Three Cups of Tea
With the selection of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin's Three Cups of Tea, KCC Reads / Common Reading turns a page. The book, written by Ed Rollin, is the amazing story of Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber, and his single minded attempt to build a school for girls in a tiny village in remote Taliban infested Pakistan never visited by a Westerner before - Korphe. Mortenson was initially responding to the hospitality and generosity - in the midst of extreme poverty - that he met in Korphe when he stumbled into the village after a failed attempt to climb K2, the second most daunting of all mountains for the experienced climbers the world over. Fifteen years later, Mortenson has built eighty-one schools - most for girls - in Pakistan, another forty-nine in 'Afghanistan, literacy centers in Kabul, and in their wake, created a fount of good will that has eluded our own dollars and governmental efforts to support education and development in the region. Members of congress recently nominated Mortenson for a Nobel Peace Prize.
And the building of schools has brought with it other unintended but welcome side effects. Although Mortenson's schools typically run through the fifth grade, the areas in which schools are functioning have seen a decrease in family size, in infant mortality, and in the recruitment of young men into extremist jihadi groups!
KCC Reads / Common Reading "turns a page" because this year the activities and programs created around Three Cups of Tea, in keeping with the powerful message of the book itself, will include service opportunities in Brooklyn and even abroad -- service that will be honored in a variety of ways by teachers and by the college, that will enhance a resume, and that, first and foremost, will bring the joy and sense of accomplishment that is its own real reward. The forty plus websites you can click under the headings to your left, and , include activities in many career areas. Some sites ask you for your work preference as a voluneer. Browse the sites and think, too, about the excitement of getting to know people you will otherwise never have met, places you will otherwise never have visited, contacts you will never have made otherwise.Teachers who wish to use this book in the classroom can call 5029, the office of Vice Provost Fakhari, for free books (as long as they last).
We have tried to design this website and the larger program of KCC Reads / Common Reading in ways that will appeal to all members of the larger college community, whether we are students and teachers, adminstrators, or people who work in offices or elsewhere on the college grounds. And we have also tried to provide teachers with a host of supports that are targeted to the different disciplines (research bibliography, maps, timelines, discussion questions) in order to deepen the classroom exploration of the book and facilitate assignments and papers. Click to see an array of full text articles organized around specific themes that may be of value to your class. Click to get a sense of the program planned for this Fall and Spring. Meet Mortenson himself when you click on his YouTube interviews to your left, and we hope, in person.
There are so many ways to do service. Our students in ceramic classes are in the midst of creating hundreds and hundreds of teacups in our their studios. Graphic design studetns are workiing on art posters that will be exhibited throughoutthecollege and published in the KCC Reads print journal. Money we raise from the sale of teacups and in other ways will go to the building of Mortenson's next girl's school in remote Pakistan / Afghanistan. We plan a library project to collect and send books to schools in this area. With every act of service, let's think of the generosity of Korphe's villagers and how it inspired a growing network of schools that are bringing literacy and leadership, improved maternal health and even better water to some of the poorest people on earth. Let's think about the effect of educating girls (see video above) on their families, on the society and on the economy. Let us salute the new skills and the dreams and hopes that come with them: dreams and hopes that are the first and best defense against the extremism and terrorism that plague this region.