Pennies for Peace and the 2008 International Day of Peace
Peace and Hope Begin With Education: One Child At A Time

Central Asia Institute empowers communities of Central Asia through literacy and education, especially for girls, promotes peace through education, and conveys the importance of these activities globally.

Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute have come under intense scrutiny within the last year as a result of a story on “60 Minutes”. Please visit their website  for their response to the story. The CAI newsletter, Journey of Hope, is produced several times each year and the most recent volume is full of stories of progress in the region as well as a complete list of schools, projects and documentation of their progress. The newsletter can be accessed from the ikat website.

Working in one of the most conflicted regions of the world, Central Asia Institute, has succeeded in providing education to 1000’s of children.

“We live in an imperfect world, and are very proud of what the children did here and what we did and I’m very confident that the money we raised here resulted in education and schools being built. I’m not in a position to judge the truth but I have to say that my confidence in the integrity and humanity of the man is not comprised.” -- Jim Keeling RRStar April 2011

Watch our YouTube videos!
Video of the International Day of Peace 2008 featuring the Peace Choir and Greg Mortenson
Video of the evening performance of the Peace Choir at the Coronado Theater Sept 2008

Pennies for Peace total for the Rock River Valley is 
$102,181.24! Thanks to all who helped!

Greg Mortenson was the honored guest at the 2008 International Day of PeaceKids rubbing the message of peace at the Peace Plaza on September 19th (view a slideshow). 1300 local school children, mostly 3rd – 5th grade students were in attendance for the celebration. Activities included, “The Power of the Penny” by Montessori Private Academy, Sister Cities Crossword in the newly dedicated Sister Cities Garden, “What Does Peace Feel Like” by students and administration of the Jane Addams Center at Rockford College, Passports and Stickers and Rubbings of the Peace Message “May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Singing and dancingMany of the classes in attendance sang songs, danced or drummed with One Drum Multicultural Group who were sponsored in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. The 191 student Peace Choir from Machesney Fine Arts Program, Harlem High School, Keith School and Auburn High School under the direction of Rodney Cain, along with Katherine Terasaki, Julie Jaworwicz and Beth Heuer was a highlight both of the International Day of Peace and the public lecture of Greg Mortenson on Friday night at the Coronado Theater.

Greg Mortenson at one of the Afghanistan schoolsThousands of Rock River Valley students, along with businesses and hundreds of area individuals participated in the “Pennies for Peace” campaign featured in Greg Mortenson’s best selling book “Three Cups of Tea” to raise money to build and endow a school for girls in a remote village of Pakistan or Afghanistan as a gift from the children of the Rock River Valley. The true highlight of the day was the visit of Greg Mortenson to the Peace Plaza during the International Day of Peace celebration. It was there that the children presented Mr. Mortenson with a check for $51,400. His message of selfless giving and peace through education to the children in the most remote villages of central Asia was awe inspiring to our area children and adults alike. Our goal was to raise $50,000 and at the close of our campaign, on January 31st, 2009, our total was over $100,000. Thank you to the many 1000’s of individuals, businesses, churches and not-for-profit agencies who helped to demonstrate that a compassionate heart is beating strong in the Rock River Valley and thanks to the Rockford Education Association - our partner in Pennies for Peace.

Mr. Mortenson accepts our checkFor more information on Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute or to subscribe to their online newsletter, Alima visit Alima (pronounced ah-LEE-mah), means a learned and wise female. Their newsletter is dedicated to all the hard-working girls in CAI’s institutions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

CBS Sunday Morning featured Greg Mortenson on January 4th, of 2009 The Pennies for Peace effort of our local school children was also featured in this piece. No Child Left Behind Video -

Greg Mortenson.

Watch a slideshow of the 2008 International Day of Peace celebration.

View a video of the International Day of Peace interspersed with photos from the Central Asia Institute.

At Peace Plaza,
One World
Comes Together.

May Peace Prevail on Earth