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“Harvest of Hope”

Department of State and Roots of Peace to co-host “Harvest of Hope” In Recognition of Public-Private Partnerships for Mine Action in Afghanistan

Mark Kimmitt, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, and Heidi Kuhn, Founder and President of Roots of Peace, a California-based non-governmental organization dedicated to turning minefields into thriving agricultural enterprises, are cosponsoring a dinner on Wednesday, December 3, in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State, to recognize public-private partnerships with U.S. Government agencies, the private sector, individuals, and the people of Afghanistan, who have worked diligently over the past several years to remove landmines and explosive remnants of war and reclaim the Shomali Valley for vineyards and orchards.

“Harvest of Hope’s” Mistress of Ceremonies, Cheryl Jennings, San Francisco-ABC7 News Anchor, will introduce the evening’s program at 7 p.m., with remarks by Assistant Secretary Kimmitt and musical performances by Dave Jenkins, lead singer, Pablo Cruise Band, and Lorin Rowan, Rowan Brothers. The Roots of Peace Global Citizen Awards for 2008 will be presented to Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor, United Nations Foundation, and Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States. Noah Griffin, poet, will offer an interfaith blessing, followed by a gala dinner featuring fruits that are grown in Afghanistan, once known as the “Garden of Central Asia.” Two more songs and a “Mines to Vines” toast will be offered to close the evening’s events.

Since 1998, Roots of Peace has raised awareness of the landmine problem and millions of dollars to demine and replant grapevines and other agricultural crops in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Croatia and Iraq. The Roots of Peace Penny Campaign has engaged American children in collecting 25 million pennies for demining and construction of schools and playing fields in Afghanistan.

Roots of Peace is one of over 60 organizations in the Public-Private Partnership for Mine Action in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, which manages humanitarian mine action programs (clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war, survivors assistance, mine risk education), and conventional weapons destruction programs worldwide. To learn more visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.

ENDS

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