Thanks again to Silicon Prairie News for the opportunity to write about Greg Mortenson’s recent appearance at KANEKO. It’s always fun to write for SPN, and I was grateful to hear Greg speak live.

With most of these events, it’s always difficult to encapsulate everything from it. Here are some tidbits from the event that didn’t make the post in the end. (Click here to read the post on SPN.)

  • There was a lot of energy in the room before Greg spoke. When he simply walked into the room, before the event started, people were clapping for him.
  • The event benefited the Phoenix Academy. Before Greg spoke, six students from the Academy read aloud from Greg’s book, Listen to the Wind. Considering some of these students have issues with reading, it was amazing to see them read aloud, on a stage, with the spotlight on them, in front of 800 people. Great job by those kids.
  • When he met with local students earlier in the day, 66% of them said they were involved with some civic service. The only other place he’s seen that with students was Topeka, KS. He said that’s a good reflection on the area. Generally, it’s a lot less.
  • Landmines kill up to three kids a day in Afghanistan.
  • In 2001, less than 800,000 kids went to school in Afghanistan. Now, it is over 9 million, with 2.8 million being girls.
  • Child slavery is rampant today. Children often work for their food. There’s no reason for this, why a child can’t be in school and instead must be a slave worker or soldier.
  • For someone against the current form of the war on terrorism, Greg has been asked to speak a lot to various U.S. troops.
  • Dad helped establish a hospital in Africa when Greg was a boy. His dad was fired for wanting locals to run the hospital someday. His dad’s superiors didn’t think Africans were capable of running it. This left a mark on Greg, and is a reason he favors decentralization policies. And, that hospital? Locals do run it now.
  • 1 out of 3 children in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan villages die before they are one year old.
  • In 1990, 18% of college graduates wanted to make the world a better place. Now, it is 50%.
  • Education will help control the population explosion. In Bangladesh, female literacy has increased from 20% to 65%. Over the same time, the number of children females are having decreased from 8.5 to 2.8.
  • In a nice tone, he chided Congress over taking any kind of credit for some of the good things that are happening Afghanistan and Pakistan since they knew nothing about it.
  • There can either be educated patriots or illiterate fighters.
  • Every child should be bilingual.
  • Kids need to disconnect more and go outside and play.

As I’ve mentioned to people, Greg is one of few individuals I remember from a news profile. I’ve probably seen thousands of those profiles throughout my life, but only remember three distinctly. Those individuals were Ben Carson, Bill Porter and Greg Mortenson.

It was a great evening. To find out more about Greg Mortenson and his work, visit:
Central Asia Institute
Pennies for Peace

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