In 1997 Heidi explained to several vintners in Napa her dream of turning mines into vines in war torn Croatia. As have so many, the vintners were swept up in her enthusiasm. They grasp the importance of the dream and helped with donations of money, time and or knowledge. Heidi Kuhn is the Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace. In October we will celebrate our 21st anniversary and we are a internationally recognized instrument and a leader in the business of peace.
Gary Kuhn, President of Roots of Peace, built the Roots of Peace demine, replant and rebuild full value chain business approach and it has become a very successful model. Gary has been able to apply his business background to the peace process through the development and adaption of the full valve chain model to different countries situations. The result is sustainable farming through carefully researched crop selection for profitability, improved farming techniques, packaging, storage, and selling of the crops. Roots of Peace, through Gary’s guidance, has arranged for the selling of the product by opening new markets. The example, of Afghanistan products being sold through India’s business to India’s population efficiently is being duplicated. This arrangement, like the farming, is sustainable because it is profitable for all involved. A true win, win.
When Heidi and a delegation from Roots of Peace attended Prince Harry’s conference a few months ago, which announced the goal to rid the world of landmines by 2025, he was looking to Roots of Peace as a major partner in achieving this goal.
Roots of Peace’s full value chain approach of helping farmers achieve sustainable lifework gives farmers income, hope, security and dignity. These are the proven elements of a peaceful community.
From the start Heidi and Gary's dream became a reality through their hard work and the work of all those who chose to help. When we sat with Robert and Margrit Mondavi at the dinner the Mondavi’s put on for Roots of Peace close to 20 years ago a hundred guests, which included a lot of vintners, saw Heidi’s dream as she described it. Many of those vintners became supporters. Heidi’s family and friends, mostly also mothers of small children, helped in the Kuhn family basement with mailings, phone calls and logistics of a startup. Anne Lawrence, a friend, volunteered to fly to Croatia with Heidi to walk the mine fields and to get first-hand knowledge. A few of us went down to Stanford University where Kofi Annan, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, was speaking. He had been so impressed by Heidi’s dream he had arranged to meet with her. He talked about how the future was in the hands of individuals who care enough to stand up, to personally attempt changes that will make the world a place that people can live in together peacefully. Kofi Annan said that Roots of Peace was a perfect example of individuals in the private sector initiating change which betters the quality of life.
And the work must continue; there is much more for Roots of Peace to do with ongoing regional military conflicts and the lack of availability of basic resources. Landmines and unexploded ordinances are a byproduct of war that last long after the war is over tormenting civilians in pursuit of constructive lives. My request to all of you reading this - encourage others to join Roots of Peace as a donor help us bring greater resources to Afghanistan and Vietnam.
We thank all of our supporters for your thoughts, prayers and contributions; you are Roots of Peace.
Chairman of the Board