Sunday, March 13, 2011

Many local events lead up to March 29 talk in Cheyenne by activist and author Greg Mortenson

I try to spend some of that time I once devoted to Sunday morning mass to the contemplation of nature, spirituality and even organized religion.

While reading this morning’s Cheyenne paper, I saw an ad promoting the appearance of activist, educator and author Greg Mortenson. He wrote the acclaimed bestseller, “Three Cups of Tea,” about his experiences promoting primary education in Afghanistan. He will speak on Tuesday, March 29, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Taco John’s Event Center in Cheyenne. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for the general public.

Presented by these Cheyenne Community Partners: Laramie County Community College, LCCC Foundation’s Gerald and Jessie Chambers Speakers Series, Rotary International, Laramie County Library System and Foundation, Laramie County School District #1.

Great cooperation on this project by all levels of the public education system. That includes the library. Kudos to Rotary International. I admire their good work. So many selfless and community-minded organizations out there. The Lions work on behalf of better vision, the Shriners sponsor childhood learning disability clinics, the Kiwanis Club seems to do all the good things a community needs, such as the amazing free pancake breakfasts during Cheyenne Frontier Days. I find it compelling that a bunch of people can gather together to perform good works. Such a contentious age we live in, yet altruism continues. We must crave it.

A few words about Mortenson from the LCCC Foundation web site:
Greg Mortenson, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time," will share insightful commentary and stunning photography to educate and promote awareness of the importance of primary education, literacy and cross-cultural understanding about the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson has dedicated his life to bringing education where few education opportunities existed before. In 1996, he co-founded the Central Asia Institute with his wife, Tara Bishop, and since then has managed to construct 145 schools in the Middle East and bring educational opportunities to more than 64,000 students, including 52,000 girls. Mortenson’s extraordinary journey has had many hardships, but recently it also has brought international appreciation. In 2009, he was awarded the "Star of Pakistan" and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in both 2008 and 2009. FMI: 307.433.0024.
A number of events this month lead up to the March 29 event. Our family has been collecting pennies for Pennies for Peace. The library has focused many of its events around the concepts of altruism. Here’s one:
TEENS MAKE A DIFFERENCE, March 16, 6 p.m.: Join us for an evening with Judge Ronn Jeffrey as we explore ways you can impact your community in a positive way. Teens will have a chance to win a ticket to hear Greg Mortenson speak at the Taco John’s Event Center on March 29, 7 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your Pennies for Peace! (Grades 7-12 & parents, Cottonwood Room, 1st floor).
The library also will host a tea party on St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating tea-drinking cultures such as Ireland, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Very innovative. ON St. Patrick’s Day, many of us forget that the Irish also drink tea.  

LCCC has also planned a number of related events. This coming week is spring break on campus. But on Wednesday, March 23, these are scheduled:

Ethnic food tasting: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Center for Conferences & Institutes, Room 129/130. Food tasting limited to LCCC students and employees. Roundtable discussion: “Women and Islam in a Central Asian Context” with Dr. Marianne Kamp, Dr. Mohammed Salih and Arshi Nisley. 1-3 p.m., Center for Conferences & Institutes, Room 129/130.

See other events celebrating the work of Greg Mortenson

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