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Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson

Overview
Greg Mortenson, SPk (born December 27, 1957) is an American humanitarian
Humanitarianism
In its most general form, humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution...

, professional speaker, writer, and former mountaineer. He is the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

 as well as the founder of the educational charity Pennies for Peace
Pennies for Peace
Pennies for Peace is an international service-learning program sponsored by the Central Asia Institute that "helps educate American children about the world to show them they can make a difference one penny at a time." The program focuses on raising cross-cultural awareness through education to...

. Mortenson is the co-author of the New York Times Bestsellers Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time is a book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin published by Penguin in 2006. For four years, the book remained on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller's list...

 and author of Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Stones into Schools
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson published by Viking in 2009...

. In April 2011, he was accused of using literary license in his non-fiction books and of financial improprieties at his charity, Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

.

Greg Mortenson was born to Lutheran missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 parents in St. Cloud, Minnesota
St. Cloud, Minnesota
St. Cloud is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. The population was 65,842 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Stearns County...

.
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Encyclopedia
Greg Mortenson, SPk (born December 27, 1957) is an American humanitarian
Humanitarianism
In its most general form, humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution...

, professional speaker, writer, and former mountaineer. He is the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

 as well as the founder of the educational charity Pennies for Peace
Pennies for Peace
Pennies for Peace is an international service-learning program sponsored by the Central Asia Institute that "helps educate American children about the world to show them they can make a difference one penny at a time." The program focuses on raising cross-cultural awareness through education to...

. Mortenson is the co-author of the New York Times Bestsellers Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time is a book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin published by Penguin in 2006. For four years, the book remained on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller's list...

 and author of Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Stones into Schools
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson published by Viking in 2009...

. In April 2011, he was accused of using literary license in his non-fiction books and of financial improprieties at his charity, Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

.

Early life


Greg Mortenson was born to Lutheran missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 parents in St. Cloud, Minnesota
St. Cloud, Minnesota
St. Cloud is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. The population was 65,842 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Stearns County...

. Through the leadership of the Lutheran Church, Mortenson's father, Irvin ("Dempsey"), was a fundraiser for and development director of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania's first teaching hospital. Mortenson's mother, Jerene, was the founding principal of International School Moshi
Moshi
Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa....

. Mortenson spent his early childhood and adolescence in Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

, where he learned to speak Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

 fluently. In the early 1970s, when he was 15 years old, Mortenson and his family left Tanzania and moved back to Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. He attended Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minnesota
Roseville, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 33,690 people, 14,598 households, and 8,598 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,543.9 people per square mile . There were 14,917 housing units at an average density of 1,126.4 per square mile...

 from 1973 to 1975. After high school, Mortenson served in the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 from 1975 to 1977 as a medic and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Following his discharge, he attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota from 1977 to 1979 on an athletic (football) scholarship. Mortenson graduated from the University of South Dakota
University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota ', the state’s oldest university, was founded in 1862 and classes began in 1882. Located in Vermillion, South Dakota, United States, USD is home to South Dakota's only medical school and law school. USD is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, and its current...

 in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and an associate's degree in nursing.

K2 and the promise to build a school


As described in his first book, Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson states that he travelled to northern Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in 1993 in order to climb the world's second highest mountain, K2
K2
K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest...

, as a memorial to honor his sister Christa's memory. After more than 70 days on the mountain located in the Karakoram
Karakoram
The Karakoram, or Karakorum , is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan , Ladakh , and Xinjiang region,...

 range, Mortenson and three other climbers completed a 75-hour life-saving rescue of a fifth climber. The time and energy devoted to this rescue prevented Mortenson from attempting to reach the summit. After the rescue, he began his descent off the mountain and set out with local Balti
Balti people
The Balti are an ethnic group of Tibetan descent with some Dardic admixture located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and Ladakh, a region in Jammu & Kashmir, India; as well as scattered in Pakistan's major urban centres of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. The Balti language belongs to the...

 porter Mouzafer Ali to the nearest city.

