You may have seen some reporting done on Greg Mortenson and his organization the Central Asia Institute. 60 Minutes, supported by Jon Krakauer, is accusing him of some unsavory doings: namely, that not all the schools that the CAI claims it built were either built by the CAI or exist at all.
Mortenson's publisher states that it plans to extensively review both the accusations and the book with him. CAI denies all charges.
Here is a quoted tidbit from Krakauer's statement: Using CAI funds, Mortenson has purchased many tens of thousands of copies of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, which he has subsequently handed out to attendees at his speaking engagements. A significant number of these books were charged to CAI's Pennies for Peace program, contrary to Mortenson's frequent assertions that CAI uses 'every penny' of every donation made to Pennies for Peace to support schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rather than buy Mortenson's books at wholesale cost from his publisher, moreover, CAI has paid retail price from commercial outlets such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Buying from retailers allows Mortenson to receive his author's royalty for each book given away, and also allows these handouts to augment his ranking on national bestseller lists. (Had he ordered the books from his publisher, Mortenson would not have received a royalty, nor would bestseller lists reflect those purchases.) According to one of Mortenson's friends, when he learned that Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love had bumped Three Cups of Tea from number one down to number two on the New York Times paperback nonfiction list, 'Greg was furious. He started buying books like crazy, with the CAI credit card, to try and put Three Cups back on top.' "
Here is a link to the full 90 pages of the Karakauer piece: http://byliner.com/
I'm not sure what to think. It's always sad to hear that someone you admire for their humanitarian works has feet of clay. I do think that Mortenson's book has raised awareness of the educational issues in that region, and that his point about educating girls and providing an alternative to religious indoctrination is a good one. It is a viewpoint more likely to induce long-lasting change than bombing is. I don't think I can form an opinion at this time about the money management or lack thereof, or the possible ego involved. I'm sure we will find out lots more in the near future.
Regardless of possible financial shennanigans, I think that Three Cups of Tea has done good in the world. I would be sad to find that charitable dollars have been mismanaged. That's often the way of things, I guess. The important thing, though, is to continue to have hope for change. Without that, we are powerless to change anything.