National Education Association Bestows Human & Civil Rights Honor on Greg Mortenson

Tha National Education Association, in conjunction with their national Representaive Assembly, is giving Greg Mortenson (Nobel Peace Prize nominee and New York Times #1 best-selling author of the book Three Cups of Tea) a Human & Civil Rights Award to honor his work in education and equal opportunity for women and girls.

Washington, DC, June 25, 2009 --( Nation’s educators to honor ‘Three Cups of Tea’ author Greg Mortenson.

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest organization of school employees, will honor humanitarian Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time, with a special Human and Civil Rights Award at the Association’s Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., on July 2. Mortenson will receive the Mary Hatwood Futrell Award, named in honor of a former NEA president.

“Greg Mortenson’s book is an outstanding and inspirational story of the possible,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Every student in America’s public schools should receive a copy to learn firsthand what one person can truly do to make a difference in the world.”

Mortenson’s book has topped The New York Times bestseller list for the past two years. He is known internationally for creating schools in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Through the Central Asia Institute (CAI), Mortenson has worked with villagers to build more than 80 schools and employ local teachers.

Mortenson’s groundbreaking work in Central Asia has shown not only that relationship-building is critical to a safer world, but that educating girls is critical for reducing infant mortality and ensuring greater peace for this generation and the next.

Mortenson also established Pennies for Peace (P4P) to educate schoolchildren in the U.S. about the world beyond their experience and to show them they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time. Last year, P4P raised more than 100 million pennies—$1 million.

Mortenson’s humanitarian work grew out of his gratitude to members of Pakistan’s Korphe village, who nursed him back to health from a near-death experience after his 1993 attempt to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain. Seeing Korphe children writing their lessons in the dirt with sticks, he realized how much they wanted to learn and how little was available in the village to satisfy and expand their desire for learning.

Mortenson received Pakistan’s highest civil award, Sitara-e-Pakistan (“Star of Pakistan”) for his efforts to promote education and literacy. He is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

The NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards program honors individuals and organizations that promote peace and advance social and economic justice for all people. The Mary Hatwood Futrell Award is given to a nominee whose activities make a significant impact on education and on the achievement of equal opportunity for women and girls.


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

For More Information Contact: Cynthia Kain (202) 213-5971,
Central Asia Institute
Christiane Leitinger