According to the account in Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson states he took a wrong turn on the trail and ended up in the small village of Korphe
Korphe
Korphe is a small subsistence farming village in northeastern Pakistan, situated at the foot of the Karakorum mountain range along the banks of the Braldu River....

. Physically exhausted, ill, and alone at the time of his arrival there, Mortenson was cared for by some of Korphe's residents while he recovered. As a gesture of gratitude to the community for their assistance to him, Mortenson said he would build a school for the village after he noticed local students attending school in an outdoor location and writing out their lessons in the dirt. Mortenson has since stated in a 2011 interview that the timing in the Korphe account in Three Cups of Tea is inaccurate and that the events actually took place over a longer period of time and during separate trips. Also in contrast to what is written in Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson is purported to have initially promised to build a school in Khane
Khane
Khane is a village in Baltistan, Pakistan.Jon Krakauer, the author of Into Thin Air, said that Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, originally planned to build a school in Khane. To support his point, he referred to a 1994 newsletter of the American Himalayan Foundation, where Mortenson...

 village, but was convinced to build a school in Korphe by the village leaders.

Central Asia Institute


After experiencing frustration in his efforts to raise money for the school, Mortenson convinced Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

 computer pioneer Jean Hoerni
Jean Hoerni
Jean Amédée Hoerni was a silicon transistor pioneer and a member of the Traitorous Eight. He was remembered for developing the planar process....

 to fund the building of the Korphe school. Following Mortenson's success in building the school, Hoerni invited him to serve as the first executive director of Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

. The mission of the non-profit organization is to promote education and literacy, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

Mortenson describes dangerous encounters during his travels in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Three Cups of Tea describes his travels in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

 including his escape from a 2003 firefight between Afghan opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 warlords, how he was subject to two fatwā
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

s by conservative Islamist clerics for educating girls, and receiving hate mail and threats from fellow Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 for helping educate Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 children.

Mortenson has written and spoken widely about the importance of education and literacy for girls worldwide. He has further stated that girls' education is the most important investment all countries can make to create stability, bring socio-economic reform, decrease infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 and population explosion, as well as improving health, hygiene, and sanitation standards. Mortenson's view is that "fighting terrorism" perpetuates a cycle of violence where there should instead be a global priority to "promote peace" through education and literacy, with an emphasis on educating girls. Mortenson has been quoted frequently as saying, "You can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads or put in electricity, but unless the girls are educated, a society won't change,". According to op-ed
Op-ed
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page , is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board...

 columnist and friend of Mortenson's, Nicholas D. Kristof
Nicholas D. Kristof
Nicholas Donabet Kristof is an American journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001 and is known for bringing to light human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the...

, The schools built by CAI have local support and have been able to avoid retribution by the Taliban and other groups opposed to girls' education because of community "buy-in", which involves getting villages to donate land, subsidized or free labor ("sweat equity"), wood and resources.

Mortenson is the current executive director of Central Asia Institute. As of 2010, CAI reports it has established or significantly supported 171 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to over 64,000 children, including 54,000 girls, where few education opportunities previously existed.

From 2006 through 2011, Greg Mortenson promoted his book as well as fundraising and promoting girls education through public speaking events at schools throughout the United States. Travel expenses for his speaking engagements were paid for by Central Asia Institute through the end of 2010. Mortenson personally kept monies received in exchange for his service as a public speaker as well as royalties from the sale of his book. In 2009, the total cost of his book promotion, fundraising, and awareness building for girls education paid for by CAI amounted to $4.6 million.

Advice solicited by US Military in Afghanistan


Due to attention paid to Mortenson's books first by their wives, US military leaders in Afghanistan have sought Mortenson's advice on how to work with the elders of local Afghan communities since 2007. Seeking his knowledge on dealing with Afghan elders, the military has also included Mortenson as an active participant in meetings between the elders and US military commanders. He has not, however, accepted any payment for his services, nor does he have any contractual or other formal relationship with the US military.

