Thank you all, for your support

 Greg Mortenson 

I would like to say shukria for the overwhelming response to the CBSshow “60 Minutes”, which has said that I have exaggerated my work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the midst of these difficult and challenging days, I keep thinking about the Persian proverb, “When it is darkest, you can see the stars”.

Although we would like the world to be orderly and peaceful, the reality is that our world is a dynamic, fluid place, often filled with chaos.  In that space, I thrive and get the courage to help bring change. I also feel great pride that so many people have chosen to support those who live in the ‘Last Best Places’, where other organisations or governments offer few or no services.

I welcome and am used to facing criticism, which sometimes even turns into hostility, over the important work we do in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As an introvert, it is also not easy to have to enter an arena of a media circus at the drop of a heartbeat. But, as those of you who know me and have supported my work over the years will recognise, the story framed by “60 Minutes” — as far as we can tell — paints a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo and a microscopic focus on one year’s (2009) IRS 990 financial, and a few points in Three Cups of Tea, that occurred almost 18 years ago. Apparently, the CBS programme is to be followed in the near future by a similar negative piece by journalist Jon Krakauer in an unknown magazine.

The board of directors of the Central Asia Institute and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with “60 Minutes” on camera, after they attempted an eleventh-hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book-signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta. It was clear that the programme’s disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission. We also turned down a last minute request for an interview with Jon Krakauer.

“60 Minutes” may appear to ask simple questions, but the answers are often complex, not easily encapsulated in 10-second sound bites. We work in isolated areas, in communities that are not on any map, and often in areas of turmoil, religious extremism or natural disasters where education is still relatively rare and ancient codes of conduct and social hierarchies still dominate — all these things demand constant adjustment, accommodation and patience. We have always maintained that our work is about investing in relationships, respecting elders and in listening, and is not in one that lasts just a few minutes on prime time television.

So although I did not do an on-camera interview, the board of directors and I have duly responded to questions provided us late last week by “60 Minutes” with both statements and answers. And, as always, we pride ourselves to be transparent with our financials and IRS 990 forms. I also recently returned from Afghanistan and was amazed to see how well everything is going there, including having five female managers (out of 15 total) and a plan to establish and build over 60 new schools this year.

(This article has been adapted from a longer message sent out by Greg Mortenson via email to friends and supporters. It is being published  after receiving Mr Mortenson’s permission).

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th,  2011.


About Pamir Times

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26 Responses to Thank you all, for your support

  1. Pingback: Thank you all, for your support | Tea Break

  2. Greg Mortenson,has a highly contribution for the isolated region of Pakistan and Afghanistan,
    Particularly for Education, in chaperon and wakhan I personally visited the projects in wakhan which really reflects in is new book” Stone in to school”. I strongly recommended you to read the book .
    Thanks to pamir times for such a nice news!

  3. Abdul Waheed says:

    Central Asian Institute for Educational Development is a non-for profit organization run by a group of philanthropists. People may criticize, agencies may investigate but the practical works are in its place every where surrounding ROOF OF THE WORLD. As a development agent I have been visited both Chipurson Gojal and the far-flung valleys of Yasin and Ishkoman. Formation of educational committees and construction of schools by following participatory approach for development is a success story in its place. Contribution for access and even quality education is an achievement for Greg Mortenson and his team. We the mountain people appreciate their efforts and contribution for educational development.
    thans a lot.

  4. Tawakal Ali says:

    Central Asian Institute is a non profitable institute which help the peoples of Gojal,Gizar,Afghanastan,Tajikistan,wakhan and also in pamir sides,during attatabad Disaster first institution to give Shelter to attabad peoples and also working for the education of Females of Gilgit Baltistan,even this institution help Financially to the people of Chipurson thanks to all the team or manangement of This organization

  5. Jojon says:

    ????????????????????????????

    Besides all we know and see

    ??????????????????

    What is this

  6. Thank you PT for running multiple viewpoints on this story.

  7. Nisar Malik says:

    Anyone doing any good for anyone … is a unique gift to humanity in these very corrupt and trying times. I saw the CBS 60 Minutes program and have to say that it did raise some difficult questions … questions that CAI and Mr. Mortenson should answer because if they have nothing to hide .. they should not be afraid to speak with anyone. Not talking to the press and then making statements after the event always raises unnecessary questions and raises doubts. When one becomes a public personality then they must answer all doubts and questions raised. CBS is a respected organization and no matter how they approached Mr. Mortenson … he should have answered then in the program so that his supporters could see how he handled the criticism.

