Greg Mortenson is the co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute, Pennies For Peace, and co-author of New York Times bestseller “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time,” the Time Magazine Asia Book of the Year.
Mortenson, who attended Concordia, was born in Minnesota and grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, where his father founded the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center and his mother founded the International School Moshi. In 1993, to honor his sister’s memory, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the Karakoram range. He became lost and ill and recovered in the local village Korphe, where he met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks. He promised to help them build a school.
As of 2007, Mortenson has established over 61 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, educating more than 25,000 children, including 14,000 girls. His cross-cultural expertise has brought him to speak in Washington, D.C., libraries, outdoor groups, universities, schools and more. While not overseas, Mortenson, 49, lives in Bozeman, Mont., with his wife, Dr. Tara Bishop, a clinical psychologist, and their two children.