Writing


Mortenson and David Oliver Relin are co-authors of the New York Times bestselling book Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time is a book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin published by Penguin in 2006. For four years, the book remained on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller's list...

. Listen to the Wind, a 32 page book for ages 4–8 was written by Greg Mortenson and illustrated by Susan Roth and recounts a short version of Three Cups of Tea. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Stones into Schools
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson published by Viking in 2009...

 was written by Greg Mortenson as a sequel to Three Cups of Tea.

Criticism


In regard to Mortenson's management style at CAI, Nicholas Kristof has said that Mortenson is "utterly disorganized," and added, "I am deeply troubled that only 41 percent of the money raised in 2009 went to build schools." As a deeper look into Mortenson's business dealings, British journalist Jonathan Foreman wrote in a 2008 Daily Telegraph story that CAI's success is due in part to Mortenson's use of intuition and that he makes decisions at the last minute. Foreman further wrote that Mortenson is habitually late for meetings but that the combination of those traits work well and are important to the success of his work in the Balti region of Pakistan. Baltistanis have no tenses in their language, are vague on their timekeeping, and make their own decisions largely based on intuition.

Allegations


On the April 17, 2011 broadcast of CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

' 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation....

, correspondent Steve Kroft
Steve Kroft
Steve Kroft is an American journalist and a longtime correspondent for 60 Minutes. His investigative reporting has garnered him much acclaim, including three Peabody Awards and nine Emmy awards, one of which was an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement.-Early life:Born on August 22, 1945 in Kokomo,...

 alleged inaccuracies in Mortenson's books Three Cups of Tea and its sequel, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as financial improprieties in the operation of the Central Asia Institute
Central Asia Institute
The Central Asia Institute is an American non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni and based in Bozeman, Montana...

. In particular, CBS News disputed Mortenson's claim that he got lost near K2 and ended up in Korphe
Korphe
Korphe is a small subsistence farming village in northeastern Pakistan, situated at the foot of the Karakorum mountain range along the banks of the Braldu River....

; that he was captured by the Taliban in 1996; whether the number of schools built and supported by CAI is accurate; and the propriety in the use of CAI funds for Mortenson's book tours. 60 Minutes asked Mortenson for an interview prior to their broadcast, but Mortenson did not respond to their requests.

60 Minutes made the following allegations:
  • The story recounted in Three Cups of Tea about Mortenson getting lost and separated on the way down from K2, ending up in Korphe in Pakistan, and promising to build a school did not actually take place.
  • The story recounted in Stones into Schools about Mortenson's capture by the Taliban did not occur. His purported kidnappers state he was a guest and the Taliban did not exist in the country at that time.
  • Schools that Central Asia Institute claims to have built either have not been built, have been built and abandoned, are currently used for other purposes such as grain storage, or have not been supported by CAI after they were built.
  • The amount of money Central Asia Institute spends on advertising Mortenson's books and paying the travel expenses of his speaking tours, including hiring private jets, is excessive relative to other comparable charitable institutions.


Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

, a former financial supporter of CAI, has also questioned Mortenson's accounts separately and was interviewed for the 60 Minutes segment. The day after the broadcast, Krakauer released his allegations in a lengthy online article, Three Cups of Deceit
Three Cups of Deceit
Three Cups of Deceit - How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way is a 2011 Kindle e-book written by Jon Krakauer about Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools author Greg Mortenson...

 - How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. In the article, Krakauer documents how he had earlier been captivated by Mortenson's story and had donated substantial sums to CAI, but that he had later heard stories of misconduct and began investigating. Krakauer states that he invited Mortenson to address his allegations, including setting up an interview where Mortenson lives, however, Mortenson subsequently canceled the interview.

As a result of the recent allegations, several universities have reconsidered granting honorary degrees and awards to Mortenson. These schools include The University of Alberta
University of Alberta
The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Canada...

