I really liked this book and was tremendously inspired by it as this an area of the world that is greatly mis-understood and greatly neglected. and then, of course, there is the issue of female education in which I believe in the quote by Sen which says that if you educate a woman/girl then you educate the community, it leads to better health and fewer child mortalities etc. The hardships endured by ‘Dr Greg’ were enormous, so I was inspired to buy the next book by him – Stones into Schools – and was then astonished to find that a journalist had written a ‘disclaimer’ book, claiming that Greg Mortenson lied about some of his adventures etc and that much of the money for the charity has gone missing. This led to an investigation by the Attorney General of Montana which has now been completed and stated:
“Our investigation centered on whether CAI’s officers and directors satisfied their legal duties with regard to Mortenson’s books and speaking engagements, and in managing the financial and operational affairs of the organization. We concluded that the board of directors failed to fulfill some of its important responsibilities in governing the nonprofit charity. Further, Mortenson failed to fulfill his responsibilities as executive director and as a member of the board.
Despite policies that committed him to do so, Mortenson failed to make contributions to CAI equal to the royalties he earned on the books the organization purchased. Nor did he and CAI devise an equitable way
to split the costs to advertise and promote the book, which was required by his 2008 employment agreement. Mortenson also accepted travel fees from event sponsors at the same time that CAI was
paying his travel costs. Moreover, he had significant lapses in judgment resulting in money donated to CAI being spent on personal items such as charter flights for family vacations, clothing and internet downloads.
Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute can learn from their missteps. The settlement we negotiated provides an opportunity to make meaningful changes and re-establish the charity going forward. Despite the severity of their errors, CAI is worth saving. Its pursuit remains admirable, and it still has significant assets to advance its cause and fulfill the donors’ intent. As a nonprofit organization, it should be able to execute its mission well into the future. That’s why the Montana Attorney General’s Office, under my direction, ultimately sought a resolution that would enable this organization to move beyond its troubles. We entered into a settlement agreement with Mortenson and CAI which guarantees in excess of $1 million in restitution from Mortenson for his past financial transgressions.
Therefore, the charity continues with some re-jiggling and the finances are better scrutinised and audited.. So I am happy to recommend this book to you as a rattling good read but one that also helps explain some of the issues around this area which are often unclear if you don’t know the history of the area. Luckily, I do know something having seen a trilogy of plays entitled The Great Game and also read a book about a spy for the British who travelled all over these mountains during the period of the Great Game! do read it if you can!
and if you want to read the AG report to decide for yourself – here is the link: