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Breaking Ground: From Landmines To Grapevines


I'm dan ashley, the evening news anchor for abc 7 news in san francisco, and I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe Healthy and comfortable during these very challenging times I am also a proud board member of the commonwealth club one of our most important bay area institutions The club has been hosting wonderful events with exciting speakers and topics in the bay area for over a century In times of crisis good information and strong connections in our community are especially important And during the current covet 19 crisis The club has really stepped up since march 6th The club has brought you over 100 live streamed events with speakers and panelists including past governors secretaries of state The chairman of the house intelligence committee mayors county supervisors respected medical experts the president of the university of california experts on anxiety and happiness in times of stress and many many more Every program includes a live chat So you and viewers all over the bay area and beyond have been able to ask these experts the questions that are on your minds every program has been neutral and unbiased in true commonwealth club style to get to the bottom of the issues that are so drastically affecting our lives The club has done all this public service despite being profoundly affected by the crisis the inability to hold events for the past two months Has forced the club to cut its budget and staffing by 50 percent The remaining staff are working from home to bring the community these valuable and informative live streamed programs The club needs your support to continue its shelter at home programming please make a tax deductible donation to the club now by texting the word donate to 329-4231 that is donate to 329-4231 or visit the commonwealth club website commonwealthclub

org We need the club to be here in the months and years ahead to help inform and educate As we figure out how to get our society and our economy safely moving again Consider changes to the way we live and work as a result of this crisis and take steps to prevent a future pandemic once again, please support the commonwealth club now by texting the word donate to 329-4231 that is donate to 329-4231 or visit the website commonwealthcluborg I want to personally thank you for supporting one of our community's truly great organizations I'll see you on abc 7 news and at the commonwealth club stay safe Good morning and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california Today's program and the club's new virtual efforts are generously supported by the chan zuckerberg initiative and a collaborative of local funders and donors We are grateful for their support and hope others will follow their example to support the club during these uncertain times I'm, michael, pappas executive director of the san francisco interfaith council I'll be your moderator for today's program called breaking ground from land mines to grapevines Now it's my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker Heidi kuhn I have been blessed to know heidi now for three years We first met on september 21st 2017 at the Interfaith center at the presidio the main post chapel on the occasion of the united nations international day of peace Which also coincided with the 20th anniversary? Of heidi's the founding of heidi's organization roots of peace We honored heidi and we honored her organization An incredible humanitarian a remarkable person Now, it's my distinguished pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker

Heidi kuhn Heidi is a former reporter and producer at cnn She's the founder and ceo roots of peace Which has removed over a hundred thousand land mines and unexploded ordinances throughout the world including iraq israel the west bank croatia and afghanistan And roots of peace has improved the lives of over a million farmers and family members Heidi's numerous awards include the alumni of the year award for excellence and achievement from uc berkeley And the jacqueline kennedy onassis award for outstanding public service benefiting local communities Her majesty queen noor of jordan wrote the foreword for heidi's latest book Breaking ground from land mines to grapevines one woman's mission to heal the world Would you please join me in welcoming our distinguished speaker and presenter of the day heidi kuhn? Thank you, thank you so much Michael for that very kind introduction and you know life goes full circle and I think in your position as uh, The distinguished executive director of san francisco interfaith I always recall My granny mcnair's favorite words coincidence is a miracle in which god prefers to remain anonymous And there's certainly no accidents today because I have the commonwealth club to thank not only for this presentation but 20 almost 23 years ago On september 21st It was 1997 And it was three weeks after the late princess Diana had tragically died in the accident with her dear friend dodie alfayed and the world was stunned It was not only the loss of a princess But the compassion that root word passion The compassion she brought towards the issue of aids and the issue of landmines and and for some Coincidental reason the commonwealth club was expected to host a group that was touring Um, uh, seven cities, uh to raise landmine awareness And it was uh, jerry white caleb rossiter Mary warren and uh general, um, robert gard and because the commonwealth club for one reason or another there was a uh, Cancellation I offered to host the event in the living room of my family home And to see jerry white walk into my home and take off his leg I've seen people take off their shoes in a customary manner But i've never seen somebody take off their leg to walk into my home and it was a defining moment a dear friend of mine Introducing jerry to speak played candle in the wind and I think our hearts were open To what change we may bring forth in the world To to change a world where we live today where there's an estimated 60 million landmines Silently poised in 60 countries I'm a cancer survivor my husband and and four children were there in the room and I I was holding a little boy my my son christian who was not even two years old and when I was 30 years old I was Diagnosed with malignant cancer and I think anybody who's gone through cancer and under the knife that defining moment When the anesthesia comes on you look up and you make for me a prayer dear god grant me the gift of life And I will do something special with it Well that night on september 21st 1997 when I host was honored to host the commonwealth club, um Max thielen people who distinguish people in the community who are now gone

Um, I raised my glass in a toast May the world go from mines to vines and the image of blood wine killing fields to vineyards Made the room silent And we thought how do we take this? Toast out of the living room of my home and it was an epiphany moment Michael for me because um, it was um cancer is a landmine None of us know when we're quite going to step on it And land mines are a cancer to the earth and the solution was removal So from the humble heart of a mother I set out on quest for 23 years Um, uh, just thinking of the vietnamese california we're so blessed during the harvest of hope to smell these beautiful grapevines to Celebrate the gift of life and the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands Well the fresh fruit in my part of the world is a fine bottle of wine, but in other parts of the world It's fresh grapes and it's raisins And so now today i've managed over a hundred million dollars under contract in afghanistan And I am now a ceo coordinating one of the most uh challenging harvests With kovid 19 and and the uptick in afghanistan and trying to take these fresh grapes and raisins Across contentious borders through pakistan and and speaking with our friends in pakistan and our friends in india You know, I approach this from a humanitarian heart I'm, a mother takes eight pounds to detonate a landmine the average weight of a newborn child And if I can do something with the footsteps that I have been given i've doubled my life Michael I'm 62 years young and let me share my story with you on a on a short powerpoint presentation that i've prepared for all of you So again, thank you so much to the commonwealth club for 23 years ago

