Heidi Kuhn - From Landmines to Grapevines
Heidi Kuhn is a renowned humanitarian, CEO and Founder of ‘Roots of Peace’, an internationally acclaimed humanitarian organisation dedicated to the removal of landmines in former war zones. For more than twenty years, Roots of Peace has worked in war-torn lands around the world to remove the remnants of war and restore the land in order to rebuild peaceful communities for generations to come. Heidi’s vision, and her organisation’s “Mines to Vines” approach, has impacted over one million farmers and families in 8 countries - Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Vietnam and Israel / Palestine - enabling the export of over 100,000 metric tons of fresh and dried fruit and nuts worth over $150 million USD to international markets. She has negotiated support from the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organisations and governments, earning her work critical acclaim from world leaders, leading diplomats and many heads of state and government.
An entrepreneur at heart, Heidi owned her own television news organisation during the 1980s and ‘90s, NewsLink International, reporting for CNN and other news organizations on environmental disasters such as the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Alaska, and the melting of the “ice curtain” between the United States and the Soviet Union. Raising her children in Juneau, Alaska, she earned a reputation for bridging borders for peace—reporting for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Nippon Television and other major media organisations. After beating the odds and overcoming a terminal diagnosis of cancer, Heidi further embraced the core values she was raised with when she saw an opportunity to eradicate another form of cancer – that of landmines, which she viewed as a cancer to the Earth.
"You have turned mines into vines by replacing the seeds of destruction with the seeds of life...and you have shown the world that even with modest beginnings, a partnership backed up by persistence can make a real difference."
-the late Kofi Annan (former United Nations Secretary-General)