For many years, Heidi Kuhn has dedicated herself to removing land mines from the 70 countries around the world that are still plagued with these small but powerful weapons. She educates us on the severity and pervasiveness of the issue and explains how with love, patience and persistence, she has built momentum for the cause to bring life back to once-deadly ground. With a simple gesture, a toast to peace, Heidi Kuhn was catapulted into a position to lead the charge to rid the planet of landmines. Her toast, “May the world go from mines to vines,” has become a movement to bring life and growth to places that have been paralyzed by the remnants of war. With the help of vintners and generous donors, she has built momentum for the cause to bring “Roots of Peace” to active minefields. She shares stories of people who are being deprived of the ability to enjoy and make use of their land for the fear of a small misstep. Getting rid of the mines is only half of the equation, she says. “Empowering the poor rural farmers to return to their lands, not only to feed their children, but to provide export markets…[this is] the economic engine that’s going to drive peace and stability and food security in these war-torn lands around the world.” Kuhn’s efforts to replace mines with vines, has resulted in many successful transformations in several countries. Pieces of earth that had once been forbidden territory, now have fields of grapes, strawberries, rice, and other crops. There is still a lot of work to do and some resistance, but Kuhn tirelessly, faithfully persists. “It’s a universal desire to heal the wounds of war and to plant the roots of peace…I’m able to navigate around the world from a humanitarian heart, looking at the seeds we have in common as opposed to those which separate us.” (hosted by Phil Cousineau)
Heidi Kuhn is a former CNN reporter and is founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, an organization with the expressed goal to rid the world of landmines and bring the land back into productive use for the next generations. Her work has been recognized by a pantheon of global dignitaries ranging from the United Nations and the U.S. State Department to former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President Stephen Mesic of Croatia, former Vice-President Al Gore, Robert Redford, Sir Ben Kingsley, and Diane Disney Miller, all of whom have publicly supported her quest to plant the roots of peace on earth. Kuhn has received the prestigious Cal Berkeley Alumni Award for Excellence and Achievement in 2002, the esteemed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award, Medal of Peace from the Mother Church of the Christian World in Jerusalem, and the Rotary International ”Service Above Self” award, plus many others for her selfless work.
She’s the CEO and founder of:
To learn more about the work of Heidi Kuhn go to www.rootsofpeace.org.
Topics discussed in this dialogue include:
- What propels Kuhn to do this work
- Why is it so important to remove landmines
- How easy it is to detonate a landmine
- What does it take to remove one
- What kind if damage can a landmine cause
- What is the extent of the progress the movement has made
- What are the obstacles to progress
- How can we get involved
Host: Phil Cousineau Interview Date: 4/6/2015 Program Number: 3543