
Prof. Dr. Mohammed Mughisuddin
In light of the recent allegations from 60 Minutes, I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I appreciate the work you do. I’m not a huge donor (as a grad student, I don’t have much choice!), but I have contributed to the Central Asia Institute every year since I first read Three Cups of Tea. And I will continue to do so until there is no longer a need for CAI’s work. I sincerely believe that this recent event will not diminish the work of CAI, and I hope I am representative of all those who support CAI. Regardless, this accusation is nothing compared to what young men and women must deal with in Afghanistan and Pakistan on a daily basis. If they can find ways to pursue their dreams – in spite of the daily threat of physical violence and the obstacles that abject poverty presents – you all most certainly will.
Thank you for your work, and for helping so many people around the world, including me, realize the potential that each individual can have in changing the world.
Hello, Greg and all persons related to CAI,
I had heard only a day ago about the allegations dishonoring your name and work. Of coarse I was shocked, and convinced there was misinformation and unfounded, misinformed, out of context information blown out of proportion.
I have followed your work since the beginning, read all your books, your newsletters, given copies of your books to schools, teachers, and libraries in my area. I know your heart and profound integrity, your intention to do what is right, and I back you all the way. I am saddened to see what narrow minded, selfish, backward thinking individuals, have done to mar you work and reputation. They are small, shallow people just looking out for their own glory, 180 degrees from the man you are Greg…they look to make a name for themselves by trying to put down, show that a honest decent person does not exist. Well the result will exalt the work you do , and teach the world of your selflessness and humility.Too bad it will not change the greedy self-serving people.
I had no doubts, actually missed the 60 minutes broadcast, inadvertently, and happily so. I do thank you all for sending this Email, so I may extend it to anyone that may try to support the media, and I will defend you forever.
Greg my wishes thoughts and energy goes to you and your upcoming heart procedure, I am positive all will go well, and you will be recovered and back to your passion of helping others quickly. I do worry about your health when I read of what you endure on your missions. Please try to take good care of yourself, I often think I’d like to be by your side feeding, and nourishing you…however green tea is a wonder food, you prove that to me.
Love and peaceful thoughts to you, your family, your staff, I admire all of you, wish I could contribute more.
Salam, Greg Saheb
I am a physician in Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in Pakistan. Recent news in media is as disturbing to us as they may be disturbing to you. In this difficult time for you and your family I want to say few words to you. I want to say Thank you for helping poor people of Gilgit, Thank you for educating future mothers of our nation, Thank you for going to places in Pakistan where we did not go and our government did not go and spread the light of education. Thank you Greg Saheb from bottom of my heart.
M Azim Qureshi, PA
If only it was as easy to achieve great things as it is to criticize the work of others!
Please pass on my full support to Mr Mortenson for the spectacular work he has done with the CAI, and my very best wishes for a prompt recovery following his operation.
Just wanted to let Greg know that my wife and I stand whole heartedly behind him and his efforts as well as the entire organization. Hoping for a speedy recovery and a quick return to his projects. He is truly an inspiration to all of us.
It is rather depressing how some folks always have to find some “dirt” that they like to throw. I’m glad to see Greg casting it aside and forging on – the girls of the world need him!
Mark & Janet Holmes, NC
To Greg and Family most,
Whether pure truth, complete fabrication, or as with any good story somewhere between, “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools” have provided Americans and people around the world with inspiration to
concentrate on education, “first listening”, then action, without concentration on bean counting. The alternative is inhalation through war, headlines, and body counts. Not to compare your books to multiple versions of the Torah, The Bible, or The Koran, absolute factual recitation of the “facts” has never inspired the multitudes. Allegory inspires, and has for thousands of years.
Changing the world, one child at a time, is too large a burden for any one man, family, or institute to shoulder. However, you have all done more than your share. Let the storm pass. Care for each other. Let others join to pick up the work until such time as you are rested and whole.