, Fontbonne University
Fontbonne University
Fontbonne University is a co-ed liberal arts Catholic institution of approximately 3,000 students in Clayton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. It is a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Fontbonne is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North...

, and University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world...


The University of Georgia was scheduled to bestow its Delta Prize for Global Understanding to Greg Mortenson in 2011, but decided to vacate the presentation of the award. An honorary degree previously awarded to Mortenson in 2008 by the University of Washington is currently being reconsidered by that school's chancellor.

Responses


In an April 2011 Outside
Outside (magazine)
Outside is an American magazine focused on the outdoors. The first issue debuted in September 1977 with its mission statement declaring that the publication was "dedicated to covering the people, sports and activities, politics, art, literature, and hardware of the outdoors..."Its founders were...

 magazine interview, Greg Mortenson insists that Krakauer contacted him only once and inaccurately claimed that he had been trying to get a hold of the leader of CAI for some time. Mortenson states that although he arranged to meet with Krakauer, the interview was eventually cancelled "once I realized how deep and dirty this whole thing was". He describes a similar incident with 60 Minutes, claiming that he never received any of the emails that Steve Kroft said he sent and that representatives from the news show tried to contact him at inopportune times, such as calling his house when he wasn't there or "rush[ing]" him at a book signing.

Mortenson wrote a statement in response to the allegations made against him that was published in the Bozeman Chronicle: "I stand by the information conveyed in my book, and by the value of CAI's work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students." Mortenson further stated, "The time about our final days on K2 and ongoing journey to Korphe village and Skardu is a compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993..."

Scott Darsney, a respected mountaineer and friend of Greg Mortenson, wrote an email subsequently turned into an exclusive article for Outside
Outside (magazine)
Outside is an American magazine focused on the outdoors. The first issue debuted in September 1977 with its mission statement declaring that the publication was "dedicated to covering the people, sports and activities, politics, art, literature, and hardware of the outdoors..."Its founders were...

 magazine's online version as a response to the allegations against Mortenson. Darsney questioned the accuracy and fairness of both the Krakauer piece and the 60 Minutes report. As a result of an interview for the piece Three Cups of Deceit, Krakauer quotes Darsney as stating when their team took on K2 in 1993, "Mortenson 'didn't even know Korphe existed". The Outside article includes a quote from Darsney telling another writer that although he did make the statement to Krakauer, he now believes that during the period the climbing team lost track of him, Mortenson may have ended up in that village. According to Darsney, after the climbing team reconvened, Mortenson told him that he "...ended up in a village on the wrong side of the Braldu River
Braldu River
The Braldu River is located in the Himalayan range and runs off the K2 Mountain.- Kayaking :The Braldu is considered to be extreme white water. The first attempt to kayak the river was a British expedition led by Mike Jones. It was on that expedition that Jones lost his life trying to rescue a...

. It's certainly plausible that this was Korphe." As well, Darsney disputes that he corroborated Krakauer's claims that Mortenson fabricated his Himalayan expeditions, saying that such misrepresentations of their conversations are either based on misquotes or misunderstanding.

Lawsuits


In May 2011, Jean Price
Jean Price
Jean Price is a Democratic Party member of the Montana House of Representatives, representing District 20 since 2011.Jean is an artist and retired art teacher. She is also the director of the Urban Art Project of 2008, Great Falls MT Her works include:...

 and Michele Reinhart
Michele Reinhart
Michele Reinhart is a Democratic Party member of the Montana House of Representatives, representing District 97 since 2007.Her political views include:*Pro choice *Tax credits for the use of biodiesel*Country of origin labeling for food....

, Democratic Party representatives in Montana, along with Dan Donovan, a Great Falls
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

 attorney, filed a class action lawsuit against Mortenson and are asking a federal judge in Missoula to place all proceeds from the purchases of Mortenson's books into a trust to be used for humanitarian purposes. The total of Mortenson's book sales to date stand at near $5 million. In June 2011, Jean Price announced she was dropping out of the suit, explaining that she had never read the book. In Illinois, former school teacher Deborah Netter, also dropped her Illinois lawsuit against Mortenson in early July 2011, joining the Montana lawsuit suit in mid-July.

