Three Cups of Tea – Welcome Page

A Community Reading Program Sponsored by the

Adult Reading Teen Reading Pennies for Peace Mortenson Visit Team
Photo Album Schedule AAUW Website FAQ Links

Welcome to Three Cups of Tea

CoverPageSmall“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything, even die.”
From Three Cups of Tea

Welcome to the wonder and wisdom of the book Three Cups of Tea. What captured our hearts and minds about this book in AAUW is that our mission and Greg Mortenson’s are in perfect harmony. We both want to bring education to girls in every part of the globe. But aside from that, we were charmed by this exciting and inspirational true-life adventure story that all Fremont is reading and enjoying.


gregbooksigning2After a Year of Anticipation, Greg Mortenson Takes Our Area by Storm!   Over 2,500 applaud Greg and hear his story in two unforgettable get-togethers in Union City and Fremont on Tuesday, March 3, 2009.   Read on.



greggroup1Greg Answers Questions from the Audience.   At the end of the evening presentation, Greg took questions from attendees at the Diamond Palace.   Tune in on the Q&A.




IM000311.JPGCan You Imagine Over Three Million Four Hundred Thousand Pennies?   Children from 40 schools in the Tri-City area collected over $34,000 to give to Greg when he came to our area on Tuesday, March 3.   Find out how much 3 million pennies weigh.



cupsingersThe Beautiful Music of Children   Ardenwood elementary school students capture the hearts of the audience at the Logan High School event as they sing Three Cups of Tea.   More.



chairgenevieve“This Journey Was Inspiring … ”
   Chair of Three Cups of Tea program, Genevieve Angelides, thanks all who had a hand in making this giant AAUW endeavor so successful.   More.



Pakistan3MedGreg Tells His Story
  Tune in to hear Greg Mortenson’s presentation at the Diamond Palace.




signing2We Have Photos
of Greg at both Logan High School and The Diamond Palace.   Click on either to see Greg in action.





wennbergThere are more photos of Greg’s Visit in our AAUW Branch Album.  Page 1 of the subsection dedicated to Greg’s visit is a work in progress.   Page 2 shows the crowd at the Diamond Palace and a few of the supporting AAUW staff.


Archived “What’s New” Articles

One Book, One Community

“NOW THEREFORE, I, Bob Wasserman, Mayor of the city of Fremont, do hereby promote the One Book, One Community program and the reading of this excellent book to all Fremont residents.”
Proclamation signed at City Council meeting, May 27, 2008

AAUW’s Three Cups of Tea program is part of the One Book, One Community program that has swept across the United States and the world. Reading the same book seems to bring cities, communities and people closer together. Fremont, together with AAUW and other collaborators, chose this book because of its relevance to education, the Afghan and Pakistani citizens in our Silicon Valley city, and its one-person-can-make-a-difference appeal.Pakistan1Med

We invite you to learn more about the book, the program and the people who are bringing it to our community. Either click on one of the four links above or on the appropriate link at the top of the page to access the subject you are interested in.

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Adult Reading Program

MortensonSigning2Three Cups of Tea
is an inspiring, beautifully written adventure story and a fascinating journey for everyone from teen to adult. It’s about one man’s mission to promote peace – one school at a time – and is an important uniting message for our community and the world. Its message of literacy and education for women and girls throughout the world is one that AAUW is passionate about. The book has been embraced by many One Book, One Community programs throughout the U.S. and has been on the New York Times best seller list for over a year. You can learn more about it at

If you choose to read the book you can, of course, buy it at any bookstore. If you buy it from, 7 percent will be donated to Mortenson’s non-profit Central Asia Institute. The Institute’s mission is to promote and support community based education, especially for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

We can come closer together as a community by getting together and discussing the book after we have read it. That is the objective of the worldwide One Book, One Community Program. AAUW and its collaborators have chosen to implement the One Book, One Community Program in the Fremont area via a series of discussion sessions for adults called the Adult Reading Program and a companion series of discussion sessions for teens called the Teen Reading Program.

Pakistan3MedCurrently scheduled Adult Reading Program sessions are listed in the Flyers which we distribute from time to time. Many more will be added to the schedule between now and the time Greg Mortenson visits Fremont on March 3. Most sessions will be held in local libraries, senior centers and book stores. Others are planned for local Afghan and Pakistani restaurants.

Adult Reading Program sessions are led by AAUW members. Contact the AAUW Project Chair at if you would like to share in the fun and adventure of leading the Adult Reading Program.

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Teen Reading Program

SGimage008The Teen Reading Sessions are led by teens, for teens. There are also a variety of other assignments available for the teens, and all participants can earn hours of community service credit toward the 40 hours they need as high school students. AAUW is collaborating with the City of Fremont Human Services Department on this high school student program.

Many have asked why reading, discussing and leading Three Cups of Tea sessions rate community service hours for students. It is because high school students can gain a great deal of knowledge by reading this book and practising their own leadership skills.

The Teen Reading program will run from October to Thanksgiving with requests in the form of flyers sent to a teen data base in August to attract interested students. There are two flyers: One for book readers and one for discussion leaders. Contact the AAUW Project Chair at if you want to help with this program.