And um today being july 1st coinciding again the coincidence Of princess Diana's what would have been her 59th birthday? Uh prior to her tragic death and today I think it's important to look at this date and remind ourselves of global citizens We are at the halfway par point of a year that began with great vision and great Hope as we all think back where we were to celebrate new year's 2020 I was in a minefield in vietnam and a dear friend of mine ambassador Kenneth quinn president emeritus the world food prize and a former vietnam vet joined me to meet this young gentleman Who lost his leg to a landmine today in vietnam? Millions of landmines uxos and cluster munitions remain silently poised in the ground over over Years since the war ended when I was a junior in high school on april 30th 1975 And again, um, it's our quest So where did I get this spirit and and appropriately to speak to the commonwealth club who started with? Um small roots a group of distinguished uh, local citizens wanting a better world in 1903 So this is my great great grandfather meet captain John a mcnair Our family came from scotland to maine in 1701 and helped build the eastern seaboard Uh samuel mcnair rang the liberty bell when the declaration of independence was was brought in uh roots from wiscasset maine in 1832 captain John a mcnair was born there And when he was in his 20s He heard of gold in them hills and as a young man set out to see to come to california in search of his fortune Well somehow He missed the boat now

I don't know What a young 20 year old was doing to miss the boat, but his earthly belongings uh went around the tierra del fuego the southern tip of south america So he set forth on an intrepid journey and went uh through the ithmus of panama on horseback through Malaria-infested jungles and raging rivers and arrived on the pacific ocean He took the old sonora up to san francisco And when he arrived only to find that his boat had sunk So we have a family motto don't curse the darkness light a candle and and with humble beginnings he moved up to petaluma california uh, uh, he had a brother who had been there already and um, He realized he didn't have enough money to go to the gold hills So he saw the opportunity there Um and uh, The people were coming needed a bank So he started bank of sonoma and then he realized because of their shipping experience over the years on the east coast That he needed to bring the eggs milk and butter to build an economy uh into san francisco, so he and Owned the steamer gold and um brought transportation

They needed a place to live He started real estate and and in a decade he had he had the means To purchase two thousand five hundred acres in san rafael on the eastern shores of marin county and um, uh, you have a self-made man, but but one of of spirit and respect for good hard work, um, I I would like to say before leaving that um, uh when he heard of the chinese the challenges of uh 18, um Was the chinese exclusion act he sailed to san francisco and offered the chinese safe refuge And today it's called china camp 500 chinese came starting a dried thriving Dried shrimp industry that um, uh, you know, the people were self-reliant And the respect for the land and its people was ingrained to me throughout generations Meet young heidi thomas kuhn in 1975 before women were ever allowed in rotary They were called rotary anne's I had the honor and privilege of being an exchange student to utsunamiya and when I stayed with my japanese families who only 30 years earlier had been enemies brutal enemies during world war ii I I saw that that that healing among rivals could happen and I came home the summer of my junior year just two months after the vietnam war ended and I told my My parents I wanted to go to berkeley and get an education To do something about peace I graduated in political economics of industrial societies And uh met and married the love of my life gary kuhn Well, four children later, we launched roots of peace and it was at the world trade center in san francisco You'll see a beautiful woman to the top left That's uh was my congresswoman who stood sat next to me and whispered in my ear I will be with you as long as it takes well congressman nancy pelosi has graciously invited me Not one, but two occasions when she stood by her Children and grandchildren and put the gavel down as speaker of the house Thank you to my local roots and to thank you to those Jerry white Robert robert mueller and of course to if I can share to the left there's mrs Uh, kofi and on and uh The roots we just celebrated last week in san francisco the 75th anniversary of the signing of the united nations charter june 25th 1926 uh 1945 and and those roots of peace are are needed now in our world more than ever uh president, um roosevelt had envisioned a united nations His he died before that vision could come to fruition but on may 19th My grandparents always taught me that the original delegates of the united nations gathered beneath mere woods and dubbed those as the temples of peace these beautiful trees rising and um and what that represents After I started roots of peace the minds to bind vision we had to turn that vision into reality and you can see some of the most intrepid, uh Visitors in the napa valley to the upper, right? uh the late robert mondavi hosted the first fundraiser where I didn't have a penny to my name and he was gracious enough to Raise along with margaret thirty thousand dollars I had money to go d mine a field And another vietnamese stepped in nienko gergich at the bottom mike gergich in 1976 won the paris tasting sneaking a little bottle into paris and the best noses in the world he and robert mondavi helped bring the uh, napa valley to what it is today from 1976 only 17 wineries today over 400 and of course nothing would be What we're doing today in afghanistan without the generous support of diane disney miller You can see uh presenting a pennies for peace to mrs

Gofianon Uh, she is the owner was again the late diane disney miller daughter of walt disney Um and Uh, I never knew Michael, who she was and and she volunteered in the basement of our home? She came every week and one day took me to lunch at ill Davy days in san rafael and wrote a six figure check and and I said mrs Miller She goes you remind me of dad and I said mrs miller who was your dad and she looked at me straight on and said walt disney, and she said she had 330 no's she told me that her father had for for a mouse that was going to change the world Imagine going around and saying mickey mouse is going to change the world 330 knows she's always told me one day turn your minds to vines You will get out of the basement And in basement I did the beginning of the new year Uh january 2000 um, I had the honor and privilege of uh, taking my first footsteps and in the minefields of of croatia was shortly after the balkan war and 1

2 million landmines were planted in the soil the us department of state I thank for matching those funds in the international trust fund out of slovenia and Where would I be without my rotary experience? Here is john Hope former president of rotary san Francisco Number two where my grandfather was president in 1945 And very proudly present, uh there at the signing of the un charter pieces in our blood

