Author Mortenson to lecture at MSU

Humanitarian and Nobel Prize-nominee Greg Mortenson, author of the best-selling “Three Cups of Tea,” will lecture at Mississippi State tonight
The 7 p.m. event in Humphrey Coliseum is sponsored by the university’s common freshman reading program, Maroon Edition, and by the Shackouls Honors College and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The event is free to the public, but will require a ticket for admission. For more information, see Tickets are available at the Barnes and Noble customer service desk, the Campus Activities Board office and the College of Arts and Sciences [208 Allen Hall].
Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea,” which was a New York Times No. 1 book, recounts his failed 1993 attempt to scale one of the highest peaks in Pakistan. In the wake of his nearly fatal climb, he was nurtured by the villagers of a remote mountain village, where he observed children doing their school work outdoors, writing their lessons with a stick in the dirt.
From that experience, he vowed to return to build a school. His effort grew into the nonprofit Central Asia Institute, which to date has built or supported more than 130 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A related Pennies for Peace initiative [] encourages school children worldwide to contribute their pennies to the school-building efforts.
The story of Mortenson’s commitment has resonated with adults and children alike, with young adult and children’s versions of the book also available. To date, “Three Cups of Tea” has sold more than 3.5 million copies and has been published in 39 countries.
“This is an outstanding example of one person’s commitment making a huge difference in the lives of many young children, especially young girls,” said Linda Morse, chair of MSU’s Maroon Edition committee.
“Reading the book has given our university community an exposure to the culture, challenges, and lives of a country that has been very much in the news recently,” she added.
Related activities connected to MSU’s freshman reading program have included an essay competition, as well as lectures about subjects that range from the geography of Pakistan and Afghanistan to women and religion in the region. The art department is sponsoring a Sept. 7-Oct. 28 national invitational exhibition of cups tied to the “Three Cups of Tea” theme.
In addition, Maroon Edition volunteers again are assisting with a local Habitat for Humanity build, as well as collecting backpacks and school supplies for schoolchildren in Afghanistan through the Lamia Afghan Foundation []
Related to the children’s book, “Listen to the Wind,” MSU First Lady Rhonda Keenum initiated a statewide book-sharing with children via MSU Extension sites.
“There’s been overwhelming support from the university and Starkville community for Greg Mortenson’s books,” Morse said, noting that Starkville Reads also has adopted the book and is a partner in a number of local events.
“Those who have read the book certainly will want to hear what Mr. Mortenson has to say,” she concluded.