NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE GREG MORTENSON INSPIRES EMSB STUDENTS
CÔTE SAINT-LUC, JUNE 21, 2010— Tolerance, peace and education was at the heart of Dr. Greg Mortenson’s message when he spoke to students from four English Montreal School Board (EMSB) elementary schools.
While in Montreal to speak at the Rotary International Convention, Mr. Mortenson graciously accepted an invitation to personally deliver his message at Elizabeth Ballantyne in Montreal Wes, with students from neighbouring Edinburgh also in attendance and Merton in Côte Saint-Luc, where students from St. John Bosco in Ville Émard were invited..
After reading Mr. Mortenson’s best-selling novel “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time” and learning about his ‘Pennies for Peace’ initiative, children at all four schools worked tirelessly to collect pennies and hand him four cheques totalling $1,733..
“There are 118 million children around the world who are not in school; 78 million of those are girls,” said Mr, Mortenson. “If we could collect all the pennies in Canada and the United States, we could eradicate global illiteracy.”
“Many of us made a few trips to the bank with lots of rolls of pennies,” added Raizel Candib, principal of Merton Elementary.
Mr. Mortenson also imparted the message of how vital learning is on the future of society and its direct impact on peace throughout the world. He also assigned the children a project for their summer holiday: to take the time to sit down and talk with any of the elders in society and learn from them.
“We’ve lost the great tradition of learning from our elders,” he said. “Spending time with the elders in society can do a lot to solve problems all around the world, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
At both schools, Mr. Mortenson was treated to musical presentations from the respective choir. They sang Three Cups of Tea and Wavin’ Flag by Young Artists for Haiti
English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Spiritual Community Animator Catherine Cherry extended the invitation to Mr. Mortenson when she heard he was coming to Montreal to speak at the Rotary International Convention. “I invited him to talk to our students about how he began and continues to build schools, especially for girls, in the far reaches of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said Ms. Cherry. “Our students have been inspired by his story.”