Asalaam Aleikum (Peace be with you). It's that time of year. We are happy to announce this year's Journey of Hope publication will soon arrive in supporters' mailboxes. In the meantime, the JOH is available online HERE.


As always, this year's JOH, the sixth volume, is filled with stories and photos of CAI's work promoting education, especially for girls, in remote areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. For a taste of what's inside, see below.


Also below, in this edition of Alima, you will find the following news from CAI:

* CAI's Board of Directors elects new officers

* Thanks to outgoing Board Chairman Abdul Jabbar

* CAI participates in international Trust Women Conference in London

* 2013 calendars make great gifts!



Journey of Hope 

Click on the cover to view the
2012 Journey of Hope
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein

Each year, Central Asia Institute documents its work in photos and stories published in the
Journey of Hope. Compiling it, however, requires multiple journeys to the far-flung places where CAI works.


Here is an excerpt from CAI Communications Director Karin Ronnow's communiqué introducing this year's JOH:  


From the beginning, CAI has focused on villages in the world's Last Best Places, as CAI Co-founder Greg Mortenson calls them. These are often stunningly beautiful places, with snowcapped mountains and rushing rivers. But they are also impoverished and ignored by much of the outside world.


The universality of hope - hope that things can change for the better, that choices will emerge, that the fighting will end, and that peace is possible - unites these people and places. Pashtuns call it "umayd." In Urdu and Persian, the word is "umeed" or "omid." But no matter how you say it, hope is the wish or desire for something better.  


And education delivers hope. ... I feel privileged to have the chance to see CAI's work in action, to meet the gracious, hardworking people who make it possible, and to drink endless cups of tea in some of the last best places on earth. I hope the stories do justice to the work and inspire hope for all of you.  


You can read more of her post HERE.  


This year, Ronnow made five trips overseas to collect the stories for the 40-page, magazine-style publication. Photographer Erik Petersen joined her in Afghanistan and Tajikistan and his wonderful photos capture the people and places at the heart of CAI's work.  


JOH VI shares how the organization and the communities it serves cope with extremism, the opium trade, and traditional barriers to female education and equality. There are stories of CAI's work to sustain existing projects, support and train teachers, and encourage young women to continue their education with scholarships. Images and words document Mortenson's return to Korphe in northern Pakistan last spring, and his work this fall in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.


The JOH is at the print shop and should be in supporters' mailboxes before Christmas. Everyone on CAI's mailing list will receive a copy. [You can also read it online HERE.]


Additional copies for use in classrooms, places of worship or book clubs, or to share with friends, family and colleagues are available free by request. To request additional copies, contact us HERE.

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Board elects new officers
Members of CAI's expanded Board of Directors pose with Co-founder Greg Mortenson (center back) and Executive Director Anne Beyersdorfer (center front) for a photo during a two-day board meeting in San Francisco in mid-November. (CAI)
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." - Theodore Roosevelt  


At a Nov. 16 meeting in San Francisco, the CAI board held elections for officers.


Effective Jan. 1, 2013, Steve Barrett will succeed Jabbar as chairman; Iram Shah was elected vice-chairwoman; Peter Thatcher will serve as treasurer; Jed Williamson will be secretary; and Howard Slayen will serve as chairman of the board's Audit Committee.


* Steve Barrett, of Montana, is a lawyer and former member of the Montana University System's Board of Regents where he served as Vice Chair and Chair. He has served on several nonprofit Boards including Eagle Mount and Big Sky Owners Association.


* Iram Shah, of suburban Chicago, is a global marketing executive, who was worked for numerous Fortune 20 companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She earned her MBA at the University of Chicago and did postgraduate work at the Harvard and Kellogg (Northwestern) business schools.


* Peter Thatcher, of Maryland, is a retired international finance and management executive. He was the U.S. Agency for International Development's senior agribusiness advisor in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans and worked in Pakistan early in his career.


* John E. "Jed" Williamson, of New Hampshire, is past president of Sterling College in Vermont and was on the University of New Hampshire faculty from 1973 to 1982. Former president of the American Alpine Club, he has edited "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" since 1974.


