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NOW on the News with Maria Hinojosa

Greg Mortenson on Building Schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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This week, Maria Hinojosa speaks with humanitarian Greg Mortenson about his efforts to educate children, particularly girls, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortenson also shares his views on this week's arrest of a former Taliban defense minister.

Interview Excerpts

"If you look at 9/11 highjackers, certainly they were educated, some even had university degrees, but nobody really checked their mothers, who were nearly all illiterate."

"The international community, the Pakistan and Afghan governments and the U.S. really failed to go to the next level and provide education to the children."

"[Mullahs and Imams] are even more antagonistic towards girls going to schools because they do know if the girls have an education, they pretty much have lost their power."

"If we put one percent of the money that we put in the war on terror into education, it could have a profound difference."

About Greg Mortenson

Mortenson Greg Mortenson grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania from 1958 to 1973. He served as a medic in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Cold War, where he received the Army Commendation Medal.

Mortenson's lifelong interest in mountaineering culminated in a 1993 climb of Pakistan's treacherous K2, the world's second highest mountain. Since then, Mortenson has dedicated his life to promoting education, especially for girls, in remote, often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mortensen has established over 58 schools through his nonprofit, Central Asia Institute, which provides education to over 24,000 children (including about 14,000 girls), in areas where children previously had few education opportunities. Mortenson is also the founder of Pennies for Peace, an organization that 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. While not overseas, Mortenson lives in Montana with his wife and two young children. He is the author of "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time."

* Photographs of Mortenson courtesy of Central Asian Institute

Related Links

» Central Asian Institute

» Pennies for Peace

» Three Cups of Tea

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