It is my great honor to be invited as SPEAKER at the Rotary International Presidential Peacebuilders Conference in Vancouver, Canada.  As a proud member of the Rotary Club of San Francisco #2, it is a privilege to gather with passionate leaders to reaffirm our strong commitment to building peace through environmentally sustainable efforts worldwide.


Over 20 years ago, I traveled to Canada with three California vintners to witness the signing of the Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines.  Together, we were armed with only a vision to turn MINES TO VINES–replacing the scourge of landmines with bountiful vineyards and orchards worldwide.  Legendary vintners from Wente, Beringer, and Robert Mondavi accompanied a Marin County mother of four children armed with a global vision to eradicate landmines from our one Earth.  Blood to wine, killing fields into vineyards, mines to vines…In December 1997, we walked the frigid streets of Ottawa to witness the historic signing by 122 countries. This achievement was described by Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, as “without precedent or parallel in either international disarmament or international law.”


While the United States was not a signatory to the Ottawa Treaty due to our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, our California delegation went as humble vintners respecting the plight of other farmers who deserve the right to till their soil without the fear of landmines beneath their plow. 


Through the support of many, we turned ideas into reality–cultivating sustainable peace on former minefields in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Vietnam.


Life goes full circle, as I gather in Canada today with members of the Rotary family, representative from the public, private and government sectors–all keen to learn about the challenges and to seize the opportunity to create a more peaceful world through environmentally sustainable efforts, both locally and globally.


Years later, I now stand on the Canadian coastline reflecting upon our many accomplishments worldwide.

From the shores of Vancouver, I will call forth another global effort to eradicate all landmines/UXO/cluster munition in Quang Tri, Vietnam by Earth Day 2020.  In alignment with the vision Rotary International President Ian Riseley, Roots of Peace seeks to plant 1.2 million black pepper trees on former battlefields.  


May our Vision from Vancouver to Vietnam turn MINES TO VINES–replacing minefields with pepper vines.


In the spirit of the Rotary Theme 2018–MAKE A DIFFERENCE!