I like to say and uh, It's so beautiful to have seen croatia turn into uh, one of the top tourist destinations in the world within my lifetime This is a beautiful photo because um, I took my daughter to a minefield on her 13th birthday And growing up in marin She saw that the latest pair of blue jeans was not the goal Into her teenage years It was a rite of passage as mother and daughter and um, she gathered with abc news anchor sheryl jennings when I was invited to the studio and The three of us went to lunch at illfor nile and talked about three women who had footsteps in a minefield This was not your normal san francisco conversation And we coined that phrase at the table the pent roots of peace pennies for peace campaign And um, I salute my dear daughter who has joined me in the minefields of the world and raised over 50 million american pennies for peace to build schools and soccer fields for children in Afghanistan soccer fields in angola and you can see it with the big bright amer, uh sunshine, uh there With the pinata that we brought to the children of croatia This is my dear husband gary Love of my life boy of my dreams for 44 years We've been married and um, we are here in the minefields of angola so this is the exact place actually where the late princess diana had walked in huambo and roots of peace partnered with the Conservation international when we learned that the elephants could not walk the land Uh without they felt the thunder in the ground and so they they infringed upon the food sources and and ate the food so the when villagers and and you know Man and beast could live side by side the villagers of course were shooting the elephants Um, so we have set out on a path uh, this is featured in the book and shortly after this photo was taken a group of uh, Just a swarm of bees came and we were told to freeze in that field and not move For it was a minefield It was one of the most frightening moments of my life Um, we've moved on to israel-palestine Which i'll be telling you about later and this is a little boy named Daniel yuval Who stepped on a landmine when he was playing in a rare snowball fight in the gallon? Together with jerry white we helped bring forth unanimous legislation at the knesset These are the fields of bethlehem and through the generous funding of shirley and paul dean owners of spiroterra winery again, the old davide a six-figure check helped bring forth the demining of the fields of Bethlehem and it wasn't an easy project

I went back and forth Uh Uh, probably about 20 times You know over the fence over the wall, whatever you wanted to call it We're humanitarian i'm Not political but both sides knew exactly where I was going and you can see the lower left is into the office in ramallah Of uh president mahmoud abbas and to the right very proudly into the office of prime minister benjamin Netanyahu with a little boy who helped me change the world The interfaith support Michael is so important because um Not only has roots to peace been blessed by his holiness pope francis But to the right is the grand mufti of the golden dome in jerusalem When he heard about the word work that we're doing in turning mines to vines He presented me with his holy beats he went to his desk and took them off and said we are all the daughters and sons of Abraham, and after roots of peace was tragically attacked on march 28 2014 in a four and a half Hour taliban attack

It was my first call that I got along with general John, f campbell and said the entire muslim world is behind you please mrs Kuhn Do not give up To the lower left is cardinal peter turkson standing at the gates of the casserole yahood The baptismal site of jesus We walked through there together where seven monasteries Uh, uh were heavily mined along the jordan river Can you imagine where three faiths converge? Michael? Not only where jesus was baptized by john, it was the uh, the fields, uh, Where the sacred land where muhammad once walked and where elijah rose to heaven? so the israelites crossed over that same river, uh indicannon and you can Imagine the poetic words that your majesty queen nor wrote in the forward of my book

Um, Again we are all daughters and sons of abraham and we must find a way to get back to the garden Uh, gandhi global family award again another interfaith award I was 150th anniversary of mahatma gandhi, um I love this quote the day the power of love overrules the love of power The world will know peace and I was honored deeply humbled and honored to be the first american to be presented this ward Again on the 150th anniversary of his assassination on october 2nd 2019 Afghanistan, we're going to talk a lot about uh this later in the video But um after september 11th attacks, um, we learned about afghanistan But it's not a country of torabora and caves It's one of the most fertile lands where if you dug a hole through uh, where i'm living here today Um, uh, you wouldn't end up in china you'd end up in afghanistan So it's the fertile grounds of The san joaquin valley it was once dubbed the garden of central asia and I took this picture with the women As we were teaching them to harvest, uh the grapes and and it was with the support of their husbands They worked early in the morning and we helped through roots of peace and funding from usaid to plant over 5 million fruit trees in all 34 provinces Impacting over 1 million farmers and families minds to vines dreams into reality but there are no dreams into reality for the most heavily mined country in the world is Afghanistan and to the upper right abc news Anchor sheryl jennings joined me in the minefields of uh, afghanistan on two occasions, uh, once in 2005 and the photo above with my husband with our flak jackets was 2015 We all had to take separate cars in case of a car bombing, but we felt um, you know It was um, our footsteps were worthy and and um, so grateful to be here today You can see the photo at the bottom all all the gentlemen including the little boy had lost limbs to land mines Again, roots of peace is working very closely with um, the afghan government and uh to the on april 4th 2018 I was invited to um Uh by by uh, abdullah abdullah to see these families come in without limbs So there is a sense to whom much has been given much is expected peace through agriculture is our battle cry, of course Uh, uh, I I I take that quote to ambassador

Uh, kenneth quinn but um turning mines to vines and creating fertile grounds for peace alternative agricultural crops to uh, poppies average afghan farmer makes eight hundred dollars wheat twelve hundred poppies four thousand dollars growing fresh grapes So it it uh blasts the argument that um, all those afghans only can grow poppies Well, not true provide give a man teach a man to fish teach a woman to farm And here are the women over 5 000 women we've trained we're going to train more and sitting there was one of my happiest days with these women and training them in modern agricultural techniques, you know as I talked with reed lohr and john, haydew our our current chief of parties, you know we go into the The battlegrounds for peace We're not one to shy away and in 2014 uh again after the attack of the taliban Um, you know, it was a defining moment for me as to whether you know, it just has gotten way too tough It's time to stay in my marin county home Get back to the tennis courts and and give this up Well with funding from usaid and our champ program Which is the acronym for commercial horticultural agricultural marketing program a mouthful Um we have uh Helped to take afghan exports as you can see from 2014 to an average of 250 million to over 14 billion dollars and we're just getting started again, began the first uh day of this new uh decade 2020 in the minefields of vietnam and then went on to china, where frankie a former, uh Who? was the one of the founders of the silicon valley semiconductor, uh heard of my work in vietnam and again, uh, roots of peace transcends governments frank gave me a very generous check for one million chinese rnb to remove the minefields the land mines in Kuang tree province

