Panel Discussion at JCK to Address ‘Diamonds for Good’ in Africa

Diamond Empowerment Fund

Press Release: Millennial-age consumers—the generation comprising the primary bridal jewelry market—are both far more conscious of social responsibility than previous generations, and far more demanding that the companies they do business with behave responsibly and give back.  For jewelers, this means not only being able to reassure customers that your diamonds are conflict-free, but also knowing the good that diamonds do and being able to communicate that message to your customers.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.), an international nonprofit organization that raises money to support education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations, will present a panel discussion during the upcoming JCK Show in Las Vegas, focusing on diamond-funded educational opportunities for the youth who will become the next generation of African leaders and contribute to their countries’ economic, political, and social development.

The June 2 session, moderated by JCK’s senior editor Rob Bates and featuring a panel of leaders from the diamond, retail, education, and philanthropy sectors, will examine how diamonds contribute to the development of both individuals and communities in Africa, and present strategies for jewelers to bring this important message back to their customers.

Phyllis Bergman, president of the D.E.F. and the chief executive of New York City-based Mercury Ring Co., will present opening remarks, followed by Bates, who will monitor the panel discussions.

The panel:

• Varda Shine, the chief executive of the Diamond Trading Company,  will discuss the social and economic growth of Botswana as a result of the diamond industry

• David Bouffard, the vice president of public relations for Sterling Jewelers,  will explain how to train store sales staff to connect the “diamonds for good story” with customers

• Joseph Munyambanza, a student at the African Leadership Academy, one of three D.E.F.-funded schools, will tell his personal experience with how diamonds help develop future leaders for Africa

• Dr. Benjamin Chavis, a senior strategic advisor for the D.E.F., will discuss “Development Diamonds,” a case study of diamonds used to educate, empower, and transform an entire community.

• Cecilia Gardner, the chief executive and general counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) and general counsel of the World Diamond Council, will address how the U.S. chairmanship of the Kimberley Process can bring an added emphasis on development and an added level of credibility.

The event will be held June 2, 2012, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., at Tradewinds B Ballroom, Mandalay Bay resort and casino. Attendance is free

Source Diamond Empowerment Fund