Greg Mortenson, 2008 National Awards for Citizen Diplomacy Honoree
Greg Mortenson, Bozeman Montana
A Cash Donation in honor of Greg Mortenson will be donated to Pennies for Peace, a program of the Central Asia Institute. Pennies for Peace educates American children about the world beyond their experiences and shows them that they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time. 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. For more information about Pennies for Peace, log on towww.penniesforpeace.org.
- Nominator: Denise Essman, Advocate
- Category: Education
Co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, Pennies for Peace and co-author of New York Times best-seller, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson’s humanitarian campaign began following a mountain climb in Pakistan. While there, he met a group of children, who inspired him to build a school. As of 2007, Mortenson has built more than 64 schools in rural, often volatile, regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has helped over 25,000 children, including 14,000 girls, gain a balanced, non-extremist education.
Commitment & Impact
Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, government officials and tribal chiefs through his tireless efforts to champion education, especially for girls.
He is one of few foreigners who has worked extensively for fifteen years (spending over 65 months during 34 trips) in the region now considered the front lines of the war on terror.
His cross-cultural expertise has brought him to Capitol Hill where he participates in think tanks, speaks at the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, libraries, outdoor groups, universities, schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, business and civic groups, women's organizations and more. From March 2006 through 2007, he has visited over 110 U.S. cities to share his message of peace through education.
- “One ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, who is really changing the world.” Tom Brokaw, former NBC Nightly News anchor.
- "I've learned more from Greg Mortenson about the causes of terrorism than I did during all our briefings on Capitol Hill. He is a true hero, whose courage and compassion exemplifies the true ideals of the American spirit.” Mary Bono, California Republican Representative.
- “Mortenson doesn’t just climb mountains. He moves them, and through his courage, he gives hope and has changed the lives of thousands of impoverished children in a region of turmoil.” Al Neuharth, founder of USA Todayand the Freedom Forum.
Mortenson grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania from 1958 to 1973. His father started the Good Samaritan Foundation, and founded Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, a 480 bed teaching hospital and his mother founded the International School Moshi. Mortenson served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Cold War, where he received the Army Commendation Medal and later graduated from the University of South Dakota and pursued graduate studies in neurophysiology.