Founder & CEO , Root of Peace
Heidi Kuhn is Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, a humanitarian-nonprofit organization
founded in September 1997 with a vision to transform MINES TO VINES--replacing the
scourge of landmines with sustainable agricultural farmland. Her pioneering work empowers
families living in war-torn regions with hope leading to the economics of peace through export
The California spirit is deeply rooted in Heidi, who was raised with the values of respecting the
earth and its people, ideals established by her family who were early pioneers in the 1800’s. A
fifth-generation California, she attended the University of California Berkeley majoring in
Political Economics, where those core beliefs were strengthened during the peace movement of
the 1970’s, setting forth a lifelong commitment to pioneering the footsteps of peace.
During the early 1990’s, Heidi owned her own television news organization, NewsLink
International, reporting for CNN and other news organizations in Alaska on the Exxon Valdez
oil spill 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
After overcoming a cancer diagnosis, 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. From the basement of her home, she garnered the support of
famed Napa Valley vintners including Robert Mondavi, Mike Grgich and Diane Disney Miller to
support her vision of turning “Mines to Vines” – replacing the remnants of war with bountiful
vineyards and orchards of peace around the world.
Over the past 23 years, Heidi has grown Roots of Peace across the world with the support of the
United States Government, the United Nations, World Bank, international governments, Rotary
Clubs and the private sector. She has been recognized by numerous world leaders including UN
Secrteary-General Kofi Annan, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, His Holiness Pope Francis, the
Dalai Lama, the Grand Mufti of the Dome of Jerusalem and many heads of state and
Her supporters include the United States Government, the United Nations, World Bank and other
international governments and organizations. She has been recognized by numerous world
leaders including U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis and
many heads of state and government.
To date, Roots of Peace has impacted over 1 million farmers and families, spanning eight
countries – Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Israel, Palestine
and Vietnam. Heidi’s work has led the successful USAID program to increase the agricultural
exports in Afghanistan from $250 million in 2014 to over $1.4 billion in 2020. Roots of Peace
has facilitated the removal of over 100,000 landmines and unexploded bombs, restoring the land
for agricultural bounty.
Heidi and Roots of Peace have been the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 Skoll
Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award/National Jefferson
Award for Public Service, the Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award. In 2018, she
received the inaugural Earth Ethics Award from Marcus Nobel, nephew of Alfred Nobel
presented to her at the United Nations in New York. And, in 2019, Heidi received the Gandhi
Global Family Award in New Delhi, the first American to receive this prestigious award on the
occasion of the 150th
Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
Her book Breaking Ground was published in April 2020. It is both a memoir and a call to action,
a gripping account of Heidi’s quest to eradicate landmines from the face of the earth and firmly
plant the roots of peace.