Personal life


Mortenson currently lives in Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

, with his wife Tara Bishop, a clinical psychologist, and their two children, Amira and Khyber. Diagnosed in the spring of 2011 with an aneurysm
Aneurysm
An aneurysm or aneurism is a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain and an aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart...

 and an atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect is a form of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right atria via the interatrial septum. The interatrial septum is the tissue that divides the right and left atria...

, Mortenson underwent surgery for both in June of the same year.

Awards

  • 2004 Al Neuharth Free Spirit of the Year Award for building schools for Pakistan girls.
  • 2008 Citizen Center for Diplomacy National Award for Citizen Diplomacy
  • 2008 Courage of Conscience Award
  • 2008 Graven Award - Wartburg College, IA
  • 2008 National Award for Citizen Diplomacy - Citizen Center for Diplomacy
  • 2008 Mary Lockwood Founders Medal For Education - Daughters of The American Revolution
  • 2008 Sword of Loyola, St. Louis University, MO
  • 2008 Charles Eliot Educator Award - New England Association of Schools & Colleges
  • 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
  • 2009 Academy of Achievement Award
  • 2009 Sitara-e-Pakistan (The Star of Pakistan medal)
  • 2009 Archon Award - Sigma Theta Tau
    Sigma Theta Tau
    The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International exists to improve the health of people by increasing the scientific base of nursing research...

     International (Nursing Award)
  • 2009 Austin College Leadership Award, Sherman TX - life work to take courageous stand on education issues for peace
  • 2009 National Education Association (NEA) Human & Civil Rights Award
  • 2009 City College San Francisco Amicus Collegii Award - Promoting peace through education
  • 2009 Jefferson Award For Community Service: Carnegie Endowment & Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • 2009 US News & World Report: America's Top 20 Best Leaders 2009
  • 2009 Italy: Premio Gambrinus “Giuseppe Mazzotti”
  • 2010 Nobel Peace Prize nominee
  • 2010 Loyola Marymount University (CA) - Doshi Bridgebuilder Of Peace Award
  • 2010 The Common Wealth Awards: For Public Service
  • 2010 The Salem Award for Human Rights
  • 2010 The Christopher Award: "To affirm the highest values of the human spirit"
  • 2010 The 10th annual Lantern Award “Excellence in Education Innovation” (MOSTE – LA, CA)
  • 2010 Distinguished Service To Education Award: National Elementary School Principals Association
  • 2010 Creativity Foundation & Smithsonian Institution: Benjamin Franklin Laureate Award For Public Service
  • 2010 Literature To Life Award - American Theater Place
  • 2010 Viking Award - Norway House for pursuit of hard, bold, dangerous and important undertakings
  • 2010 Freedom Award - Freedom Festival for extraordinary devotion to the cause of liberty at home and abroad
  • 2010 American Peace Award - representing the spirit of world peace through thoughts and actions
  • 2010 The Mason Award - Extraordinary contribution in literature (George Mason University DC)
  • 2011 Presidential Award for Leadership in Social Change - Walden University
  • 2011 Raoul Wallenberg Award for humanitarian endeavors - Old Dominion Univ., VA

Honorary degrees

  • Concordia College, Moorhead, MN 2007
  • Montana State University, MT 2008
  • Villanova University, PA 2008
  • University of San Francisco, CA 2008
  • University of Washington – Bothell, WA 2008
  • Lewis & Clark College, OR 2008
  • Colby College, ME 2009
  • Simmons College, MA 2009
  • Saint Louis University, MO 2009
  • Loyola University Chicago, IL 2009
  • University of Pennsylvania, PA 2010
  • Brookdale College, Lincroft, NJ 2010
  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 2010
  • Stevenson University (MD) 2010
  • Wittenberg University (OH) 2010

External links