Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From our local Paper- Potters for Peace By Mary Anderson -- Staff Writer

SEAGROVE — Thirteen Seagrove-area potteries have created special drinking vessels as a fund-raiser for Greg Mortenson.His No. 1 New York Times best-seller, “Three Cups of Tea — One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time,” explains his own efforts for peace.
On Saturday, the Potters for Peace fund-raiser will take place at individual shops. Teacups, mugs and tumblers will be offered for sale, with the full purchase price being donated to the Mortenson Central Asia Institute (CAI).
Many of the items are specially inscribed for this event.
Copies of Mortenson’s book in adult, young adult and children’s versions will also be for sale at several potteries.
Mortenson, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, will be the speaker at the N.C. State University Convocation speaker on Aug. 17.
Through his Central Asia Institute, Mortenson has built hundreds of schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where illiterate and impoverished children are prey to recruitment by terrorist organizations.

Vessels by Westmoore, Tom Gray, Old Gap, From the Ground Up, Dover, Dean & Martin, Bulldog and Cady Clay Works Potteries will be for sale at Cady Clay Works, 3883 Busbee Road, Seagrove.Vessels by other potteries will be available at the individual shops: Whynot Pottery, 1013 Fork Creek Mill Road; Thomas Pottery, 1295 S. N.C. 705; Old Gap Pottery, 944 N.C. 705; Jugtown, 330 Jugtown Road; Caldwell-Hohl Artworks, 155 Cabin Trail; and Ben Owen Pottery, 2199 N.C. 705 and From the Ground Up, 172 Crestwood Road, Robbins.Items will be available at the shops only until Aug. 24, when any remaining vessels can be ordered by email or telephone.More information about the individual potteries, as well as a request form for a free Seagrove area map, can be found at, or email

Potter Beth Gore of Cady Clay Works urges everyone, of all beliefs, to read “Three Cups of Tea.”“It's obvious that we, as Americans, are woefully uninformed about the people, beliefs and way of life in these areas of military conflict,” Gore said.

The book begins with Mortensen’s failed attempt to climb K2, the world’s second-tallest mountain. Mortenson got lost and wandered into a remote mountain village in Pakistan. The impoverished local people shared what little they had and nursed him back to health. He returned to the U.S., sold most of his belongings, lived in his car and tried to raise money to build the village a school. The skeptical villagers, who had heard promises from foreign climbers before, were astonished when he returned a year later with building materials.

Newsman Tom Brokaw, who made the first $100 donation to Mortenson’s effort in 1993, said, “Three Cups of Tea” “is one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time … (and) proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world.”In July, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman accompanied Mortenson and Adm. Mike Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to open a school for girls in Pushghar, a remote village in the Hindu Kish mountains.
The little girls, crowded three to a desk and eager to learn, were delighted.

Friedman wrote: “Indeed, Mortenson’s efforts remind us what the essence of the ‘war on terrorism’ is about. It’s about the war of ideas within Islam — a war between religious zealots who glorify martyrdom and want to keep Islam untouched by modernity and isolated from other faiths, with its women disempowered, and those who want to embrace modernity, open Islam to new ideas and empower Muslim women as much as men.
America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were, in part, an effort to create the space for the Muslim progressives to fight and win so that the real engine of change, something that takes nine months and 21 years to produce — a new generation — can be educated and raised differently.
“While the admiral passed out notebooks, Mortenson told me why he has devoted his life to building 131 secular schools for girls in Pakistan and another 48 in Afghanistan:“The money is money well spent. These are secular schools that will bring a new generation of kids that will have a broader view of the world.
We focus on areas where there is no education.
Religious extremism flourishes in areas of isolation and conflict.
“When a girl gets educated here and then becomes a mother, she will be much less likely to let her son become a militant or insurgent,” he added. “And she will have fewer children.
When a girl learns how to read and write, one of the first things she does is teach her own mother. The girls will bring home meat and veggies, wrapped in newspapers, and the mother will ask the girl to read the newspaper to her and the mothers will learn about politics and about women who are exploited.”
Since 2007, the Taliban and its allies have bombed, burned or shut down more than 640 schools in Afghanistan and 350 schools in Pakistan, of which 80 percent were schools for girls, Friedman said.
Friedman quotes Mortenson as having changed his views about the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally critical of the military, Mortenson told Friedman, “The U.S. military has gone through a huge learning curve.
They really get it. It’s all about building relationships from the ground up, listening more and serving the people of Afghanistan.”In a CAI publication, “Journey of Hope,” Karin Ronnow explains:“Ultimately, most Pakistanis and Afghans want peace. They want working democracy. They want more and better-paying jobs, good roads, clean drinking water and food to eat. They are fed up with violence and they want to get on with living their lives. And, they know a better future for their children starts with education.”More information can be found at CAI’s website,, or, a worldwide educational fund-raising program for schoolchildren of all ages.


Linda Starr said...

Hope the sale is successful. said...

The story was on NPR a while ago. they picked it up from the News and Record. Good job!!