U of L Officials Waiting for More Information on Grawemeyer Award Winner

by Dalton Main on April 18, 2011

The University of Louisville has not made a decision regarding author and philanthropist Greg Mortenson’s Grawmeyer Award and is waiting to see how the situation unfolds.

A story produced by 60 Minutes on Sunday alleged that some of the information in Mortenson’s books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan” may be false and that his organization may not be using donated money properly.

Mortenson is the recipient of the 2011 Grawmeyer award for education, which comes with a $100,000 grant. He is slated to speak at the university in September. (He spoke at the Kentucky Author Forum in 2008. You can listen to the audio here.)

“We’re just monitoring the situation, you know, to see if there is additional information at this point so that we can get a clearer picture,”  says Professor Allen Dittmer, Executive Director of the Grawmeyer Awards. “We’ve done everything we know how to do at this point and the process has played itself out and so what we’re waiting for is for something to be clarified.”

Mortenson responded to the 60 Minutes story in a statement released Monday.  He affirmed that his accounts are accurate and refuted all reports of misappropriation of funds by his organization. He also referred questions about “excess benefits” to his organization.

The Central Asia Institute’s response stated that an attorney retained by the organization had previously raised similar questions regarding “excess benefits”, however that report stated that “CAI appropriately receives a greater benefit from Greg’s activities than Greg does himself”.

The books recount his efforts to promote education in the region after getting lost on an unsuccessful attempt to reach the summit of K-2, the second tallest mountain in the world.

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