Uh the former dmz again today 45 years after the war ended millions of landmines uxos and cluster munitions remain buried in the ground and since the war ended 40 Over 100 000 innocent vietnamese footsteps have been maimed or killed by land mines this next month we're in the month actually, uh, uh the the 12th of july, uh marked, uh, The uh 25th anniversary when president, uh bill clinton brought forth the us Uh vietnamese relations Um, and and I can't think of a better way to celebrate that friendship than getting all the land mines out of vietnam This is a little boy who uh picked up a rock he um He thought he was fixing his bike It was a cluster mission it blew off his left arm and face and i'm standing there holding the hand of his mother The vietnamese people I just can't tell you what forgiving people they are And um, you know, I knew in my heart

It's probably a munition that was left behind by an american but You know, we met each other at the beginning of this year Her son had died from his injuries, but the tears of two mothers afghan I'm, sorry vietnamese and american Our tears melted together and I will continue my quest to raise 20 million dollars by the end of 2020 With a very clear vision to eradicate all landmines uxos and cluster munitions in in the former Dmz of vietnam when I was a student at berkeley in 1970s That was my war And this is something I can do about do to create peace and love This is my dear friend ambassador Kenneth quinn again Uh standing at the finland tunnels which were built, um to when the bombs were were dropping Those are bombs over our shoulders and and together um Uh on my birthday January 6

I was celebrating again my 62nd birthday having survived Cancer together with ambassador quinn We put our thumbs on that that button and detonated a land mine and it's just a horrific blast You know and and it's exciting at first to hear it and then if you think it's so bittersweet Because that could have been a child It could have been a farmer and it just reminded me how much more work I have to do and This is a joyful moment Peace peace the economics of peace This is my dear friend Uh, Morton got elf He's uh 85 years young and he um also Uh had something to do with the vietnam war He was a pilot flying the uh, Our vietnamese american soldiers in and those who were injured out and he too said what can I do as part of corporate social? responsibility to make a difference Well, I can hold up this bottle of morton basset black pepper the best black pepper in the world And you can see I hope on the back the logo of roots of peace, which is the same one over my shoulders He is sourcing every single um bit of black pepper from the former battlefields of vietnam Uh, it is the best black pepper in the world and he is striving to give the world a taste of peace This month the pepper will be sold in all supermarkets throughout the united states of america

That's my way of celebrating the fourth of july And this is my book breaking ground I hope you're able to purchase it on amazon And again always giving a shout to local bookstores Uh book passage elaine, petruccelli Her in san francisco marin county it's available Please order it It's a it's a very, uh truthful story at a time I think bringing hope to the world uh vision into reality and as we begin this, uh fourth of july weekend, uh, the american dream is live and well, so, um, So with that, um, it all starts with solid roots and um I say, thank you Tash shakur come on and uh over to you Michael, and this is one of my very beautiful Friends in afghanistan

We need to see the world more with friendship and light and certainly praying for all of them as they are suffering kovid19 and i'm coordinating a harvest of hope Thank you dear heidi kuhn founder and ceo roots of peace a reminder This is a commonwealth club of california program called breaking ground from land mines to grapevines Now it's time for the question and answer period please submit your questions via chat um i'd like to to start heidi I mean This was an overwhelming presentation I mean 23 years Of humanitarian aid work, uh and really saving lives Uh, you've seen a lot in the time that you've uh endeavored in in this incredible work I'm, just wondering in this season of covet 19 you raised You said you had some challenges Can you tell us about the challenges of doing your work in the midst of the covenant? Oh Well, michael, um, not only are our challenges on on the home front, you know I have four children and they've all grown up So, uh, my oldest son Dr Brooks kuhn is a pulmonary cardiologist

He works in icu at uc Davis, and he is the one responsible for intubating The covet 19 patients and when I spoke to him yesterday, it's on the uptick And he told me he had 20 patients and and uh mom I I intubated two last night and Please please wear your mask you and dad stay home So, you know i'm managing roots of peace worldwide a humanitarian non-profit from our home front and and praying for our children, um our four children around the world and the children of um, Of of of the world and and as we address that um this morning I had my real life Situation I had a conference call with afghanistan And our team we now have over 250 employees in afghanistan i'm coordinating a harvest of hope So it was beautiful it took 10 years for those trees to bear fruit We're coordinating the harvest down in kandahar and hellman province These are heavily taliban territories But but people have to feed their children and and roots of peace is in the belly of the beast, not for politics but bringing those fresh fruits to new markets to double and triple their income to poppies and and and just The fruit of of life and to feed the children So so the pomegranates and and um Uh melons are are in in those two areas as we move up in the cunt in the country gosney wardock and logar uh It's the apples and apricots and and almonds and then uh north of kabul Just like the napa valleys what's called the somali plains and the most beautiful fresh grapes grow in this region And um, so so the challenges I faced real time today Is that the borders between pakistan and and uh afghanistan Are closed they closed today between torkan and spinbaldak? And uh, I am very proud to be working with the pakistan Pakistan government i've had the honor of celebrating new year's there in 2017 With a dear friend of mine, shahid khan At the invitation of the prime minister

