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A celebration of Peace in Assisi

Project: The Frate Elia Wall Fresco in Assisi, Italy

press release


With Restoration of Ancient Frescoes and Replacing Landmines with Olive Branches of Peace


June 21, 2022—Assisi, Italy—On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, Roots of Peace, a humanitarian non-profit based in Northern California, is joining forces with the governments of Sister Cities of San Francisco and Assisi, Italy, in a shared vision to transform MINES TO VINES and replace the scourge of landmines with vineyards and orchards across the world. 

On June 21, 2022, dignitaries from San Francisco and Gary Kuhn, president of Roots of Peace, will gather in Assisi, known worldwide as the “City of Peace” for a day of commemorations. At 5 pm on via Frate Elia, a ceremony will mark the beginning of the restoration of a 17th century wall fresco (a decorative public wall painting). The delegation will then proceed to the “Garden of the Simple” for the planting of an olive tree, symbolically evoking St. Francis, the prime arbiter for peace and the environment whose name is encapsulated in Assisi’s Californian sister city by the bay.

Gary Kuhn, President, Roots of Peace, will personally attend the olive tree planting ceremony, along with Richard Armanino, President, San Francisco Sister City program.  Both gentlemen will lead with shovels, not swords, in an effort to inspire global citizens to turn ‘swords into plowshares’ and ‘mines into vines.  In a symbolic gesture of unity, Mr. Armanino will bring soil from San Francisco to the tree-planting. The ceremony will also be attended by Stefania Proietti, Mayor of Assisi, as well as Domenico Sorrentino, the Bishop of Assisi. The event will conclude with a MINES TO VINES global toast to peace from the heart of Assisi to the world.

Though thousands of miles away, the importance of the proceedings are not lost on leadership back in California: “Our City is pleased and honored that our citizen-led San Francisco-Assisi Sister City Committee has joined with the Bay Area’s Roots of Peace organization on this culturally important program of restoring these ancient Frescos in Assisi,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “I join with Mayor Proietti in saluting Roots of Peace and our Sister City Committee for coming together for this project of friendship and cooperation.  Assisi and San Francisco share a commitment to building bridges and are honored to be strong supporters of this unique partnership.”

“With the backdrop of war in Ukraine, the world is tragically aware of the horrific impact of landmines and UXO’s such as cluster munitions on innocent farmers and families,” stated Heidi Kuhn, Founder/CEO, Roots of Peace, “The soils of San Francisco will be blended in Assisi, as we proudly plant an olive branch of peace in a symbolic effort to heal both the soil and soul of humanity.”

In a continued effort to underline the importance of a shared quest for peace, the event will also feature a gathering in Via Frate Elia where the restoration on the ancient wall fresco in Assisi – the “aedicula” of Madonna with St. Francis, Santa Chiara, and Angels – is soon to commence.  Fundraising for the restoration work has begun with 10 donors from San Francisco and a$5000 contribution from Frank Yih from Shanghai, China, in memory of his late wife, Nancy.

The fresco of ‘Madonna with St. Francis, Santa Chiara, and Angels’ was selected as a symbolic tribute to the mothers around the world and is part of a larger project spearheaded by LoveItaly, non-profit organization fundraising for the future of Italy’s cultural heritage.

LoveItaly founder Tracy Roberts added, In an exciting project being developed with the Sister Cities organization, LoveItaly aims to restore many of the wall frescos or “aedicules” in Assisi. These wall frescos are an extremely accessible art form, free for all to see at any time of day and night, however particularly exposed to constant atmospheric agents which over the centuries have contributed to compromising their state of conservation.”

To contribute to the project, please contact:


For the past 25 years, Roots of Peace has worked in war-torn countries around the world to remove the remnants of war, landmines and unexploded ordinances, and restore the land in order to rebuild peaceful communities for generations to come.

More than 500 million smallholder farming households across the world live on less than $2 a day. Building a sustainable, regenerative source of income that gives families livelihoods and stability is one of the most pressing issues to be addressed in post-conflict countries. With the help of Roots of Peace, farmers are addressing the key challenges to increased income by applying modern technology and farming techniques that result in increased yields and sustainability.

The Roots of Peace “Mines to Vines” approach has impacted over one million farmers and families. By removing landmines and the remnants of war, Roots of Peace frees land held hostage by unrest. In Afghanistan, it has facilitated the export of fresh fruits, nuts and spices to markets around the world, contributing to the increase in Afghan agricultural exports from $250 million in 2014 to over $1.4 billion in 2020. Roots of Peace’s award-winning methodology is rooted in building a business model for peace: providing market-driven solutions tailored to rural communities in war-torn lands and serving as a catalyst for industry-wide development across the world.

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