Greg Mortenson, co-author of New York Times best-seller "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission To Fight Terrorism & Build Nations...One School At A Time" will be a presenter at Winona's second annual Frozen River Film Festival in January. Mortenson approached the organizers of the FRFF, after hearing about the festival's emphasis on world cultures and environmental integrity, and asked to participate.
Mortenson is the founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute. For the Frozen River Film Festival Mortenson will talk about his work and give a presentation highlighting photos of remote villages where he has become a familiar figure. This talk is in conjunction with the Women and Gender Studies program at WSU. Mortenson will also appear at an informal breakfast where people can discuss his work and ask questions. He is a Minnesota native with relatives in the Winona region.
Tom Brokaw stated in his review of Mortenson's book: "Three Cups of Tea is one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time. Greg Mortenson's dangerous and difficult quest to build schools in the wildest parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan is not only a thrilling read, it's proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world." This inspiring, adventure-filled book is an incredible story of a humanitarian endeavor. Mortenson was nursed back to health by Himalayan villagers when he became lost in the area of K2 and almost frozen to death. The book goes on to describe how he discovered the village had no school and needed to share a teacher with 3 other villages. He quietly promised himself he would build his rescuers a school. That was the beginning of the Central Asia Institute, which to date has built 55 schools in Central Asia, most in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Each one of the Institute's projects is locally initiated, guided by a committee of elders, and the community must match project funds with equal amounts of local resources and labor. This commitment ensures a project's viability and long term success.
To attend Greg Mortenson's talk, a Festival pass is required. The Frozen River Film Festival, a Theatre du Mississippi project, will take place on the campus of Winona State University January 25-28, 2007. Independent and documentary films on world culture, environmental issues, and adventure sports will be shown, along with various workshops, speakers, community breakfasts, and a concert by John Gorka. For complete information, please visit the web site at www.frozenriver.org.