So again put the politics aside We need to open those borders to get those fresh fruits to new markets Um, they're desperate they put uh, the the fruits on the cargo planes because of cobin 19 Not many people are flying The flights are limited just like they are here in the united states So they became innovative and rather than just filling the the belly of the cargo plane They decided to fill the seats the empty seats on the plane And I learned today That when the plane took off all the fruit rolled back Oh goodness, and they lost harvest So these are things we don't even imagine in san rafael California can't even imagine so so that's my morning and i'm going to work so hard with the afghan government with the with the uh, Pakistan government and with the indian government because these fresh fruits are going to new markets in india And uh with food security and and the challenges that we are now going to face to feed india Which will be the third largest economy in the world in another uh another year um, you have to feed those people and what better way to come connect as I learned to berkeley supply and demand but if you're Going to close borders and not create Access to these new markets and and nature doesn't wait for coveted 19 I am managing a harvest of hope and it is my responsibility A ceo to get those fresh fruits safely packed in corrugated boxes And we'll share a video uh with you, um later in that regard Um, so first maybe I will take you to another muslim country where we've worked in palestine and west bank and you can't work there without the Full support of the israeli government and i'm very proud to have brought three faiths together um, uh And on on one platform and I think we all know it it's called bethlehem But it's not your typical a little town of bethlehem um a dear friend of mine, uh, uh, noah griffin many people may know very fondly within the um, Uh commonwealth club community, but he's he's so beautiful with lyrics and one day He he got the um a beautiful song uh re-read The lyrics if I can remember it, let's see a little town of bethlehem How dare we not d mine embedded deep the land mine sleep the scourge of humankind Yet in the darkness shineth, the everlasting light the hope through fears supplant the fears We lead with faith not and light So something like that

Noah will bust me later, but it was very heart-touching So with that let's roll with um again abc 7 news Anchor sheryl jennings I I thank her so much for her courage to walk the minefields of the world with me not only in afghanistan israel-palestine and vietnam that her show stories Emmy award-winning stories are available on our website But when they ask us our blood type before we walk into a minefield You know for darn sure that this is real The humanitarian organization has made a historic mission to the middle east to honor a little boy's request And his wish to free the world from land mines started a movement It ended with israelis and palestinians working together in the fields of bethlehem Abc 7 news Anchor cheryl jennings has the Story this little boy doesn't realize just how dangerous this path is He's taking a shortcut through an old minefield in his village in the fields of bethlehem This young boy daniel uval started a campaign to get rid of landmines He won the attention of a california mother who runs a non-profit to remove landmines What happened is making history israelis and palestinians Working together to remove old land mines turning this deadly field into this a land filled with opportunities Mines killed nearly half a dozen children here and many adults But the marin county humanitarian organization roots of peace stepped in to get rid of the minds they provided this video this is a Anti-personal mind those are parts, which we took out from the minefield the founder of roots of peace heidi kuhn delicately negotiated a historic partnership between israelis and palestinians which allowed us roots of peace to be the first ever humanitarian demining organization in the middle east helping bring forth food security and jobs and as we remove these landmines From the earth we pray that the children may walk safely and shepherds may tend to their sheep The villagers are extremely grateful to heidi a california mother of four who answered the call of young daniel Yuval his right leg was blown off by a landmine in israel's golan heights in february 2010 He was playing in the snow with his brothers and sisters They didn't know it was a minefield

He was only 11 What did he say to you? He asked me As a mother if I could help him create a mind-free world how many years did it take you it took three years San francisco israeli consul general, dr Andy david provided immense support It's just to prove that israelis and palestinians can work together can bring peace together daniel And his family came with heidi kuhn to visit abc 7 just a few months after he convinced israel's government To pass a bill to ban landmines that aren't needed for defense Daniel partnered with heidi and nobel peace prize winner Jerry white in that effort Jerry, also lost a leg to a land mine near the same area as daniel the money for the project came from napa valley vendors paul and shirley dean who donated 500 000 Heidi flew between california and israel more than half a dozen times She met with top leaders including israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas and religious leaders She persuaded a retired israeli army colonel and a palestinian mother of four to team up for this project We look to see the israelian children and palestinian children playing in the lands without minds And heidi met with the leader of the catholic church in jerusalem who gave her the first ever peace medal in the church's history To honor her life-saving work in the name of a young hero young daniel yuval This little boy helped change the face not only of his nation But across borders all over the world and we are well on track to helping him achieve his dream for a mind free world Cheryl jennings abc 7 news Heidi watching that video Um and seeing the piece work you're doing reminds me of uh, the famous swiss catholic theologian There is peace among religions there can't be peace among nations And you have been that wonderful ambassador to bring people of different faiths together And for this I know that god is smiling on you, uh in in god's many different manifestations and names, uh by peoples of different parts of the world I wanted to ask you a question Uh, today's july 1st uh The opening of your book begins with coincidence Is a miracle in which god prefers to remain anonymous? July 1st is princess

Diana's birthday Uh today she would have been 59 years old my age What would you think? She would think of your minds to vines initiative today Well, I hope she would be proud and I hope her son would be proud Both of her sons, uh, because uh three weeks prior to her tragic death She had the courage to walk through the minefields of bosnia-herzegovina And uh to to really bring the human face to to something we have control of You know as michael, you know It's not the parable of the seed And to to leave landmines buried to the ground and be so blind as human beings to walk away That land is fertile and as the population increases around the world Each mine out is a seed that I can plant And and and a farmer can plant because my business model is to put myself out of business if I have a dream It would be a world without landmines and her son, uh Prince harry had graciously, uh with the mag and the halo trust invited me to kensington palace in april 2017 And he called forth a mind free world by 2025 Well, he and his lovely wife Megan and young son have just moved to california and I hope this message through the calif uh commonwealth club of california Gets to his years because we are here to help him as one mother to one child and and passing that torch forward And I hope this book makes people realize that no No deed is too small no effort and and despite the many many obstacles those Coincidences along the way will meet you in places You never could have expected You know michael just a year ago

