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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > May

Remarks With Kyleigh Kuhn, Founder of Pennies for Peace

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 20, 2004

(2:00 p.m. EDT)

Secretary Powell with Kyleigh Kuhn, Founder of Pennies for Peace. State Department photo by Michael Gross. SECRETARY POWELL: You're in charge of this, I take it? (Laughter.)

MS. KUHN: I am. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Mr. Secretary, all these students are from Marin County, California, and Kyleigh Kuhn has done a wonderful thing on the landmine issue and she's followed in the spirit of her mom, Heidi Kuhn, in Roots of Peace. So we want to celebrate their good work and welcome the ambassador and Mrs. Jawad of Afghanistan.


MS. KUHN: Thank you. Well, Mr. Secretary, sir, it is a absolute honor to be in your presence today and to thank you on behalf of the children of Marin who have worked and collaborated together on the Pennies for Peace initiative.

As you know, it is a children-to-children initiative that works to raise pennies through the simplest common denominator of money, currency, to assist the children in Afghanistan where landmines take away their ability to live a life that they well deserve.

And so I actually began when I joined my mother on a State Department mission, actually, (inaudible) and to Croatia, where I witnessed firsthand the devastation that landmines cause to children especially. And since then I've been inspired with my mother to really work to assist the children in war-torn countries.

And so, on September 11th, we launched Pennies for Peace, that since then we have raised 7 million pennies and all of which, every single penny, has gone to Afghanistan to build schools and soccer fields to assist the children.

SECRETARY POWELL: Why don't we convert it to a check or something? (Laughter.)

MS. KUHN: Yeah. It's $70,000. So, yeah, and all these children here have been great helps in the raising of the pennies. And so we just would like to thank you on behalf of the children of Marin for your support.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, thank you very much, Kyleigh. Let me express my thanks to all of you here today and you, my dear, for giving your daughter this kind of inspiration for what you do with Roots of Peace. And the demining program is one of the most important programs in the Department and we put a great deal of government money into it, but we also like to generate private money. And it's public-private partnerships that we use to get our work done in the demining effort. And so we are very proud of our efforts and this is a unique feature of our effort when civic-minded young people get together and realize that you have an obligation to serve humankind and not just humankind here at home, but elsewhere in the world.

So I hope that you will take back to Marin County all of my best wishes and congratulations to all of the students in the, I think, some 79 schools that were involved in this. And so I congratulate all of you. And if I can make my own little penny contribution -- (laughter). See those folks over there? (inaudible) (Laughter.)

MS. KUHN: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Three of my staff members kept saying, "Do you have pennies?" (Laughter.)

MS. KUHN: Well, as we say, every single penny counts. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: And I also have some other coins which are representative of our demining effort, and I'd like to give each and every one of you one. It shows an individual working about the difficult task of looking for mines and removing them.

I have more than a passing interest in this. One of the first assignments I ever had in the Army was on how to use mines as young lieutenant, and I went to school on it and know the danger inherent in these kinds of weapons. And so I just congratulate all of you for what you've done.

Let's start here, and we'll see when I run out.

(Coins are handed out till they run out.)

MS. KUHN: And we'd like to present you with something. On behalf of San Rafael, the city of which I come from, it's a proclamation to you and it states:

"Whereas, in 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gathered the leaders of the world beneath the towering redwoods of Muir Woods in Marin County to create the United Nations, an international entity dedicated to peace, and whereas the vision of the United Nations is founded in their motto, taken from Isaiah's prophecy which speaks of turning swords into plowshares, and just as United Nations has its roots in Marin County, the San Rafael-based Roots of Peace organization has followed this vision, planting the roots of peace on Earth by converting minefields into bountiful vineyards, turning mines into vines, and swords into plowshares.

"The City of San Rafael, California, epitomizes the value of the United Nations through the diversity of its citizenry and dedication to peace.

"Therefore I, Albert J. Boro, Mayor of the City of San Rafael, do hereby thank Secretary of State Colin Powell for recognizing the work of Pennies for Peace, which was an effort of Marin County children to provide funding for the United Nations Mine Action Service.

"I hither unto set my hand and cause the Seal of the City of San Rafael to be affixed this 18th day of May in the year 2004. Signed, Albert Boro."

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. That was a very nice thing.

MS. KUHN: And (inaudible) as well.


MS. KUHN: (Inaudible) the penny. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: I appreciate it very much. Thank you all for coming.

Released on May 20, 2004

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