Sunday, July 13, 2008

books not bombs

Though it will be mighty tempting, I promise not to be in the habit of regularly posting links to Nicholas D. Kristof's column in the NY Times. That said, I think "It Takes Schools, Not Missles," is worth sharing...even though I just linked to Kristof's story about Beatrice and her goat in my last post.

Today, Kristof highlights the work of (Minnesota native) Greg Mortenson who, in his bestselling book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time," recounts how he facilitated the construction of nearly 75 schools for impoverished children in rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. While the education of young people (particularly girls) is the primary focus of Mortenson's work, anyone who reads his story will undoubtedly note that, as a direct result of education and goodwill, the schools have also been able to temper anti-American sentiment and build successful relationships with unlikely friends.

In 2005, Bolivian Ambassador to the U.S., Jaime Aparicio Otero, told UAC-CP founder, Sr. Damon, and Carmen Pampa Fund supporters that: "Of all the millions of dollars spent in Bolivia, the money spent to build and support the UAC-CP has been the most well-spent in terms of making a difference to our country.” A powerful statement in its own right, I think it's also fair to say that its been money well-spent in terms of fostering positive foreign relations between the U.S. and Bolivia--as the College, through its volunteers, visitors, and U.S. collegiate partnerships, is a catalyst for developing professional, academic relationships and friendships between Bolivianos and los Estado Unidenses...and a host of other people from around the globe.

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