Building With Books

Lessons from the Central Asia Institute

Shahida, 10 wearing her best head scarf for Mortenson's visit.

Building with Books

The work of the Central Asia Institute

The War on Terror has become an accepted term in modern consciousness. A slogan synonymous with military solutions that are nothing more than a War of Terror to less educated inhabitants of a region of the world blamed for this modern phenomena.

To Greg Mortenson, director of the not for profit Montana based organisation the Central Asia Institute (CAI), the answer is education; a dream he has steadily built and realised over the last sixteen years.

“Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen's idea is that you can change a culture by giving its girls the tools to grow up educated so they can help themselves. It was amazing to see the idea in action, working so well after only a generation, and it fired me up to fight for girls education in Pakistan.” Greg MortensonThree Cups of Tea

Extremism is an entity that thrives on ignorance, illiteracy and poverty; a direction for those without options (Herz and Sperling 2004). Education, particularly for girls, has such immediate and far reaching benefits which are exemplified in the work of Mortenson and the CAI. Their stated mission: To empower communities of Central Asia through literacy and education, especially for girls, promote peace through education and convey the importance of these activities globally.