Peace be with Greg, family, and all at CAI whether in America or the remote highlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I had the pleasure to hear you speak at TCU in Fort Worth back in January of 2011. You also graciously signed my copy of ‘Three Cups of Tea’. So many people in the world admire and respect you for your accomplishments. You continue to be an inspiring mentor to me as well as countless others for your courage and commitment to helping impoverished, Muslim little girls receive an education.
I am so angry at the allegations that have been made against you. In our society, it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. Don’t let the press or any jealous individuals get you down. Please have a full recovery from your surgery and get back to the Central Asia Institute soon. Your work is needed and admired. I’m looking forward to your next book and hearing about your next school. Keep up the fight for what’s right.
Dear Mr. Mortenson,
I just wanted to tell you that I have read both of your books (“Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones Into Schools”) and I consider them to be two of the most important communications in the world today (on the level of Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, about Dr. Paul Farmer’s work in medicine & hospitals in Haiti). I totally support and admire what you have done in both Pakistan and Afghanistan for education: especially for girls and also for both girls and boys. I have followed your career and the sacrifices that you have made in order to carry out your mission to promote education in these countries. I agree with your philosophy, as I see it: that the best way to help poor countries is through education, building and rebuilding, not bombs. I cannot imagine why “60 Minutes” wanted to criticize you, nor where they got that from, nor what it was based on. Frankly, it has made me disrespect that program, which I had thought used to be pretty honest and truth-seeking. I have noticed in my life that people, including me, who take initiative and responsibility for improving the world or a part of the world often get blamed for every little thing that goes wrong. That’s probably why most people do not dare make innovations, as people like you have done, as people like Martin Luther King did, compared to people who just go through life trying to be safe by not making waves.
I have faith that whatever people like those on 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer are trying to do will be overcome by the good that you have done in the world. With much admiration and thankfulness for all that you have done for the world today, I am.
Louisa Noble Drury, VT
I just want Greg, and all of you working in CAI, to know you have and will retain my 100 percent backing! You can be sure that when you set out to help, the dark side will be drawn to the ‘light’. As a retired military and civil pilot, I know well the problems of so many, and the remarkable work being done by yourselves, and others along the same lines, is in fact, the only way to get this World back on it’s feet.
We can do it! We must do it! That is a wonderful saying : “When it’s darkest, you can see the stars” O’How true!
A sure sign, the amount of evil behavoir taking place at present – parts of the media being heavily involved – that those trying to help all who are in need, are winning! All power to your elbows!!
Doug Johns, Cambridge, UK
Difficult times will try our patience and spiritual strength. I will not waver in my support of CAI and your mission. Keep the faith!!
A Child’s Eyes
a child’s eyes
Spirit of Life!
Light of Dreams,
I am writing to offer my support and encouragement regarding your work and against the 60 Minutes horrible piece on Three Cups of Tea and its author. I have never before been disappointed with 60 Minutes, but this piece will call into question their credibility on all future reports. Or- maybe I just won’t watch them anymore.
Having been a member of book clubs for many years, I am familiar with the difficulties classifying memoirs as fiction or non-fiction, and I understand how the lines can be blurred. Historiographers have been aware of this for years. The narrative impulse prevails at all times.
Whatever- Greg Mortenson has made a huge contribution as has the CAI, and the trite observations and the professional jealousy of his peers should not be allowed to destroy his reputation or your work.
Please don’t be discouraged!! Please continue your work.
Angela A Rapkin
I just wanted to let all of you and Mr. Mortenson know that I believe in and support your mission and work absolutely. You are all heroes, in the true sense of the word.
Keep up the amazing work!
Star Z, MI
I want you to know that I have been thinking about you the last few days and all you are going through. Betsy and I still support you 100%. We know your heart is in the right place and the mission of CAI is invaluable. We admire all you do and will stand by you until this blows over.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do.
Walker & Betsy Asserson
I am sad about this criticism. I support and am in constant e-mail contact with an an Afghan family from Bamiyan and from them I know the difficulties of living in that country and of working with tribal people.. how can any outsider be critical of Greg and his work. I can only guess that those people have no deep concept of how life is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I wish you a quick recovery so that you may continue to work so dear to your heart and so very important to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those who shoot arrows are always with us!
