So it’s obvious that “Dr. Greg”, as he’s called in Three Cups of Tea, is not completely comfortable speaking in front of crowds; at least he’s certainly not comfortable in front of crowds of non-Pashtu, -Dari, or -Balti speakers. However, regardless of how he might be critiqued on his public speaking skills, the weight of his message is unmistakable: Education brings about peace.
The connection between education and growth in a country is evident throughout our class lecture material and text. Education, particularly primary educational opportunities, is a measure of the Human Development Index and one of the Millennium Development Goals. Greg and his many associates have approached one area of the world, with one goal, and they are making a difference in the lives of thousands of children and parents. Greg is not trying to solve world hunger in every nation, nor did he set out to fix the economies of two entire countries in Central Asia. What he is doing is learning the cultures and languages of one area of the world and helping where he can. Greg cares about kids having opportunities to learn, just like his own kids can in America. He is helping to educate the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan, one village at a time. Those kids and their parents are now more empowered to make better choices. They are improving their human capital and are now able to obtain better jobs when they get to working age, leading to better wages—directly affecting their local economy and eventually the economy of the broader area.
Like those stars in the dark sky (from the Persian proverb), knowledge enlightens a community formerly darkened by its absence. Minds that have been freed by education can no longer be held prisoner by dictatorial, religious extremists; these minds know better now. They don’t have to respond out of fear, but can act in their own best interests and the interests of their community.
This post first appeared on a private group blog for Theory of Economic Development at Mississippi State University.