Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three Cups of Tea - Retraction

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen 
Retraction based on 60 Minutes  

I feel it is necessary to issue a retraction for any statements I made endorsing the charity Central Asia Institute that was begun by Greg Mortensen, the author of Three Cups of Tea. 

60 Minutes aired a piece about the CAI today and exposed several aspects of Mortensen's charity as poorly run and several portions of his book as fictional, even though the book is written as a non-fiction account of Mortensen's work with the charity.  

I'm especially upset about this because I used the Central Asia Institute as my yearly Christmas charity this year.  My mother donates to a charity of our choice in our name each year for Christmas as a part of our gift and I loved Three Cups of Tea  so much that I chose the CAI as my charity.  Unfortunately, their records are rarely audited and the charitable organization funds Mortensen's book tours and travel expenses to the tune of millions of dollars a year  - instead of sending donations to the schools in Pakistan. 

60 Minutes also investigated some of the schools and found that some of the schools are underfunded and that Mortensen exaggerated the number of schools that were actually built in a particular area of Afghanistan. 

Bummer.  A total stinking bummer.  I don't think it is that bad that Mortensen is making money from his books, or that he uses the books to promote education for women and girls.  But, I do have an issue with a charity that is poorly run and a book that might have serious exaggerations for the sake of selling books.

I apologize for my un-researched support of Three Cups of Tea and for the CAI.   Greg Mortensen still wrote a compelling book, regarless of the fabrications and the problems with his charity, but I will think twice about donating after watching that 60 Minutes episode. 

Happy Reading! 

1 comment:

  1. Man, I'm totally bummed. This has been on my to-read list for a while and I now when I read it, I'll have a healthy dose of skepticism. Bummer.