    As far as CAI and Mr. Mortenson’s work is concerned, we all welcome such efforts because we have seen how little is done for these remote communities and all and any help is welcomed and very much appreciated.

    I hope this program or the news that is yet to follow is dealt with in the proper way, it should not become a boxing match, in fact CAI and Mr. Mortenson should use this opportunity to create an awareness in all the people involved so that we can all learn and participate is such good projects.

    If this project and what Mr. Mortenson is doing is really a great job then why should it be limited and a well guarded secret … why does CAI and Mr. Mortenson not share it with the Agha Khan network, with other respected NGO’s …. so that more and more remote communities benefit from this goodness and it is not limited to a lucky few communities.

  8. Spo Shum Naseeb says:

    Thanks Waheed sahib , Mehrban sahib and Tawakal Sahib
    we must appriciate CAI for doing all his best in Education sector but are u all aware of the recent problems faced by the Students in Pindi Hostels under CAI , they have faced two times attack by a group of guys and are u all aware of where the Female Students are now

    For ur kind information mr Greg the Students are at their relatives houses in the strange city and the most important point is that their papers are on their head

    What have u decided about their future and i am sure that the Currupt and un educated Directors of CAI have not informed u about this problem.

    One of your directors has recently purchased a bangala in Islamabad for 1 and half Crore and he has 3 PRADOS each costs 35 lakh PKR and i am sure that CAI wouldn’t pay that much Salary to him where is education is Zero

    Think of those Dozeens of Female Students Suffering in Pindi under the scholarship of CAI

  9. Saidullah Baig. says:

    Respected Greg,
    It is not the first time for Central Asia Institute to face this kind of Blames againest our organization. Let them to visit our oprational areas and see the work of CAI. Seating in the airconditioned room and blaming some body is so easy, but working in such diffecult part of the world is not so easy. I am chalanging “60 minute” to just make time and visit only one valley. I hope they will realy opolgies by them self and will fell shame that to whom they are blaming. Thy will dafinatly say GREG is angel for the remote areas of Pakistan and Afganistan.

    Greg, Our last drop of blood is for your cause of promoting Education in the remote Vallies of Pakistan and Afganistan. So many Prays from Ghizar and Gojal Valleys.
    I also thank those who helped us and helping CAI with their Donations, I asure you all You will see The Schools and Vocational Centers which are helping in the remote areas. That is not in those areas where CBN or other Midias can go easely because CAI’s focuse is not in city areas. You will see our projects on the end of the road. Hundreds of female student are studying on CAI’s scholarship which is not an easy job. We are not in favour of paper prof. If some one have any question Please come and visit our projects areas and decide what is CAI, Who is Greg Mortenson and what is our mition.
    God bless you Greg.

    • karim Hayat says:

      Dear Saidullah Baig and his team in Pakistan,
      You have done a job where other people can only dream.For those who can only talk, ;they must see the woorld in a diffrent way;I am sure they will understand.
      Mr. Said, ”What ever you can do, or think you can do……begin it, For boldness you have power and genius in it;
      Mr. Greg Mortenson, the man of the world, i would like say something about what you have done for the needy girls in the entir areas, please accept it if possible.;;Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves;;God bless you all, and please keep it up.

  10. Sarfraz khan says:

    THANK YOU. SPO SHUM NAEEIB, you ar Roning. i have 3 bangala in Islamabad and 5 PRADOS. yas all world now i am un educated. but i am A PROGRAMs and OPERATIONS DIRECTOR PAKISTAN,AFGHANISTAN and TAJIKISTAN.
    YOU M or F
    Thanks
    my Name SARFRAZ KHAN
    from CHIPURSON

  11. TAWAKAL ALI says:

    Dear spo shum naseeb,,,,,,,first of all see that most of educated peoples who are working in different NGOs WHAT THE DID FOR GILGIT BILTISTAN specially for GOJAL????????
    We are proud to be CAI that the help for our students >>>>>>
    Due to my knowledge there was no any big problem in Rawalpindi most of (Free Peoples involve on this case who have no work)?????
    the most real and fact ,,,,,,so plz we should try to see what me and you doing ???what is our responsibilites ????& what is our canturbution for our Area??

  12. Mehmood says:

    Thanks Sarfraz. You finally admitted that you are uneducated. Yes, you are Program and Operation Director for three countries – no doubt about that. Can tell us what will be the future of education in those countries where uneducated people are leading an organisation that works in the field of education.

    You have now made enough money so please quit the job and let any educated person come and lead the organisation.