Um, uh in may uh, uh, 2019 uh two lovely women, uh ann and benning and um, And elizabeth, they are the founders of the uh healing summit Um, Uh in the shores of southern portugal and I had met them at the united nations and they invited me to be one of the keynote speakers and I paused and I thought What am I going to do at a healing summit talking about landmines, but you know what? We introduce with roots of peace to the united nations environmental program landmines are an environmental concern They also are climate change affects landmines because when you get tsunamis You know onto the shores of sri, lanka, you know Those those check marks where people knew safely where to walk or washed away And and in vietnam today when you have the mud they become virtual Minefields that roll along the river so so um when I was I went and I took my dear daughter whose birthday is may 1st And um, so she met me and I gave a passionate speech and how diana, you know Her passing was such a moment of inspiration in my life and then shortly after that um a beautiful woman as tall stately elegant woman arab, and and scandinavian walked over to our table we were sitting beneath a lemon tree just a mother-daughter kind of just southern shores of portugal and She came over and said may I have lunch with you? I heard your presentation and um She said I don't know how to say this to you My brother also died in that car accident with diana I'm, jasmine alfayette and my brother was dodie And after we hugged with tears, uh, she told me the story of her last summer, uh when she was with uh, her brother had invited her on the yacht with um diana's two young boys and they just had good fun as Teenagers and eating pizza and you know probably ducking the paparazzi I'm sure and uh, uh diana was very gracious She said and asked her as a young 16 year old What do you want to be when you grow up and She she told her I want to be a fashion designer and and diana encouraged her Well, the vacation was over and you know They were preparing to go back home to their respective families and there was a package with a big bow Presented to jasmine and it was the versace off the shoulder dress that diana famously wore Um, and she presented it to that young 16 year old well Jasmine told me she was just elated and uh sadly and tragically just a week later versace was killed And a month later both dodie and diana was gone So we're gone

So so she folded that beautiful blue dress like a flag She told me and tucked it under her bed And when we met beneath the lemon trees, we both decided to turn lemons into lemonade She donated the dress for the roots of peace minds divine's exhibit at the leonardo museum In salt lake city coinciding with the un's 68th civil society conference And uh on the anniversary of their death in in August last year, we cut the ribbon and open this beautiful exhibit And uh today that dress a beautiful blue dress is juxta juxtaposed with a halo truss, beautiful blue landmine gear that she wore into minefields of angola Of course, the leonardo museum is closed now due to covet 19, but I cannot thank jasmine enough for entrusting me with diana's dress and to Continue to tell this story of the importance of the eradication of all landmines from the face of this earth For the sake of the children to walk and the farmers to farm their fields Well, thank you And I think you've answered one of the questions of our attendees and uh online did heidi ever work with princess Diana in her endeavors to eradicate world of land in spirit spirit in spirit and spirit I have to say I was very touched to see our mutual friend andy david on the uh, ambassador andy david on the uh What on your on your uh, cheryl jennings tape because he's the one who introduced us and and the rest has been history when I look at the when I look at the uh Title of your book the last part says one woman's mission to heal the world To repair the world in hebrew is tikkun alum and and you are doing that, uh with grace And love and conviction and resolution Uh, I wanted to to move over and just ask you Three california vintners you've mentioned them by name joined you in canada To witness the signing of the ottawa trini treaty to ban landmines And as well as and speaker nancy pelosi joined you with mrs Kofi annan to launch roots of peace at the world trade club in san francisco Tell us about these initial days of turning ideas into reality Well, you know it it could have been just a beautiful minds divine's toast in the living room of my home But you know it it's you know, I think the book is to inspire others to take those intrepid bolds footsteps, you know and and dream beyond what you think you are capable of and uh, you know, Just uh trusting in my intuition on that deep deep Uh, meaningful moment of Training those fields into bountiful vineyards

They sit here at a two-year-old my children were in school They were eight ten and twelve And uh, so, you know, there were logistics here I mean, it's a factual book And um, I went up to napa valley knocked at the door of robert mondavi And and he opened and and really the rest is history and I have um, eric wente again another Um, Wonderful supporter of the commonwealth club, uh, he joined me california vietnam livermore tore Kenwood He was the senior vice president of behringer at the time and um robert mondavi sent his canadian representative and I didn't have a penny to my name in december of 1997 but those people who were in the living room of my home Won the nobel peace prize and then the ottawa treaty to ban land mines was signed 164 nations signed it The united states did not and has not but again roots of peace is a humanitarian not a political, uh, Organization and I will take the footsteps of my life to eradicate As many minds as I can from the face of the earth So, um, you know, I thank the united states for for matching those uh funds

Uh, they've Contributed I believe over three billion in uh, mine removal around the world, but we have a ways to go Um, uh, we have a ways to go and there were some decisions earlier this year January 31st um To change policy but again, um, that's not my minefield But um, let's let's encourage some people of the importance of the business aspect This is a business deal This is about trade and business because if we get these mines out instead of make them We've got we've got the world we have trade opportunities And those benefit when you have trade opportunities You're going to have peace in those fields of afghanistan You know, i'm i'm in the middle of the um, you know The harvest right and we're having peace talks these treaties but you got to do the piece, you know One thing once the ink is dried you got to do the piece and that's why we're in these conflict and post conflict areas, you know face on leading with um, Turning the the swords into plowshares and spears and pruning hooks So that nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither Shall they learn war anymore? so with that Respecting the seeds we have in common rather than those which separate us Michael May I take you on another abc journey to afghanistan? I was going to ask you only because of my personal interest with your work with the muslim community in afghanistan I Would love for you to share the impact of your program on taliban Peace treaties

Yes Yes It's important work It's critically important work, you know a year from now, we may not have the opportunity to put this genie back in the bottle But I think and I believe that uh roots of peace is a humanitarian non-profit That's skiff in the ocean Supported by usaid dod european union asian development bank and a new contract We just signed with the state department and undp Working in remote regions that people in marin county don't know in cocktail party conversations Called bhaglis and and fada and uh nangahar, but we're there to help the farmers Um, check the religion at the door check the politics you know, I think always as we remove the demine, uh Not only the soil we have to demine the soul and and demine the hatred in our minds But we just can't leave those vacant We need to fill it with love And and and with heart and when you plant a seed today Uh with sunlight water in the human hand it will grow as it has for thousands of years So thank you to dear cheryl jennings abc former abc news anchor for over 30 years A woman of grace and substance for joining me in the minefields of afghanistan