I just wanted to let you know that I was enraged to hear about what 60-minutes did to Greg & the CAI in the name of ratings. The CAI is one of the few organisations out there that is making a very big difference in the struggle in Pakistan & Afghanistan. When I taught International Current Events, the answer to all the problems we studied was always education. Greg knows this very well, and it appears the need is great that he continue speaking to the American public to educate them as well. I commend you for not stooping to the level of 60-Minutes by giving too-quick answers to their last-minute bombardment of questions that they could then have altered by taking out of context. I worry about the many people who watched this program and blindly believe all it said.
I wish you every success in your continued work. I am a friend of Nancy and the late Louis Dupree and as such, have an abiding interest in the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. As an elementary school teacher in London, Ontario, Canada, I hope to implement the Pennies for Peace program in my school next year.
Thank you for all the wonderful work you do and good luck with the operation, Greg.
Dear Greg and Associates – My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
In case you can use another affirmation, here’s one of mine:
“Thank you, God, for the good that will come from this!”
(O.K. to grit your teeth while saying it.) Works for me and I’m 91 years old.
Sent with love and blessings to you all.
Grace H Sparhawk
Dear Greg and all at CAI,
I am disheartened by the recent news coverage of Greg and CAI. Not because it shakes my confidence in your work, but I think it is an investigation in the wrong people and the wrong issue.
Why did 60 minutes run a program on CAI and Greg, while someone like Bristol Palin was paid 7 times what the “non-profit” agency spend on actually programing. http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/05/bristol-palin-profiteer-teen-pregnancy/
The reason 60 minutes did this is because its sensational, and will get ratings, not because its attempting to educate people. If they were, they would be exposing individuals like Bristol and others that have undoubtedly used such organizations for their personal gain.
I have worked overseas, and I know how difficult it is. I know that doing work in nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan calls for different methods, and sometimes the standards do not match with what we look for here in the US. Not because we don’t want to, but because sometimes it’s nearly impossible.
Quite frankly, I could care less if a quarter of the schools built are empty. You are doing work that others are unwilling or unable to do.
I am saddened by this report, and will continue to speak highly of you and your work, and will continue to support you.
Thank you Greg, Thank you CAI.
Please extend my wishes for a safe procedure and complete recovery to Mr. Mortensen. I and my family stand by him and CAI one hundred percent.
Thank you so very much for your response. Truthfully, I heard about the CBS program last week, and I had a momentary doubt. But on my own, with God, I resolved to trust my beliefs about your work and your purpose. This resolution was before your beautiful and elegant response. I have not sent you money in recent months only because of my own financial difficulties.
As soon as I am able, I will resume supporting your scholarship efforts. I am praying for your health and speedy recovery.
Thanks for letting me know about the allegations so if anyone discusses them with me, I can have an educated response. Recently attending a lecture in Norfolk, VA, Mr. Mortenson provided an excellent educational opportunity for my family. No amount of payment to him will compensate him for time away from his family and living a public life. We now know about the children around the world who live in slavery to make soccer balls – and the information has changed how we will purchase many products.
Of course the books are told through his filter – as are all books. Of course there is difficulty determining where the man stops and the organization starts because he has been the organization! Part man, part myth – as should be expected. Without mistakes along the way there could not have been so much progress. I believe that some schools may be empty, that people may no longer know who funded what, that the fact that some schools were being built paved the way for others to build schools. All part of being in a large organization that spans the globe.
God will bless your good works, but unfortunately you may not get to see the blessings in this life. God’s way of keeping each of us humble.
I have not watched or listened to a Network newscast, radio or TV for over two years and have no intentions of doing so. I have been putting my attention and my energy with people who are attempting to improve the wellness of people, which will improve the wellness of our planet also, there is no other answer. You are one of those people that I will continue to support. I have placed my trust in you and I follow your progress through e-mails and newsletters that you and CAI send out. It is because of your journey into that part of the world and your wanting to return, learn and make better, that I have a greater understanding of the people who live in that part of the world and a deeper understanding of what must be done. Wishing you the best that life is offering you.
