If you haven't yet read Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, I urge you to get it or to order it from your library. It's the story of Greg Mortenson, whom I heard speak in Boulder last January, and the schools he has built (with almost no funding) in the poorest regions of Pakistan (and, now, Afghanistan). His goals are pure and honorable. If you really want to know what it's like in that part of the world and want to read the story of a true hero, the book is for you. Mortenson is sure to win the Nobel Peace Prize some day.
It really doesn't have anything to do with art, but it has everything to do with inspiration. One person can make a huge difference in the world.
I have been intrigued with Afghan culture since I worked at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, which houses a selection of Gandharan sculpture. The world was horrified when the Taliban destroyed the colossal Buddhas of Bamiyam, which were Gandharan. Mortenson's personal stories reveal a truly beautiful people that you will fall in love with.
Read it to be inspired!