So let's go there 2015 A year after um, we came back after a taliban attack We're here for the people and we're here, you know, the taliban has to feed their children too, right? So we don't judge we just uh, turn turn swords into plowshares guns into shovels Transform the economy of afghanistan tonight abc 7 news Anchor cheryl jennings had the exclusive opportunity to see their work firsthand and she is here to tell us more about that It's all very exciting president ashraf ghani says that he wants afghanistan to be an exporting machine And believes the san rafael based charity roots of peace Is helping to provide the tools to be a game changer for his country with the help of us age It's a reborn love People are re-engaging with their country Afghanistan's new president ashraf ghani met recently with roots of peace founders heidi and gary kuhn and me To talk about moving his country's economy from aid to trade I want to take groups of peace for their initiatives and i'd be very encouraging Of scaling up The effort ritz apiece is eager to expand its work with farmers and traders so they can stand on their own I saw their pilot project in 2005 during my first visit to afghanistan when roots of peace was removing landmines And helping starving farmers grow food for their families Now thanks to long-term funding from usaid a major transformation is underway to improve the agricultural economy The new president told me that it is crucial for the world to help afghanistan create jobs Because jobs can be a powerful weapon to fight the drug trade and terrorism the image Of a number of small drug runners is not the image of the majority of the people It's the type of threats That have congregated around our neighborhood or threats to the entire system of government In spite of those threats afghanistan is a country on the move finally after decades of war Present-day kabul at night the fifth fastest growing city in the world has progress and success And that could only happen with a coalition of the security that is provided general john campbell leads the nato mission in afghanistan He talked with me at the military base in kabul about the important contributions by roots of peace their dedication their passion their energy for the afghan people is is pretty remarkable roots of peace clearly is a Have shown that they're dedicated To development here and they have some very impressive results mill hammack is head of the usaid mission in Afghanistan the largest in the world They've been funding our programs and supporting our efforts I've been a huge supporter of us, which is great It's enabled us to do many good things in this country Hammack and his team met with the kuns in afghanistan to talk about president Ghani's goal drive the agricultural economy faster link more farmers and more traders to international markets We've seen a shift now whereby farmers are actually making money And there's a growing number of afghan Traders that are helping out the roots of peace team producing those impressive results includes experts in science and business we've gone from market demand to identifying the types of product that buyers want and then working backwards and saying This is a product that you should be growing

And this is how you should take care of that product proper Irrigation is important thinning is important Fertilizer ahmad shaw trains farmers on ways to grow the best grapes and pomegranates He says it took time to convince the farmers to try new ideas They were fighting with us why you are disturbing our wines This is from my mother This is from my father We have taken farmers to international expositions international markets to meet with the buyers in those markets They needed to understand the big picture we've gone from what are basically wholesale markets to directly selling to supermarket chains Those aspects they would classify as being game changing Millions of dollars of deals are starting to happen Thanks to that partnership with usaid And now president ghani has jumped in and is already promoting afghanistan's produce without the sons and daughters of farmers believing that they can be presidents ministers entrepreneurs we will not have a prosperous country And tomorrow night we're going to hear from president ghani again on why he is asking silicon valley to help him rebuild his country his trusted advisor in san jose is working on those connections and they both say the opportunities are only limited by our Imaginations president seems very progressive

Absolutely He wants to get this done right then now yeah I'm going to ask you to elaborate a little bit on this if it's okay, sir, uh cheryl heidi Following september the september 11th attack on the united states That's when you began your work in afghanistan You expanded your minds to vines initiative beyond wine into growing Can you talk a little bit about that and what? What has kept you going uh in that direction because I think it's a it's a lesson for all of us Well, michael thank you for that question, I think that the simple answer is my family My family kept me going and without an incredibly supportive husband, you know My husband gary was for 10 years ibm and he went over for a little startup company called adobe systems with john warnock and chuck eschke and uh, this was the 1990s right early 1990s and I remember that spirit of innovation in the silicon valley and gary was working with john and chuck on Coming up with a new name for a new product they had to connect to two systems and they had a long way to fall if they embarrassed themselves in front of the world and I remember, you know hearing that epiphany moment Let's call it acrobat So you may have heard of adobe acrobat and my dear husband was on the front line, um as the business genius for that So, you know working in the basement of my home for five years just with an idea, you know mother of four children and uh, you know, certainly a graduate of berkeley and former cnn reporter and and uh producer providing stories for them as my own company newslink international but um, You know, I couldn't have done this

I was working my finances were in a shoe box And it took my dear husband gary and and my my four children who in all ways Um brooks is a healer tucker my son went to To vietnam for three years and started our vietnam program kylie and christian have both walked the minefields of the world with me And so gary went with me, uh to to uc davis and one of the best viticultural schools in the world and uh, we approached them and said, uh, We'd like to turn minds to vines in in Afghanistan and we learned some incredible stories that a gentleman by the name of dr Harold olmo Olmo in the 1940s was the original indiana jones, and he went on horseback throughout afghanistan You know putting the the great varietals 70 varietals of grapes originated in afghanistan, and he created a living library there So we approached them And said, let's turn minds to vines there because uh the taliban had burned those fields and then mined them on top so, uh what roots of peace did is we partnered in Uh 2002, uh with united nations mine action service and implemented by the halo Trust to remove those mines in the somali plains north of kabul And then introduce the trellis vines, you know the posts that lift the vine as we see so beautifully in napa valley well the first year they cut those uh Wooden posts down and when I asked them why why did you not trust us? And they said mrs Kuhn? It was the coldest winter on record if we didn't burn the wood we wouldn't be here We had to feed our families and stay warm So I learned very quickly in american lesson to listen Just as we have to do now to listen to black lives matter We need to listen more And so we went over there with another model and that was the cement trellis post that my father gave me the idea again, the mcnear family roots We owned a brick and block company still own it Uh The family does and uh mcnair's brick and block that we did the cement trellis posts And so it took a whole family It really took a village and that is now the afghan farmers own those businesses Uh the trellis posts and it's actually a legacy Uh, The trellis spines literally lifted afghanistan a country that's actually shaped like a leaf