Dear Greg and Family and Staff,
I just want to add my prayers and support to all of you during this time. There certainly seems to be something loose in the world sometimes, something destructive and evil. Those we imagine are friends may turn and attack us; our own humanness may cause a stumble from which it is difficult to recover. Please know that I and my family stand by you and your efforts to bring education to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Your books caused me to fall in love with the people in them; I have been benefited by you beyond what I can even tell. I pray for your healing and guidance as you navigate through difficulties and attacks. Stay strong and resolute, and know that most of us out here don’t believe everything the media presents; we trust you and support you.
I am so disappointed in CBS, and in Jon Krakauer. Greg Mortenson is a hero. Let’s just say he doesn’t handle the accounting the way CBS in all their philanthropic expertise feels they should. Do you really need to attack him in a lead story? There is a much bigger picture here – Mortenson’s passionate commitment to changing our world for the better through education. He has been extremely ill for two years, yet tirelessly travels the globe because no one but him can draw the crowds and raise that level of funding for CAI. So what if he makes a decent income for the security of his family? If we had more philanthropists that could do what he does for the under served and make a profit, the world would be a much better place.
To Greg Mortenson,
The 60 minute piece did seem a bit sided. Nothing is ever really as it seems in the news or TV, thus I take it all with a grain of salt. I hope you have a quick recovery and good rest and healing. I just had a kidney transplant so understand the throws of such surgeries. It’s a blessing tho. When I am back on my feet I will hope to be contributing to your cause.
We are so very sorry to hear of the problems and want you all and especially Greg to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers
John & Linda Galvin
We wish you well. Peace to you and your family.
Lyn & George
Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery. We need you in the world doing what you do. It beats guns and bombs. Too bad our government doesn’t get it.
Thank you for your recent email. I just want to assure you that you are in our thoughts and prayers here at St. Patrick School. Our students, two other teachers, the principal and I attended your talk at the Army War College in Carlisle. Yes, they were the 39 students in uniform in the second and third rows.
Unfortunately, fame has a price in personal attacks. However, know that we support your work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I selected your book for my students because it presents a positive view of Muslim culture. Not many Americans have lived in Asia and experienced interaction with Muslims. I have been blessed to live in Jerusalem and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
So, thank you for your work. You will be included in our prayer intentions.
Greg, I am praying that God will bless you and your surgeons. May your healing be complete and may you resume your work building schools in the Last Best Places as soon as possible. 60 Minutes is just another example of the biased liberal news media in our country. God bless.
Thank you for sending the email with Greg’s side of the story. I was not even aware of the 60 minutes piece. Fortunately, I read your email prior to going to work where several coworkers (whom I had recommended Three Cups of Tea to) told me about the 60 minutes allegations.
I only recently read Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools. I was so impressed with them and your work that I have been recommending them to many friends and acquaintances. After reading both books and looking at your website extensively, my immediate thought was that 60 minutes was wrong. I believe they are behaving in the usual media fashion; that is, getting a story is more important than getting the truth.
I have been involved in much humanitarian work in Guatemala. I know from my own experience how difficult it is to “get things done” and how much you have to bend to their culture to accomplish your goals. I am dismayed by the aspersions made by 60 minutes and the harm they can do to your work.
My purpose in writing you is to let you know that I am still behind you and admire your work tremendously. Please take heart. I hope you get a thousand emails of support.
Thank you for your letter, and I also watched the 60 Minutes show. However, I will not be rushed to judgment. The story in Three Cups Of Tea, is still very compelling to me and remains a much more persuasive argument for combatting Islamic terrorism than what our government is presently doing; Predator drones, Cruise missiles, military and civilian deaths, and billions of American dollars.
Whenever I have watched the 60 Minutes show present subjects with which I was familiar, I found them to be shrill, biased, argumentative, and just a notch above Jerry Springer. I suspect the business of raising money to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan probably started very slowly and eventually turned into a tsunami of cash. I suspect the administration of this eventual mountain of money may have overwhelmed the neophyte philanthropist. It could be explained by poor accounting practices. If, on further investigation, Greg is found to have been running a fraud, that will be discovered and dealt with. Unfortunately, I fear the education of young Muslim girls may have suffered a fatal setback.
