Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Books Rather Than Bombs

STONES INTO SCHOOLS by Greg Mortenson, author of THREE CUPS OF TEA is a worthwhile read IF:

you are interested in promoting global peace;
if you are interested in reconciling broken relationships;
if you believe books is a better way to promote global harmony than bombs;
if you are interest in human relationships and knowing people better;
if you are interesting in learning more about the Afghan-Pakistani part of the world;
if you are interested in increasing harmony between Christians and Muslims;
if you enjoy good stories and a well written book;
if you are interested in better understanding Islamic culture;
if you have interest in knowing more about U.S. military involvement with the Terrorism in that part of the world and … need I go on?

If any one of the above is true, this is book for you to read (388 pages). I am fortunate to have a sister-in-law who spent her life in diplomatic foreign service married to a Foreign Service Officer who was a Government expert in Chinese Affairs. She reads endlessly, new books, and sends them on to us. Thus, my delight when I found STONES INTO SCHOOLS, having just learned of it online.

Mortenson heads an organization called Central Asia Institute, which has established some 145 schools, mostly for girls, in remote northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. This humanitarian effort focuses on building relationships, empowering communities, and educating girls.

THREE CUPS OF TEA tells how this ordinary American stumbled into his redirected life of humanitarian service. STONES INTO SCHOOLS picks up the story when Mortenson gave his spoken word and handshake - a commitment to a Kirghiz tribal leader who had heard of his work. Located in one of Afghanistans most remote and difficult areas in the Wakhan Corridor, it takes a dozen years to fulfill that promise of a school in this “farthest out” location, building other schools en route, in stair-stepping fashion, to reach his primary objective of fulfilling his promise to his friend in that “farthest-out” community.

The book is interesting reading and easy to read, well researched and filled with references and helpful information like numerous internet sites for further information (e.g., www.stonesforschools.com), a glossary of terms of less-understood words, even suggestions for taking further action.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Tom Friedman of the New York Times (a prize-winning author) both recommend it, and the Admiral offers it as required reading for soldiers under his command, to enhance their understanding of fulfilling their duties.

The book is a Penguin Group, Viking publication of 2009; it is available at bookstores, libraries, and places like Amazon.com. Trudy Robin of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “Such acts of one individual can illuminate how to confront a foreign-policy dilemma more clearly than the prattle of politicians.”

I found it personally enlightening and certainly concur!
From Warner's World, I remain

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