Our Rotary Roots of Peace
The Rotary International Conference occurs every June, and Roots of Peace hosted a MINES TO VINES booth in Hamburg, Germany. Here is the story of our 'Rotary' roots:
Roots of Peace salutes our major donors with 'roots' in Marin County, as the vision for the United Nations began beneath the towering Redwood trees of Muir Woods when the original delegates gathered in 1945 beneath the 'temples of peace' as dubbed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The United Nations Charter was signed at the War Memorial Building on June 26, 1945.
And, my grandfather William Hill Thomas, President of San Francisco #2 Rotary (1941-42), was proudly present with fellow Rotarians for this historical signing at The War Memorial Building when our world convened for a more peaceful world following the atrocities of World War II.
In 1975, at age 17, I was honored to be selected as a Youth Ambassador from Rotary Club of San Rafael to the Rotary Club of Utsunomiya, Japan (PHOTO). Prior to the time when women were allowed to join Rotary worldwide, I had the privilege of witnessing Japanese families from former war-torn lands welcome a young teenage American girl into their home to discuss the importance of bridging borders for peace. Deeply inspired by my Japanese Rotarian families, I returned home with a passion to seek an education at U.C. Berkeley in Political Economics, as I envisioned a bright future in pursuit of peace.
The Vietnam War also ended in 1975, and yet today there are millions of unexploded remnants of war which remain buried in the ground over four decades after the war ended. Over 100,000 innocent Vietnamese footsteps have been maimed or killed due to these buried landmines and cluster munition, long after the guns have silenced. More bombs were dropped in Quang Tri province (former DMZ) during the Vietnam War than World War I and II combined.
This is why Roots of Peace is leading a campaign to eradicate all explosive remnant of war in the former DMZ with a clear vision to raise $20 million by Earth Day 2020.
Extraordinary Rotarians have stepped forth to help achieve this dream in the spirit of the new Rotary International Theme 2019-2020: Connecting Our World.
Frank Yih, Rotary China, was a 'Godfather' of the Silicon Valley during the 1960's and helped to develop the semiconductor during his early days at Fairchild. As a successful entrepreneur living in Shanghai, he has generously contributed 1 million Chinese RMB to lead this Vietnam 2020 campaign. He has visited Hanoi on a humanitarian visit with Roots of Peace, and pledged to help train Vietnamese farmers to grow black pepper on former battlefields for export and trade.
Brian McLeran, Past District Governor #5150 (2007-2008), generously donated $100,000 from the Rose C. Stone Foundation to create a Rotary Global Grant of $197,000 to empower rural farmers to grow sustainable peace and spices on former war-torn lands in Quang Tri, Vietnam. The fruits of their labor will be exported to Morton and Bassett Spice Company in Sonoma, California.
And, the Roots of Peace LOGO will be placed on each bottle of black pepper to be distributed nationwide to raise both awareness and visibility for our vision for a mine-free Vietnam by 2020.
Brian is also funding our Roots of Peace initiative in Afghanistan, as we seek to help eradicate polio in remote regions where children suffer. In addition to the eradication of landmines, we also seek to eradicate polio by 2020--a clear vision for peace on all fronts.
As the UN-NGO Conference convenes in Salt Lake City on August 24, 2019, Brian McLeran is again contributing a leadership give of $50,000 to The Leonardo Museum to curate a Roots of Peace MINES TO VINES exhibit. In the spirit of the 500th Anniversary of Leonardo DaVinci, we seek to use our creativity and imagination to bring forth a more peaceful world.
As the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter occurs in June 2020, we hope The Leonardo Roots of Peace MINES TO VINES exhibit will be featured in San Francisco, as we inspire the next generation to turn their 'dreams into reality' for peace.
Together, may we plant the Roots of Peace on Earth...
Heidi Kuhn, CEO
Member, Rotary Club of SF#2
Recipient, 'Service Above Self Award'