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February 11, 2010

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)

Best-selling Author Greg Mortenson to Speak at UT Tyler


Author of the bestsellers “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools,” Greg Mortenson will be the featured speaker at The University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center, Susan Thomae-Morphew, Cowan Center director, announced.

Mortenson will be featured in the Betty and Louis Allen Bower Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 12 at the UT Tyler Cowan Center. Media sponsors are CBS 19 and East Texas Radio Group.

Tickets go on sale Monday, March 15.

Prices are $16, $21, $31 and $36 and can be purchased online at www.cowancenter.org, by phone at 903.566.7424 or at the box office. Box office hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools” tell the story of Mortenson’s effort to build schools for poor villages in rural and often volatile areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As of 2010, 131 schools have been established and provide education for more than 58,000 children, including 48,000 girls, in areas where few educational opportunities existed before.

“We are happy that Mr. Mortensen agreed to come to the campus for this lecture,” said UT Tyler President Rodney H. Mabry. “He has a remarkable story on the importance everyone places in education. I hope the community will read his book, ‘Three Cups of Tea,’ so they can share in the experience of this man who has devoted much of his life to building schools for others.”

Marvin United Methodist Church will host a book signing 3 – 4 p.m. April 12.

Mortenson will take questions following the UT Tyler lecture, so the community is encouraged to read the book prior to his appearance so that there will be a thoughtful exchange of ideas, according to Thomae-Morphew.

“As a journalist, I dream of that ‘big’ story that changes a life and impacts our world. Reading Greg Mortenson’s ‘Three Cups of Tea’ and ‘Stones into Schools,’ I realized his is that BIG story,” said Betty Bower. “Greg’s vision of building schools to educate girls in remote Afghanistan/Pakistan villages resonates with my idea that educating girls changes their lives and impacts our world. It’s a 21st century version of ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.’”

A native of Montana, he grew up on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. His father founded the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and his mother founded the International School of Moshi.

In 1992, his sister died from a massive seizure after a lifelong battle with epilepsy. To honor his sister’s memory, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, which is the world’s second-highest mountain.

While recovering from the climb in a village called Korphe, he met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand. It was then that he made a promise to help them build a school.

From that sudden promise, grew a humanitarian campaign in which Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

His work has not been without difficulty.

In 1996, he survived an eight-day armed kidnapping by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province tribal areas, and in 2003 escaped a firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides headed to the leather-tanning factory.

In addition to his advocacy for female literacy and education, Mortenson is an advocate for the global abolishment of the manufacture and usage of landmines. He actively campaigns for the United States to join the 158

countries that have already signed the anti-landmine pact.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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