About Greg Mortenson


Learn More about Author Greg Mortenson

  • Co-founder of Central Asia Institute.
  • Founder of Pennies for Peace.
  • Co-author of Three Cups of Tea (New York Times Bestseller, 4 million copies, sold in 47 countries).
  • Author of Stones into Schools.
  • Received Pakistan’s highest civil award in 2009 for his effort in promoting education and literacy in rural areas for 15 years.
  • Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Born in Minnesota in 1957, grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania from the time he was 1 year old until he was 16.
  • Served in the U.S. Army in Germany in the late 1970s, receiving the Army Commendation Medal.
  • Graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1983.
  • In 1992 his sister died from a massive seizure after a lifelong struggle with epilepsy, prompting him to climb K2 in Pakistan in 1993 and, while recovering from his climb, he met some children who were writing in dirt with sticks. He promised to help them build a school.
  • This promise has grown into 145 schools in rural and sometimes volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to more than 68,000 children, including 52,000 girls.
  • In 1996 he survived an 8-day armed kidnapping by the Taliban.
  • In 2003 he escaped a firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for 8 hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory.
  • He has overcome fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured CIA investigations, received threats from fellow Americans after 9/11 for helping Muslim children with education.
  • He is a hero to the people, leaders, commanders, officials and tribal chiefs in rural communities of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • He is one of few foreigners who have worked extensively for 16 years in rural villages where few foreigners ever go.
  • He is also an advocate for the global abolishment of the manufacture and usage of land mines.
  • He lives in Montana with his wife, Dr. Tara Bishop, and their 2 young children.


Mary Joan Hahn
Community & Public Relations
Gonzaga University
(509) 313-6095