2010-11: Stones into Schools

About Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by Greg Mortenson

The Author


Greg Mortenson is the co-founder of the Montana-based nonprofit Central Asia Institute, the founder of 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.”

His new book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan, was released in December 2009; it debuted as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Mortenson grew up near the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, from 1958 to 1973. His parents founded the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center and the International School Moshi.

A personal tragedy in 1992 changed the direction of his life. Mortenson’s sister died and to honor her memory the following year, Mortenson climbed K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, in the Karakoram Range of Pakistan. While recovering from climb-related illness in a village, he says, he met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand. Mortenson made a promise to village elders to help them build a school to repay their hospitality and generosity to him.  Mortenson has since dedicated his life to promote education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Book

‘Stones into Schools’ is the sequel to author Mortenson’s bestselling book, Three Cups of Tea.

Stones into Schools was published in December 2009 and picks up where his first book leaves off in late 2003. This book, told in first person, details his team’s persistent fundraising efforts for Mortenson’s nonprofit Central Asia Institute, the effects on Pakistani schools and his work to help formulate new strategic plans as a road map to peace.

Common Reading Event Series

The 2010-11 program features the Common Reading Tuesdays evening lecture series by faculty and other experts, the annual Invited Lecture, and many other events related to and based on themes from the book.  Total combined attendance at more than 20 events was 7,400 faculty, staff, students, and community members.

August 2010

16 – Sept 17 Exhibit of photos of contemporary Afghanistan by WSU Architecture faculty member Rafi Samizay, Terrell Library Atrium

24 Common Reading Tuesdays (CRT) Kick-Off: Screening of film The Kite Runner


16 – Sept 17 Exhibit of photos of contemporary Afghanistan by WSU Architecture faculty member Rafi Samizay, Terrell Library Atrium

24 Common Reading Tuesdays (CRT) Kick-Off: Screening of The Kite Runner

07 CRT: John Watkinson (Geology) on “The Himalaya: A Great Convergence of Tectonic Plates, Sanctuary, Myth, and Imagination”

CRT: Lipi Turner Rahman (History) on “Sufis, Ghazis, and Kalashnikovs: An Abbreviated History of Afghanistan”

30 The Global Studies Program hosted Zaher Wahab (Professor of Education, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon) on “Dispatches from Afghanistan: Secuity, Politics, and Beyond”


12 CRT: Panel on Islam by members of the local Islamic Community

26 CRT: Bashir Kazimee (Architecture) on “The Role of Environmental and Cultural Heritage in Rebuilding Afghan Cities”


02 CRT: Paul Thiers (Political Science, WSU Vancouver) on “Higher Education and Public Administration in Afghanistan: The Security/Stability Paradox”

09 CRT: WSU Veterans Panel with WSU student and faculty military veterans

CRT: Dan Dolan (Engineering) and students from Engineers without Borders on their work with Bridges to Prosperity

17, 18 Freshman Focus event: Hosted by four sections of Becky Dueben’s HD 205 class, participants are invited to be a living game piece in “Life as they Know It,” a hands-on role play about world-wide opportunities for education.

January 2011

18 CRT: Interactive Panel sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures on “Assembling a Toolkit for Global Exchange”

26 Common Reading Invited Lecture Day: Student Q&A session with Greg Mortenson, in the CUB’s Butch’s Den.

26 Common Reading Invited Lecture Day: Lecture by this year’s Common Reading book author Greg Mortenson, “Promoting Peace through Education,” followed by a book signing on the concourse


01 CRT: Vernette Doty (Center for Civic Engagement) and Candace Chenoweth (Study Abroad) on “What Can You Do to Make a Difference: Opportunities to Explore While You are Still a Student”

08 CRT: Michael Hayes (Education) on “Jordan Valley Solidarity Project: Building Schools in Palestine”

15 CRT: Lawrence Pintak (Communication) on “Disconnect: The Perception Gap Between America and the Muslim World”

22 CRT: Mark Mulder (Marketing) on “Making a Difference Through Business: How Business Can Make a Positive Difference in the World”

25-March 1 Photo Exhibit: Contempoary Afghanistan by Rafi Samizay (Architecture) exhibit


01 CRT: Rafi Samizay (Architecture) on aspects of reconstruction of development in Afghanistan

09 VPLAC event: National Geographic archeologist Fred Hiebert on “The Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan” sponsored by WSU’s Visual, Performing, and Literary Arts Committee (VPLAC)

22 Sharon Trautwein (recent UIdaho instructor) on “The Girl Effect”

14-15 The WSU Muslim Student Association hosts Islamic Awareness Week

29 Susan Dente Ross
(English) on peace journalism


05 CRT: Chris Pannkuk (International Programs) on “Afghanistan Alternative Livelihoods” on WSU’s development work in Central Asia

12 Film Screening: Pamela Thoma (Women’s Studies) and students in her WSt 200 class presented a screening of the documentary The Beauty Academy of Kabul and led a discussion

19 Chad Hamill (Music) and Carol Ivory (Fine Arts) on Afghan traditions in music and visual arts at 7 p.m., Todd 216

21 Cougs Care
celebration of community service by CCE