Richard Nase, OR
I have spent the last 4 months giving “Listen to the Wind” to 110 elementary schools in SW Missouri. This is a very hard thing to do in this very conservative area. It takes at least 4 calls per school to find the right person to talk with and then explain in detail that it is not a political book, etc. I saw the 60 Minutes report and was a little worried although they certainly did not do a good job of backing up their report. I immediately sent an e-mail to our contributors challenging much of what they said before a friend sent me your e-mail response. Thank you so much for sending your response to 60 Minutes as well as the response from the CAI Board. This will be very helpful if any of the schools contact me. Greg-Best of luck with your medical care and thanks for speaking to the MSU students this fall and signing books for our small Peace Network of the Ozarks workers!! You are still my hero!! Also many thanks to all the Pennies staff.
Please be assured of my continued support. Your mission is so important.
God only blesses you and your staff, Greg. Rock throwing comes from jealousy. Our country Is in financial despair because of ourselves. We only have ourselves to blame. You know in your heart the good that has come from your agency. Sometimes we do have to move on, not that you are ready to make that kind of decision yet. You will know what to do. Take God care, Greg. I continue to support your endeavors, you have my trust.
Karleen Dellova, NH
There is a beautiful phrase, The Suffering Servant. It is a term offered by two brilliant writers, Barry and Ann Ulanov, on the subject of Envy. In it, in various ways, they describe little known information about this deadliest of the seven sins. Most graphically, the notion of a desire to kill that which is good, because the Envier feels empty of this feeling in them self. In the case of someone doing good, it is the servant doing their best to act in the name of good, who will suffer the attack of those empty of their own good deeds.
And so this brings me to Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, who this week is being crucified by a mob who would now want to kill his good name, his good deeds, and render him a liar and cheat. I have received Greg’s letter to those who support him and his cause to create schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In that statement, he counters each false statement being made. It was his decision not to place himself in an interview with “60 minutes”, because along with those who support him, they knew it would be under the banner of…You are guilty. Now you must prove you are innocent.
Greg Mortenson is going in for heart surgery this week, a hole in it has stopped his capacity to go on. This man who has worked tirelessly for 14 years will now be forced to rest and to heal. He vows to return to his service and to upholding his cause.
So, just to let you know, I am rallying whatever supportive resources I can. Blessings…and love.
I am appalled and angry that the media would grasp at straws to create a scandal for CAI. Never heard of Jon Krakauer and think he must be desperate to create a big story to promote himself. Can he prove any of his allegations of dates that are incorrect? Was he there? When and where did he find a source over there that wants to destroy CAI? Our thoughts and prayers are with you Greg through these trying times and a time when your health is vulnerable and you need rest.
Doris Ann Pierce, MD
Thank you for responding to the recent events. I was so shocked when I was listening to MSNBC last night to find out about the 60 minute program. I couldn’t believe that after all the years since the book was published that someone would come forth and say it was a lie. And I immediately thought the person has an axe to grind for whatever reason. I appreciate your comments and that of the CAI and plan on continuing to support and pray for you. Education in this crazy world is our only hope especially for girls and women.
Hope Greg feels well soon and takes the time to regain his health, before returning to the wonderful work you all do.
Dear CAI and Greg,
We fully support you and what you’re doing. 60 Minutes is famous for making accusations without consulting with the person or organization they are making the story about until the 11th hour. It’s “guilty until proven innocent” and it is very difficult to change the public opinion after such accusations, since one doesn’t have the audience that they have. We sympathize with you and your situation and will share this with anyone who watched the show and doesn’t understand. Good luck!
R & C
I have to admit that I was stunned on Sunday night watching 60 Minutes. Your attempts to explain these accusations to all your contributors, such as myself, are a good idea. I feel perfectly at ease with Greg benefiting personally from the two books he wrote – they have helped him become more known and therefore the Institute has received more funds. However, your institute needs to have more transparency and publicize financial statements more often.
