Lately I have been extremely interested in Greg Mortenson's programs: Pennies for Peace and the Central Asia Institute.
The Central Asia Institute (http://www.ikat.org/) has a mission statement of:
"To promote and provide community-based education and literacy programs,
especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Central Asia."
The CAI seems to be interested in something which I am completely passionate about: Mountain cultures. More specifically, I am so interested in how topography effects the development of culture, especially in mountainous regions. Mortenson also started another organization called Pennies for Peace.
Below is an excerpt from Pennies for Peace (http://www.penniesforpeace.org/home.html):
...to Pennies for Peace, a program of Central Asia Institute (CAI).
Pennies for Peace educates American children about the world beyond their experience and shows them that they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time.
Our best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages American children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace.
What is the Power of a Penny?
The penny, 1% of a dollar, is symbolic of the '1% of Gross Domestic Product' goal set by the United Nations. The goal was for wealthy countries to give foreign aid to impoverished nations each year.
Pennies for Peace teaches children the rewards of sharing and working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A penny in the United States is virtually worthless, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.
Please join us in Pennies for Peace!
These two programs seem to be contributing towards/highlighting positive change in Asia. Funny thing, I was cleaning out my cabin at NCOBS for the season a few weeks ago and I kept finding all of these spare pennies. I thought to myself: "I should look in to starting a NPO called 'Pennies for Peace,' I wonder if that name is taken?" So I hopped online, and within minutes I had discovered that the name was already taken. A few seconds after that, I thought "Right on, someone beat me to the punch- and what an amazing 'punch' this really is, how can I contribute?"
So, I am still thinking about all of this. I hope that our future generations of American (United States, Canadian, Mexican, Central and South American) children will all have positive/healthy opportunities to learn more about the importance of these eastern cultures and about their own cultures, and how these different groups may interact to be allies for one another, instead of adversaries. Just a thought...
At any rate, I just ordered 3 Cups of Tea, written by Mortenson. It is supposedly a chronicle of how these programs came about and sheds light on the man who is Greg Mortenson. If anyone else has read this book already, please feel free to leave a comment or two about your impressions of the book, the organizations- anything that can help you and me learn about how we, as one of the most privileged countries in the world can be a serious and genuine ally for everyone.
I am also really interested in this book simply for its references to K2 - the second highest (and often considered the deadliest) peak on our planet earth.
Information about K2& the Karakoram Mountains:
Wikipedia Karakoram information
Karakoram essays, photos and resources
A link to Google Images search of Karakoram
It's my big brother's birthday today! WooHoo! Happy Birthday Aaron! He turns 31 today...
I am so blessed and happy to be in Seattle to help him celebrate!
Likewise, as my west coast visit for 2007 draws to an end, I am excited to see my friends and family back on the east coast. I look forward to some quality catch up time with folks, climbing, and preparing for a season with NCOBS in the Florida Everglades...