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A Quick Guide to University Libraries Resources to Complement Three Cups of Tea

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Greg Mortenson 

Co-Author of the Best-Selling, 2010 UB Reads Selection – Three Cups of Tea
Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 8 p.m.
Alumni Arena, UB’s North (Amherst) Campus 

Greg Mortenson is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. This book describes the journey that led Mortenson to establish schools in some of the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortenson has worked to promote peace with books, not bombs, and successfully bring education and hope to communities. Three Cups of Tea has been published in 41 countries, and was selected as Time Magazine’s Asia Book of The Year.

Mortenson is the co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies For Peace. He has established over 131 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 58,000 children, including 48,000 girls. His work has not been without difficulty including an eight-day kidnapping by the Taliban.

Three Cups of Tea has been read by several U.S. military commanders who advocate empowering elders and building relationships as a part of an overall strategic plan. Mortenson’s newest book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, debuted as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Mortenson has received several honorary degrees and numerous honors including Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year and Pakistan’s highest civil award, the “Star of Pakistan”. Several bi-partisan U.S. Congressional representatives have nominated Mortenson twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  •  Three Cups of Tea.  I’ve hyperlinked the title to the Amazon entry which is accompanied by well over 2,000 reader comments.
  • For background information on contemporary Afghanistan and Pakistan and all realted topics, use Gale Virtual Reference Library.  This resource gathers together and indexes many important topical encyclopedias.
  • If you only had one periodical (magazines and journals) index to use, arguably the best one for this topic — and all that it encompasses — is Academic Search Complete.  It offers great coverage of current events and issues from both news and disciplinary perspectives.
  • But if you wish to delve into this topic more deeply, it’s difficult to surpass Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO).  Here you will find the full text of reports by a host of think tanks and NGOs (nongovernmental) organizations as well as books and journal articles.  This is an incredibly rich and comprehensive resource.
  • To focus on the life of women and girls in particular use GenderWatch.
  • For additional background information on Afghanistan and Pakistan and related topics search under these terms and others in: Opposing Viewpoints and Points of View Reference Center. These resources are usually used to get opposing sides of an issue.  They’re very useful for essay writing on a host of contemporary subjects and issues.  Looking for something to write about — they can be great places to start.
  • Searching BISON — the online catalog of the University Libraries — can be as simple as doing a keyword search with terms such as: Pakistan Afghanistan women education.  Simply combine them in a search string, for instance, in the keyword query box type Pakistan and women and you will retrieve citations to books that concern the subject of women in Pakistan.  You can get more complicated; but it can also be this easy.
  • Another approach never to be ignored is our search engine — Multi-Search — which searches the catalog and a large number of indexes simultaneously.  It’s not magical but sometimes it does seem to be.
  • While this guide focuses on what we have purchased or subscribed to, the Web is rich with information and Google is, by far, the best key to unlocking it.  Look for Web sites by using Google, search the contents of books by using Google Books, find images to complement your writing or add to your understanding by using Google Image, study the terrain of these nations by visiting Google Maps, watch scholars and Greg Mortenson himself on Google Videos, and search for scholarly articles with Google Scholar.
  • Wonderful guides to information resources have been created by the staffs of other universities, some of the best and most detailed are (click on the University’s name for its guide): Vanderbilt University, Mississippi State University, and Princeton University.

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