Please keep up the good work.
Joyce H. Bol
Hi there. I just read Greg’s letter, and once more I understand that everywhere some journalism tries to spit over anything, just to “make rumor”. As a human being, and a pioneer in a hard land, Greg will surely have done many mistakes. But, as we say in Italy – and I’m sure there are similar sayings in all languages – only “he who doesn’t do anything doesn’t make any mistake” (in Italian: chi non fa non falla, but other forms are also common). Charity has its (running) costs, and I’d be surprised if 100% of fund raising would go to school building and maintenance. 80% is a fantastic share, but many charities never even cross 50%…
Best thing you could do would probably invite them to an Afghanistan trip, just to taste… But, obviously, no 4-5 stars hotels! You pay their travel, and they write what they see… Perhaps a new book, as I already read both Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools! Good luck, Greg, with your health. I’m waiting for your good
news! In bocca al lupo (in the wolf’s mouth… is just a wishing when someone has a difficult test!)
Thank you for the response. I just read about the allegations against you in the news today, and I had hard time believing what I was reading. I truly admire the work that you do and have done. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Wishing you strength and fighting spirit!!
Mr. Mortenson, and staff,
You are a good man, what you are doing/have done is admirable. Thank you all for doing what you do. I hope all is well with your heart surgery, it will be wondrous not being so tired all the time.
Barbara Auburn, OR
Here are a few comments I would like to direct to the ‘critics’, armchair or otherwise, of the work of this simple, decent humanitarian. As I am not an educated author & English is not my 1st language, I will try to be as ‘simple’ & clear as possible, so the critics ‘get’ it.
It is my understanding that part of how people who lecture ‘do’ in preparing to go forward with this ‘calling’ is establish a ‘story’ that becomes ‘their story’ to tell as they go forward in their work. It is their own story of where they come from, their background, what influenced them & how they came to do what they are doing. It is based on their personal experiences, as they lived them. One cannot ‘make this stuff up’. If they do so it rings as ‘fake’. If they do it is self-serving, & people see through that. They see it through the persons subsequent actions. The actions of a person prove this person is ‘real’ or not.
I question whether all you critics have even read any of Greg Mortenson’s books? I challenge you to read them before forming an opinion. Have the investigating critics ever ‘investigated’ if his many personal sacrifices are ‘real’ or not? Have those critics actually been to the remote, dangerous tribal areas where Mr. Mortenson & the team of the CAI go into? Have they? Really? CBS-I want proof of that. Prove to me you have been there.
It is irrelevant to me, who admires Greg Mortenson as much as I admire all great humanitarians, whether his ‘story’ is ‘absolutely, positively, 100% perfectly accurate’. It is not important to me whether he got his villages mixed up, what mountain he went up or down, who was or wasn’t with him, or whatever some envious former college has to ‘dish’ on him. I simply don’t care because Greg Mortenson’s subsequent actions are, in my opinion, what defines him.
It is absolutely irrelevant to me whether Mr. Mortenson used a ‘private jet’ for transportation, or travelled by oxcart, (which he has). With as crazy busy a schedule he keeps when he is in the US then I should think he has to use private jets on occasion. Did anyone bother to check if a donor might have allowed for the use of their jet(s)? I don’t see a conflict in that. Many people with crazy schedules travel like this & it is not as extravagant as you insinuate it to be. You paint him to be like some kind of a ‘Donald Trump’, ‘living it up’. I have met the man. That is not his ‘style’.
I believe in the work of Greg Mortenson & the Central Asia Institute. I’m not rich, but I am gladly a donor to the CAI and I will continue to be a donor & support his mission. I don’t care if Mr. Mortenson is/or has a lousy bookkeeper. That will get taken care of. The paperwork will be straightened out. Has not our very own mighty American Red Cross messed up in the past? Has not our army ‘misplaced’ millions in the whole Afghan/Iraq mess?