* Howard Slayen, of San Francisco, Calif., is an accountant and a lawyer with more than 35 years of finance and management experience, and extensive experience as a member of public, private, and nonprofit organizations' boards of directors.


For more information on the CAI board, see this July press release announcing the new members. 


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Thank you, Shukria, Abdul Jabbar
Abdul Jabbar does an interview in the Radio Pakistan studio.
(Photo courtesy of Abdul Jabbar)
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

After 10 years serving CAI as a member of its Board of Directors, Chairman Abdul Jabbar is stepping down from his post.  


Jabbar, an English professor at City College of San Francisco, earned his PhD at Case Western Reserve University in 1968. His teaching work has over the years expanded to include classes on subjects ranging from Shakespeare to Middle Eastern government and politics, reflecting his dedication to cultivating better understanding about Islam and eastern cultures.


Fighting the characterization of board members as "armchair decision makers," he recently recalled a trip to Pakistan to visit CAI projects.  


"As you know, reaching some of the projects involved very hazardous travel by jeep," he wrote. "Besides visiting schools and the Julia Bergman water project, which involved a very challenging road trip, other notable (events included) my speech on Radio Pakistan about CAI, my meeting with the very influential Muslim cleric Abbas, from whom Greg was able to obtain a favorable fatwa to open schools, my addressing the all-school students' assemblies, and teaching in individual classrooms.


"At the time of my visit, some religious leaders had expressed some misunderstandings about CAI's mission, which I was able to remove," he added.



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Trust Women


"Change can actually happen in one generation." - Mabel van Oranje


The Trust Women Conference in London last week reinvigorated CAI's work for the rights of women and girls. As Karin Ronnow wrote in a communiqué blogpost from the conference:


Fozia Naseer discusses modern-day slavery with Kevin Bales, Co-founder of Free the Slaves, at the Trust Women conference in London in early December.
(Photo courtesy of TrustWomen)

LONDON, England - Women's empowerment starts with girls' education.


It's that simple, or, in many parts of the world, that complicated.


Either way, it must be done, said participants at Trust Women, a two

-day women's rights conference held

in early December in a city that has become the world's melting pot.  


"This work is not easy, but it's not impossible," noted Sima Samar, chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.  


Samar was one of the hundreds of women leaders and change-makers from all over the world who gathered here to underscore the importance of supporting women and girls in the universal battle for equal rights.


"So often if there is a problem, girls and women, they don't speak about it," said Fozia Naseer, CAI's program director in Azad-Kashmir, Pakistan, a conference participant. "But here are all these women who decided to say something and do something, women who worked really hard to change their own lives from what they were before - they were slaves, or prostitutes, or uneducated, or abused.  


"Changing takes lots of courage. And we can learn a lot from them about ways to change the lives of women and girls in our own communities, especially as we fight for girls' rights to stay in school," she said.


Read more HERE.


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2013 Journey of Hope Calendars

Click on the calendar to purchase
 CAI's 2013 Journey of Hope Calendar

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."

- Abraham Lincoln


CAI's Journey of Hope calendar for 2013 makes a great end-of-year gift for teachers, coworkers, friends and family.  


Copies are $10 each, and all proceeds go to support CAI programs overseas.  


To purchase copies, you can email, call 406.585.7841, or visit our website,




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Connect with us!


A girl at Bien Primary School in northern Pakistan grins as she listens to Greg Mortenson and her teachers encourage students to pursue their dreams.
The latest news from CAI is always available on our blog, CAI Communiqué, at


The blog includes stories about projects, communities and our overseas project managers, field reports from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and breaking news from the areas we serve.  To stay up to date, sign up to receive an e-mail notice whenever the blog is updated. 


And please forward this electronic newsletter to any and all people you think share our hopes for peace through education. Thanks for helping us spread the word. 



Central Asia Institute staff





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It's easy to share
Young students at CAI-supported Marzigon School in the Hushe Valley of
northern Pakistan prepare to welcome
"Dr. Greg" to their school.
Help us promote girls' education, literacy and peace: one penny, one pencil, one child, one book, and three cups of tea at a time! Make a tax deductible donation to Central Asia Institute to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

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