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Pennies For Peace

“I believe that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere, like Pakistan or Afghanistan, simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.”
From Three Cups of Tea

Resized 010A penny in the U.S. has almost no worth. However, a penny in Afghanistan or Pakistan can buy a pencil, start a young person on the path to literacy and education and form the beginnings of a much-needed school in remote mountain areas. That’s what Pennies for Peace is all about. The Program is the creation of Greg Mortenson stemming from his book Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson started the non-profit Central Asia Institute (CAI) to help build schools by collecting pennies from students around the U.S. and the world. (See its homepage at To date he has built almost 70 schools from those pennies and other donations he and his CAI team have collected. This program is coming to the Fremont, Union City and Newark elementary schools. It teaches children the reward of sharing and working together to bring hope and education to other less fortunate children. On May 28th Mayor Wasserman issued a proclamation that encourages all elementary school students to donate pennies to the Central Asia Institute.

The program also has a significant impact on the educational systems of Afghanistan and Pakistan. For example:

  • A penny buys a pencil in those regions.
  • One hundred pennies pays the daily salary for a teacher.
  • One hundred pennies per student per month is all it takes to educate a child.
  • A fifth grade education for boys and girls in Pakistan improves the health of the child and his/her family; underscores the value of education in the community; presents economic opportunities not envisioned before and neutralizes the power of extremists.

The Pennies for Peace Program will take place between October 1 and the Thanksgiving Holiday Break in the schools. The AAUW will provide buckets to be located in each classroom to receive the pennies. The pennies will be collected every Friday, counted and the total will be banked until Greg Mortenson comes on March 3rd. We will present our community’s donation to him and the Central Asia Institute at that time. Children will be encouraged to earn the pennies they donate by doing chores, helping grandparents, and collecting pennies as part of their birthday parties.

The Pennies for Peace Program also provides us with a wonderful teaching opportunity:

  • Children will learn about the cultures and geography of Afghanistan and Pakistan via lesson plans that have been created for children through the Central Asia Institute. They will understand more completely what it means to be a citizen of the world.
  • They will, through Greg Mortenson’s story, be inspired by the fact that one person really can make a difference. Children will also get the message that believing in oneself is of paramount importance.
  • They will gain leadership skills as they play a role in collecting pennies.

Some 15 schools in the Tri-City area are enrolled in the Pennies for Peace Program. The California Retired Teachers Association of our area has taken the lead in providing champions who will make this happen in the schools. If you would like to take part in this innovative project, contact the AAUW Project Chair at

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Greg Mortenson’s Visit to Fremont

“I’m going to build you a school”, he said, not yet realizing that with those words, the path of his life had just detoured down another trail.”
From Three Cups of Tea

SGimage012The culmination of the Three Cups of Tea Program is a visit from Greg Mortenson. He will be in our area on March 3, 2009. (Go to the CAI listing at and select California, then 2009) Please mark your calendars for this special occasion. Greg wants to talk to students, to adults and to seniors on his day-long stay in Fremont. If you would like to help out, please get in touch with the Three Cups of Tea Project Chair. Email her at

Greg Mortenson is the co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and the co-author of the #1 New York Times best seller Three Cups of Tea. He was born in Minnesota in 1957 and grew up on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. His father was a founder of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, a 480 bed teaching hospital. His mother founded the international school Moshi. He served in the U.S. Army during the Cold War and later graduated from the University of South Dakota (1983).

In 1993 Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain. While recovering from the climb in a local village called Korphe, Mortenson met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand. They were practising their lessons. He made a promise to help them build a school.

As of 2008, Mortenson has established over 67 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools provide education to over 25,000 children, including 14,000 girls. This work has not been without difficulty. In 1996 he survived an eight-day armed kidnapping in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. He escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather tanning factory. He has overcome two fatwahs from enraged Islamic Mullahs, endured CAI investigations, and received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11 for helping Muslim children with education.

Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities of Afganistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, government officials and tribal chiefs for his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls.

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Meet the Three Cups of Tea Team

“This is the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on and I just love our team. They’re all so dedicated and believe, as I do, how important this work we’re doing really is.”
Genevieve Angelides, Three Cups of Tea Chair

Pakistan4MedCurrently the One Book, One Community program has been many months in the making and the team has expanded dramatically as our hopes, dreams and aspirations expanded to include a remarkable team both inside and outside of AAUW.

This is a truly broad-based community action program with a variety of partners. It includes, along with the AAUW,

  • The Alameda County Libraries
  • The City of Fremont, Human Services Department
  • California Retired Teacher Association
  • Fremont Unified School District
  • Afghan Education for a Better Tomorrow
  • Muslim Support Network

Overall Team Leadership is provided by:

  • Randy Fewel, AAUW President
  • Genevieve Angelides, Three Cups of Tea Program Manager
  • Shirley Gilbert, Program News Editor and Communications Coordinator
  • Consultants:
    • Lara York, FUSD Board Member and Liason to Superintendant
    • Zarin Malkezada, Consultant on Afghan Affairs
    • Moina Shaiq, Consultant on Pakistani Affairs

Three Cups of Tea activities are implemented by:

If you would like to join any of these teams, please email the AAUW Project Chair at

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Photo Album

“It’s the journey that’s important. Not the getting there.”
John McCloud

Enlarged014No journey is complete without a great photo album. Here we catalogue the Three Cups of Tea experience in pictures and perspectives. If you would have something to share about the journey, please email Genevieve Angelides, the AAUW Program Chair, at

The majority of the following photos were provided by Member Mary Lynn Pelican.

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