Former Solana Beach resident to represent U.S. in inaugural European Peace Walk

By Kristina Houck

A former Solana Beach resident has been selected to represent the United States in an international peace walk to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

As the U.S. ambassador in the inaugural European Peace Walk, Ruthi Solari will join more than 100 individuals representing other countries in a 23-day, 341-mile trek across Europe.

“I’m tremendously honored to represent the U.S. in the walk,” said Solari, founder and executive director of SuperFood Drive, a nonprofit that works to make healthy food accessible to all. “It’s recognition for what I’ve done so far, promoting equality and peace. But it’s also an invitation to really keep paving the way.”

Kicking off July 28, the European Peace Walk goes through six European countries, starting in Vienna, Austria, and then passing through Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia before ending at the Mediterranean Sea in Trieste, Italy. The walk is also open to the public, with participants starting every day for two weeks.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with people along the way. All these people have stories of their families being torn apart and what it felt like to live through the World Wars,” said Solari, who added that her grandparents fled Germany during World War II.

The Europeans “are so excited this peace initiative is coming through their land. They want to share their stories.”

During the walk, Solari hopes to raise $5,000 for Women for Women International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to female survivors of war.

Promoting peace and female empowerment has always been important to Solari, just like promoting health, she said.

A nutritionist, she launched SuperFood Drive in 2009. The San Diego-based nonprofit supports hunger relief organizations by sourcing and providing healthy food for people in need.

Originally from Northern California, Solari moved to San Diego to study international studies at UC San Diego. She later studied at the Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, becoming a certified nutritionist. She has since earned her master’s in mind-body medicine from Saybrook University in San Francisco.

She now lives with her husband in Switzerland, and learned about the European Peace Walk while attending an event hosted by the Future of Human Rights Forum in Geneva. After further research, she decided to volunteer and was eventually chosen as the U.S. ambassador for the walk.

“Most of the changes I’ve seen have all come from grass-roots initiatives,” Solari said. “So when I saw that that’s what this was, it spoke to my soul. Not only is it an opportunity for a personal journey, but it’s an opportunity to really raise awareness.”

The European Peace Walk is a cross-border initiative set on creating a walkway along the borders of Central Europe to celebrate the present European culture of peace.

After its inaugural year, walk organizers plan to open the route annually, in hopes it will become a popular destination for hikers globally.

“I hope people walk it for generations to come,” Solari said. “I also hope it increases dialogue, not just about the past, but about what peace looks like today and how it should look in the future.”

For more about the European Peace Walk, visit

www.peacewalk.eu

  1. To support Solari in the walk,

visit www.justgiving.com/Ruthi-Solari-EPW

.

For more about SuperFood Drive, visit

www.superfooddrive.org

.

For more about Women for Women International, visit

www.womenforwomen.org

.

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