Our thanks to Rotary International for this story….
Heidi Kühn arrived in Utsunomiya, Japan, in 1975, a few months after the end of the Vietnam War. She was a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and what she saw and experienced in Japan led her to reflect on the post-World War II reconciliation between that country and her native United States. “The idea of former enemies bridging borders for peace left an impression in my heart,” she says.
More than 20 years later, Kühn had become a successful television journalist. She was asked by the Commonwealth Club of California, a well-known public affairs forum, to host an event featuring Jerry White, a land mine survivor who had escorted Princess Diana on her last humanitarian mission in 1997. It was a short time after the death of Diana, whose efforts to ban land mines had inspired Kühn. “That night, I made a prophetic toast,” she recalls. “‘May the world go from mines to vines.’”