Although my intention is not to be pessimistic, the overly positive theme of 3 Cups of Tea was a little hard for me to handle. My opinion is not to dismiss the works of Mortenson as useless, but I feel the book could have used less objectivity (despite the difficulty the author claimed in this task). The building of schools could prove useful in alleviating international conflicts, but the real effects of the school have yet to be seen. At this time, it is still too hasty to count Mortenson’s efforts as a success. He is certainly to be commended as unique and understanding, but not yet successful.

Which brings me to what my cup of tea would be. I do feel that it is important to promote understanding in areas marked by terrorism and conflict, but at the same time, a large amount of western culture lacks the understanding that they expect out of war-torn countries. The changes must begin internally before they can be relayed to other countries. I would consider myself guilty of not having an understanding of even 1/3 of the countries that the United States is in conflict with. I would expect the same amount of understanding from countries that consider us their enemy. Given this probable commonality, I have no expectations of other countries, especially if I am unable to be a part of the process. I do believe that Mortenson has the right idea about educating the public, but the focus needs to be shifted toward educating our own country first. Beginning from elementary school, students are taught to be accepting of differences, this same philosophy needs to be applied to students as they continue their studies. The public is constantly being exposed to coverage of “the war on terror” and it should be only fitting that the younger generation’s understanding on the subject be broadened. Judging from my own experiences in middle school and high school, there wasn’t any emphasis on current events and the different factors that were affecting our world today. It is especially crucial to target the younger generations because they are the people that will ultimately become the instruments of change for the future.

Although I have no concrete method for how to educate the younger generations on foreign affairs, I would probably suggest integrating current events into a history class. Even giving students basic knowledge about Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and other countries might peak their interest and inspire them to do their own research on what is occurring in their countries and how we are involved with them. An international pen pal (like in our class) could also be a useful method for keeping the lines of communication open between the generations that are the most capable of change.

I chose not to address how to promote understanding in other countries because I believe there is such a lack of understanding in our own country. I think the change needs to begin within each country before methods of tolerance can be taught to others. I feel that the U.S. has a long way to go in the way of tolerance, and I would rather focus on improving our country before going blindly into another.