Greg Mortenson was born in 1957 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. From 1958 - 1973, he lived on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania where his father, Dempsey, co-founded the teaching hospital, Kilimanjaro Christian medical Center (KCMC), and where his mother, Jerene, founded the International School Moshi. After serving in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1977 - 1979, Mortenson graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1983 with an Associate Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. He is the co-founder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies for Peace, and is the co-author of the #1 New York Times best-seller, Three Cups of Tea, which has won several awards including Time Magazine's Asia Book of the Year. Mortenson is a humanitarian and has dedicated his life to promote education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he has established over 78 schools. In 2009, Pakistan's government awarded Mortenson Pakistan's highest civil award, the Sitara-e-Pakistan ("Star of Pakistan"). Mortenson has received many other awards including National Award for Citizen Diplomacy in 2008, Rotary International Paul Harris Award in 2007, and Red Cross (Montana) "Humanitarian of the Year" in 2005. As of 2009, Mortenson has also received 10 honorary doctorates. Mortenson is married to Dr. Tara Bishop, a clinical psychologist. They have two children.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 4, 1965. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Santa Clara University in 1988 and a medical degree from the University of California-San Diego's School of Medicine in 1993. He was a practicing internist from 1996 to 2004. While in medical practice, he began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, which was published in 2003. His other books include A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed. In 2006, he was named a Goodwill Envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. He established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.