So What we're doing? Oh is turning over a new leaf for afghanistan I'm not giving up on these wonderful afghan farmers and friends And again, thank you to my dear family, uh for supporting the vision of their mom and sharing their mom with the world I I think that you have Uh spawned other seeds as well and that's your children Uh, and and thank you I i'm not gonna sleep tonight If I don't uh answer one of our our questions from the from our attendees It's a more technical question for removal of land mines did roots of peace hire the removal experts What kind of training and protective equipment was needed? Yes, okay Let me be very clear about that the passion that brought me through this was Knowing we live in a world today with an estimated 60 million landmines Silently poised in 60 countries So minds to vines has been and always will be the vision in this American mother's heart um, it's grown to an organization now and what roots of peace a 501 c 3 nonprofit does we train the Farmers we train the trainer and now with funding new funding from usaid We're providing exports to new markets to again provide Uh have that go back

It's it's a value chain so roots of peace contracts with the halo trust with mad Minds and battery group with norwegian people's aid with quadro with with kromak and croatia We never want to get into the d mining We leave that for the professionals I've been there in minefields I've detonated landmines I have the deepest respect for the professionals and when we raise those funds In in the case of diane disney miller's funds It was two hundred thousand dollars

We gave every single penny through United nations mine action authority and 100 of those pennies went to the halo trust Because you got to get the mines out roots of peace 90 Comes in because because many of these demining organizations just taken out land mines and walk walked away Well that transfer of knowledge from grandfather to father and son is lost to war And so if you create Economic viability the business of peace for young people then that is a recipe for peace all over the world People don't want to be jobless They want to have that beautiful feeling of planting of seed smelling the harvest of grapes And knowing they don't have to harvest them on midday on burlap sacks and drag them to market Hoping to get a meager profit that you can put those in Containers corrugated boxes and through funding from roots usaid we built cold storage refrigeration And and again, um, I hope if I have another dream It's to create an airline I need that now because I don't need fruit rolling off the passenger seats I'm thinking right now of roots of peace r-o-u-t-e-s Because we need to get those planes in the sky have this be the trusted across the world of renewing agriculture Peace through agriculture again to my dear friend ambassador Kenneth quinn, but um, you know, let's uh Let's turn those swords in those plowshares those minds and divines leave it to the experts on all levels and the export in Agricultural redevelopment is roots of peace So tasha core I have to make a confession uh, you know It wasn't until meeting you that I had a real appreciation for the disney family Because our office is up in the lower level of the main post chapel And on the main post is the disney family museum Which so graciously after our interfaith service and honoring you and roots of roots for Peace roots of peace on the 20th anniversary They hosted the gracious reception to help raise funds, uh for your incredible efforts

So for that And it's truly the family roots as you say it was diane disney miller and and her dear husband ron who were both deceased but um joanna miller, uh their daughter one of seven children Is the executive director of the walt disney family museum on the grounds of the beautiful renovated presidio? in san francisco and You know san francisco presidio is a living example of turning swords into plowshares where you can take a military fort And turn it into a golden gate, uh national Um, Beetle park so I feel so blessed Michael to know you to be born and raised in the san francisco bay area Um saint francis, you know, the gardener Um, I I, you know, pacifica means peace Um, let's take this spirit You know, it's not gonna come From washington new york traditional places

Let's bring those roots of peace back to the san francisco bay area And it's no longer, you know a hippie dippy Peace out it is Peace And love and we need more Peace And love in the world like never before i'm hoping that your heart will be warmed Each of us is coping with the covet 19 in different ways I've taken up gardening and It has been just an incredible joy, and so I appreciate what you're doing in a very profound way right now I am in the unenviable position of being the time keeper here today and our time has gone by so quickly But i'd like to end with one last question I'd like to end where your book starts Um, and that is her majesty queen noor wrote the foreword to your book with the passionate words We are all daughters and sons of abraham Tell us about your efforts to work with multiple faiths as you seek to remove the remnants of war caused by land mines in both the soil and the soul Well, I I you know I think we have many paths to the divine And um, I think it is a time in our human history where we need to respect as I say The seeds we have in common rather than those which separate us and on the back of my the cover of my book Oh, I happen to have it here

Go figure Um is uh is not only a quote from speaker Nancy pelosi You know a very very esteemed uh leader Democrat but also cindy mccain a republican and I mean so very much to me Uh, jane pat ambassador george moose pat mitchell and uh jane goodall for the animals, but at this time in american history, um, I hope we can put our swords down I hope we can really come together as a nation as a world and and to heal the wounds of war and to heal, uh, The wounds of covet 19 i'm living and breathing that and holding my breath and praying each day For my son and his beautiful wife Who was also a physician with two children? We took care of our dear grandchildren because they couldn't come home With a two and five-year-old for risk of of infecting the children and we are on the uptick in the san francisco bay area So we need to lead with faith rather than fear and all faiths hold hands in the darkness and when we come out of this coveted 19 global pandemic May we have more compassion for one another and maybe not be so blind As to walk away from land mines

We've been given this beautiful earth to shepherd Michael, you know, you're planting gardens Let's plant global gardens Let's respect and be true stewards of the land not judge Our politics not judge our race regardless of the color of our hand the politics in our mind or the faith in our heart A seed will grow as it has for thousands of years So that's all I know continue to inspire me and if my prayers mean anything the prayer I have is that you can Be strengthened and supported in your work so that you can continue to save lives and transfigure the earth Thanks to our distinguished speaker heidi kuhn founder and ceo of roots of peace and author of the break Of breaking ground from land mines to grapevines One woman's mission to heal the world Now this meeting of the commonwealth club of california celebrating over 116 years of enlightened discussion is adjourned You

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