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In This Issue
Swat: A Historical Overview & Timeline.
Profile of Wakil Karimi, CAI's Afghanistan Project Manager
CAI's Afghanistan Scholarship Program
Greg Mortenson receives Noble Peace Prize Nomination
Pennies for Peace Updates
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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
                                    -Nelson Mandela

Swat, Pakistan - What was once a paradise for tourism and peace is now a wasteland of destruction. The violence in Swat has led to a humanitarian disaster: the largest displacement of population in Pakistan since the refugee crisis at its independence in 1947.

Enable ImagesIn Swat about 240 (mostly girls' schools) have been destroyed. CAI receives hundreds of emails and calls asking about the fighting in Swat and its impact on CAI schools. We are relieved to report that no CAI schools or projects have been affected. This is because of our schools' location as well as CAI's community-based philosophy, which creates a sense of ownership from the outset to protect their school. Only one CAI school has ever been threatened. In 2007, our school in Lalander village, in the Char Asiab valley of Afghanistan was attacked and held by the Taliban for two days. The local militia leader ousted the Taliban, and killed two of them. Now it is protected by ten Askari guards. The Taliban's incentive for attacking the school was a $3,000 bonus from a local mullah, who was given a harsh sentence by the district judge.

Deeply affected by the violence in Swat, our CAI Board of Directors have decided to help alleviate this tragedy, but with a long term focus on education, and not immediate direct aid of food and shelter. From 1996 to 2001, CAI set up tent schools and provided teachers to Afghan refugees in Schamshatoo and Jalozi camps near
Peshawar. Later, when the refugees went home, we trailed them to their villages
and established some schools.

In October 2005, after the earthquake in Pakistan, CAI staff was immediately on the scene and set up makeshift tent schools. When aid dropped over 70%, we teamed with the communities of the Neelam valley Enalbe Laila's Imageand made an enduring resolution to stay and help rebuild the devastated education system.
Over 1,600 schools were destroyed in the earthquake, and by 2009, only 1/4 of those schools have been re-established. Working in close conjunction with SERRA (Earthquake Seismic Certification Authority), the education ministry and government, CAI has now completed 17 earthquake proof schools in Neelam valley, with more in the works. We've also helped dozens of female students with on going scholarships (see the full story below).
We have established relationships with the displaced Swat refugees as they start to return home now, so that sustainable education and schools can be a catalyst for hope and more than a stopgap program - just as we did with the refugee crisis in Afghanistan and the victims of the earthquake in Kashmir. We will continue to update you on our efforts and potential course of action.

One final note; with the encouragement of my children, and JCOS Admiral Mike Mullen, I am now Twittering although still not texting. You can follow my tweets here:

Blessings of Peace,    

Enable ImagesGreg Mortenson

CAI staff & Alima Editor
August 2009

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What Is Happening In Swat...
A Historical Overview & Timeline

Current Refugee Situation: Although the military campaign against the Taliban in Swat has been a success, for those caught in the crossfire it has been horrific.  A national spirit of revulsion for the brutality of the extremists has united Pakistan's citizens, media and organizations in supporting military action. Thousands of homes and municipal buildings, especially in the tribal region of Bajur, have been destroyed by militants and military reprisal.

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Alima breaks down the information in a historical timeline of Swat: We answer your questions about the ban on girls' education in that region, who the major players were, and how the situation was resolved.

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1992: A hardline organization, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah-Mohammadi, (TNSM), is launched in Swat, Pakistan by Sufi Mohammad Khan.

1995: The party gains national attention when Khan demands the imposition of Sharia or Islamic law. Violence follows when Pakistan government implements paramilitary operations.

2002: Khan is imprisoned by Musharraf's government and his relative, Maulana Fazalullah, takes over the TNSM.

2006: Fazalullah becomes known as the 'Radio Mullah' when he begins preaching his version of extremist Islam via FM radio stations he sets up illegally in the Swat region of NWPF province. He speaks out against the emancipation of women in Pakistan's cities and condemns female education.

Print and read the full Swat historical timeline here

Watch this excellent report and video here

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 Let's Talk About...

Wakil Karimi, CAI's Afghanistan Project Manager

"I am your brother, and education is the foundation that can rebuild our broken Afghanistan."

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Alima introduces you to Wakil Karimi, CAI's Afghanistan Project Manager. Wakil's work in Afghanistan is highly commended, and Greg Mortenson explains that this has led to what he calls CAI's "exceptional success" in the Panjshir valley, "helping to make schools in that region better in quality and education. And now we have 49 schools, four vocational centers and 14 literacy centers in Afghanistan, with a total of 25,335 students and 19,325 girls as of August 2009!" In a phone interview from Kabul, Wakil answered some questions about meeting Greg Mortenson, the new CAI projects, his work in post-war Afghanistan, and some very risky situations with the Taliban.

Read Wakil Karmi's riveting story and interview here

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CAI's Afghanistan Scholarship Program
The Compelling Stories of Four Young Women In Pursuit of their Dreams

Enable ImagesCAI's Scholarship program is thriving in Pakistan and now established in Kabul. Currently, CAI is sponsoring 15 scholarship students at the college and university level.

Wakil Karimi, CAI's Afghan project manager, found it challenging to select the first scholarship girls from among hundreds of disadvantaged students. Extremist campaigns against female literacy, war and poverty have produced many needy families suffering from unemployment, widowhood and illiteracy. CAI heard many heartrending accounts of girls desperate to pursue their dreams of education.

Read the stories of Najla, Brishna, Sahfia and Farida here

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Nobel Peace Nomination
Greg Mortenson has been nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

In January 2009, six members of the U.S. Congress nominated Greg Mortenson for his efforts for peace through education. In a nomination letter to the Nobel Committee in Norway, Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) wrote: "Mr. Mortenson's life work is remarkable. He has overcome great adversity, escaping brutality and death, to continue his commitment to providing educational opportunities to children." The letter was signed by Bono, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Connie Mack (R-Fla.), and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio).

The results will be announced in October.

Read more about the Nobel Peace Prize process here 

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Building Bridges with Pennies
Greg Mortenson awarded prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Award 

Enable ImagesChristiane Leitinger, Director of the Pennies for Peace Program (CAI's International service-learning program for youth) is pleased to report that on July 2nd, the National Education Association (NEA) has awarded Greg Mortenson in San Diego with one of the prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Award...

Read the full story here

Pennies Stolen and Lemonade Prepared:

enable imagesWhat do you do when live gives you lemons? Some children in Michigan learned how to make lemonade. In February 2009, someone stole $400 worth of pennies that the elementary students had painstakingly collected, says Kathy Moorehouse. She is the Director of Light of the World Academy in Michigan where she launched the Pennies for Peace program in the school to motivate her students to collect funds for children half a world away.

Read the full story here

Pennies for Peace Online:

Visit the new P4P website here:

Follow P4P on Twitter here:

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Alima Editor's Note

Thanks for reading, Alima, the second edition of our newsletter.
Please email us at for questions, comments and what you would like to read in future issues.

Also, please pass this along to friends and family by signing up here for Alima and help us reduce our carbon footprint!

Look for future Alima emails for special upcoming events with Greg Mortenson.

Finally, we are thankful for your continued contributions to our mission.

Have a Peaceful August,         
Sadia Ashraf                                
Central Asia Institute

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