  13. karim Hayat says:

    Hey Spo Shum Nassib,
    Do you think your criticism is possitive in a way, if not please be aware of it.
    karim

  14. Jojon says:

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a confession, What a support and what an organization where competence seems to have no place. What programs and what sort of operations would be there?

    We can see and imagine the programs such as the recent one in Rawalpindi involving female students, most of them dropped out, low-graders and seem to have hand picked

    I doubt those supporting the management of CAI. These guys seem one way or the other benefited by CAI otherwise no serious mind can support such organizations.

    I am not a development professional but a moderately educated person having 20 years of finance and management background who can understand and study how organizations work.

    I am astonished to know how can a person of this stature lead such important functions of an international organization without a proper office, expertise, education and training.

    Mr. Greg, your team seems to have some supernormal abilities!

    WOW!

  15. KIM DEW says:

    Dear Readers,

    Today I got an opportunity to hear an amazing story about CAI, which a Non-Profit Organization, and the story is only a fabricated and useless attempt to
    blame the organization and its heard working staff who have devoted their life to spread the rays of enlighten and moderate education in those area where there was no sign of Educational institute or system of education where people can send there children to get education……. this is the only reputable NGo of the world which has a lot of accreditation and received my Honorable Awards and Prizes due to its fair and transparent work in the field of education

    Well we all are in the 21st century where we have seen thousands of such rumors and propagandas but here my participation is to comment on the other friend’s opinion who thinks they are more educated, and let me share with you that you people are misusing the electronic media. One of the rigid and fanatic participants is unaware of his doing. It’s totally illegal and trying to defame the organization and the Staff.

    CAI has provide the basic health care, basic shelter for educational system, all the required stationary even in times of need provided the relief food to the most neglected and unreached area, CAI was the 1st to provide help in Atta abad disaster .

    Here this is a time wasting issue and …[word removed by editor]…… blame by the real writer who calls himself Mehmood or ZOO shum Naseeb………

    Mr. If you are educated …. [word removed by editor] ….. then the world is open for you to earn money at least to buy handkerchief for yourself rather begging any position from CAI in the streets.

    Best wishes

    To the team of CAI and the trusted Donors you have done great job by your practical work not by paper designs

  16. Jojon says:

    While the real story has just started to unfold before the world, people will see for themselves the real face of CAI (in fact CIA) unveiled. We will also see the hidden hands behind this mock organization who had remained behind the scene and its staff members who were so generously paid such as its Operations Director for three countries, who himself claims that his last education was 8th grade (lover secondary) and few others who can not read his own mobile number from his phone.

    Readers can also read the comments in support of their masters and partners in profit, still coming. But I hope that people will definitely see the real face of CAI. I also expect that sooner or later Pentagon and its allied agencies will also come out for rescue, after all Mr. Greg and his staff members are its partners in the War of Afghanistan and tools for the Great Game being played in the area for quite some time.

    I believe that people may definitely have been getting financial benefits in terms of jobs with such organizations that is how opportunities emerge behind challenges. But I am sure no educated person would like to work in an organization where 8th graders are their bosses.

    It is a nice discussion going on and I hope to see as many as I was expecting this because one can not hide fragrance of MUSHK!

    Best of Luck

  17. Dilshad says:

    Dear all who are blaming CAI,
    Yes it is too easy to criticise an intitution or a person with out any proof. The people who are living in north Pakistan I personaly request you that first you should go and visit the projects which CAI has given us like schools , vocational centrs lab matirial , library books health facilities like madicins etc.
    Yes it is true that AKDN works from many years and we got many health and education facilities from our beloved Imams NGO. But there is not any comparisn between these two NGOs. Because CAI is a non profit and new NGO in our area.
    Why you people want to compare CAI to AKDN.
    How you can prof that there are not crupt people in this NGO?
    You all know that where is this AKRSP or AKESP funds are going. Can some one tell me that why are the teachers of AKESP are on strike now a days?
    We should be thankfull to Greg Mortenson and his staff that they provids us these all health and educational facilities instead of blaming them. Again and again instead of mentioning the incidend or accident of Pindi hostel why don’t you meet or talk to the responsible or concern persom and make him feel of his responsibalities instead of hilighting his mistakes. He is not so faraway from you.
    Please learn the lesson of brotherhood. Solve the problems with unity . If we will blame and criticise each other it will be a big loss for our area.

    CAI staff ! please carryon your work. God will help you.
    May God give a good health and power to Greg Mortenson
    “Ameen”

  18. Spo Shum Naseeb says:

    thanks Sarfaraz u finally Admited that u r un educated but being uneducated cant help one have these PRADOs and Banglas in Capital City Good;;;; un educated business man can do it by business and u are doing business in CAI …….

    next Karim Hayat sahib
    yes my i am positivly Criticizing because u kno why i kno the facts and my objective here to criticize is to bring change when one thing is going wrong …..

    Sayeed Ullah baig Sahib
    i respect and appreciate the work done by Greg and i am not criticizing CAI or Greg i am criticizing u and Sarfaraz that u are miss using the Fund in the name of those poor Students ..

    Mr KIM DEW
    you have written great comment to make ur lord happy at least u are showing loyaliy to him he will give u reward for it
    and i am not sitting in air conditiond room and neither i am that much educated … u urself showed that u are more educated and more money maker so keep ur self busy with making ur lord happy u ll get the money ……
    we dont need position in CAI neither we are begging in street for position in CAI U have got rich experience in begging and i think u have got Position in CAI being a begger
    lastly its not ZOO shum Naseeb its Spo Shum Naseeb

  19. Spo Shum Naseeb says:

    Tawakal sap
    i have appreciated the Work done by CAI and i also appreciate Mr Greg for what ever he has done and is doing ,,,,, u have asked me about my role and responsibilites so i am doing it here in front of u ,
    living in a democratic country its my responsibility to criticize when one thing is wrong ….
    next the knowledge u have regarding the Issues in Pindi Hostels u need to learn more about the problems and issues u are unaware of the facts so try to learn more and define urself what u have done for ur area and what is ur responsibilities …………………

  20. Tawakal ALi Nabi says:

    Dear spo shum naseen….
    Imam ALi a.s says
    (KISI KA AIB TALASH KARNAY WALAY KI MISAAL US MAKHI KE HAY JO SARA KHOOBSURAT JISAM CHOR KAR SIRIF ZAKHAM PAR HE BAIT TI HAY)……
    If anyone frome gojal have a property and every thing in capital city islamabad a good model for us. that educated peoples not working for the development of our area they are just spending their time with their families not for our area yea this is fact………..just see>>>?????
    1.if you are an person educated why you are not opening new NGO ???
    2.Right now what is your Role for the students of gilgit baltistan??
    3.How many students you are sporting financal…??/

    simple is that….????
    (HAM KISI KO AGAY JANA NAI DAKTAY HAY)

  21. Spo Shum Naseeb says:

    Tawakal sap thanks for Sharing the Words of Imam Ali
    Ma kisi ko rok nai raha ki koyi agay na jaye jin paisu se ye log agay ja rahe he ye unki mehnat ka nahi ha Poor Students ka haq Mara Ja raha ha i hope Ki Gharib Ke Haq marne pa bi Imam Ali Ke kuch Words hon ge Ap ke pas so kindly share it with ur self it will help u understand and I am Not Sponsering any Student nither is Sarfaraz doing so it is the Donners and CAI who is doing the Role of Financing the Students
    So I am Talking about The people in CAI not the NGO
    for u simple is that u are unable to judge between who is wrong and who is right

  22. Tawakal ALi Nabi says:

    dear you change ur statment……..
    my quetion is that…….
    1.who brings this NGO in pakistan did you know???
    meet FAZIL BAIG he will tell you all story……..
    And plz dnt count the property of anyone
    Thanks

  23. Spo Shum Naseeb says:

    Thanks for Fazil Baig for bringing this NGO to Pakistan He had done a great job but that does not mean to make the NGO their family Business NGOs are handed over to Profesionals to make best use of the NGO fund

    I am counting his property because he is miss using the Fund of NGO the property which he owns has been purcahsed by the Scholarship fund of those Poor Students who are still waiting for the Scholarship

  24. Tawakal ALi Nabi says:

    are you sure that the are useing that amount?????
    Did you know about salarys ???
    plz i dnt wana go to the details or this is not our personal problem.and we cnt blam anyone,…. or no one is perfect in this world.and this is not a good way to directly blam a person………
    thanks

  25. Hussain says:

    It’s enough, in this discussion things are getting personal than professional, rational than emotional. PT has given good opportunity to discuss this issue, because it directly hits our region and community, there is no harm in criticising and appraising any project or NGO, but it should be in professional, ethical and civilized way.

    What ever allegation are made they are serious and unacceptable, if the team of CAI are defending their work they should not only give lip services to his master or pinpoint the people and accuse of bluffing, they should come up with details of their activities, projects, success stories, acknowledgments, specifically in GB. That we all should know and share with other how illiterate people are managing projects, bringing change to our society and community.

    Hope the CAI team will spare their and give the people and opportunity to share their work

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