The fact of the matter is that the work Mr. Mortenson has done, in a neglected, forgotten part of this world, which is one of the cradles for recruiting of the very people who hate America, has made a positive difference in the lives of countless men, women & children and in how America is perceived in the eyes of the world. By not ‘going in’ with the usual American ‘better than everyone else’ attitude, by listening & respecting the history, the tribal customs, by slowing to their pace, we are invited to be part of positive changes in their society. Through the CAI we are showing them, with our actions, that the USA does have people who care, that we are not all intolerant, ignorant ‘haters’, that we are a diverse nation who respects/embraces differences and are willing to humbly learn what other cultures can teach us.
Dear Greg and family,
I took my younger son and grandsons to meet you when you were here in Santa Monica and I have pictures of them with you. So we know firsthand what a very special person you are! It brought tears as I read what has been happening to you. You are one of the few people I have complete trust in. To attack you on things as petty as what happened when you came off the mountain must be spurred by jealousy. And now to hear of your oxygen problems and to realize how hard that must be for you given all that you do, I am heartsick. I will do my bit in sending you healing vibrations and hope you will soon be as good as new. In the meantime, I will forward your email and see what I can do about other ways to stop this insidious smear campaign. Anything else I can do, please let me know.
Please do not lose heart. Your work is important enough, your purpose powerful enough, your message true enough, and it won’t crumble under the glare of a 14½ minute televised segment. That your courage and sheer strength of will carried you to this very moment in time, well, you are beyond heroic. Witnessing this attack is painful. Perhaps it is an opportunity to refine “our” mission so we can become even better and stronger than ever before? I don’t want to sound glib. Much of the world is gathering around you, right here, right now. We will help you rebuild again. No matter what it takes. No matter how long it takes.
Something profound is on the move, and all of us are being called to participate. Call the wind beneath your wings whatever you want, but there is simply too much of God-of-the-Holy-Spirit-and-Allah present, for this work not to continue robustly. It is one of the most important movements on our planet, and it’s going on in our lifetime! How amazing is that?! I’m sure you will continue to lead the way. This setback is just like one of the schools you worked so hard to build but got torn down by the foolish and ignorant. We will continue to join with you in rebuilding your schools and spreading your vision again…and again…and again.
On behalf of those who have hurt you, let me apologize for their ignorance. Personally, things like exactly when or how you entered Korphe doesn’t matter. Most of us are moved about descriptions like what Haji Ali asked of his village, and the steep sacrifice each eldest son had to make so they might have a bridge – to build the school – which would carry the education – that would last their lifetime – and their children’s. The moment their spirit met yours became the heart and soul of a new world. This is the “real” story! Maybe 60 Minutes can focus on this next time – it’s a much better story, and closer to the truth!
There is no doubt the world is a better place because of you, your work, your example. Keep the faith. Thank you for allowing me to be a small part.
Cindy Ewing, CA
I just wanted to write and say that I will continue to support CAI’s work despite the current allegations made by 60 Minutes. I believe Mr. Mortenson is neither a “villain” nor a “god”; rather, he is an exceptionally good person with some typically human flaws. However-that does not, in my opinion, detract in any way from the positive impact he has had on the world, an impact that is much greater and more profound than the vast majority of us can ever hope to make.
Keep up the good work.
I am really outraged at what “60 Minutes” did to you and your program last evening. You are my shining hero and I wish that our country would replace its program of war and weapons with non-violence and education. What many people do not know is that people in some parts of the world operate differently than we do. And there are always local critics who would like to undercut your program. Thank you for all that you have done for women and children in the Asia. I admired you greatly.
Dear Greg and members of CAI,
I have passed your email message on to my family and friends. I believe in you, the message of hope you spread, and the wonderful job you are doing. I will keep you in my prayers and will continue to support CAI. Stay strong!
Dear Greg, CAI Staff and others,
Evidently anything as worthwhile, successful and sincere as the work being done by CAI just can’t be true or so the media would have the world believe – keep up the good work and don’t let the smear campaign work.
And, my thoughts now are especially for you Greg – take care of yourself – not only for your own sake but for all those wonderful, sincere children who are gaining an education only because of your efforts – God Bless!