Posted on 28th Jun 2012 @ 10:28 AM
Industry leaders including Diamond Trading Co. Managing Director Varda Shine and Benjamin Chavis, senior strategist for the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), recently led a panel on the positives diamond mines can have on the communities that surround them. It’s a message jewelers need to remember to pass on to their customers.
Organized by DEF and held in Las Vegas, “Diamonds for Good: What Your Customers Want to Know and Need to Know” included Cecilia Gardner, CEO and general counsel at the JVC, David Bouffard, vice president of Sterling Jewelers, operator of the Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry chains, as well as Shine and Chavis. JCK magazine Senior Editor Rob Bates moderated the panel.
The discussion focused specifically on the positive impact that diamonds and diamond-funded education are having in Africa, where DEF works to fund educational initiatives in diamond-producing countries.
Making a presentation at the panel was Congolese-born Joseph Munyambanza, who grew up in a refugee camp in Uganda. He was one of the few children in the camp to attend school and later was chosen to attend the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg, one of DEF’s three beneficiary schools, on a scholarship.
After ALA, he founded a school for other refugee children in the same camp where he grew up, recognizing the importance of education to his fellow Africans’ futures. Today, Munyambanza is finishing his freshman year at Westminster College, where he is studying to become a doctor in his home country.
Prior to Munyambanza’s presentation, DEF President Phyllis Bergman, CEO of New York-based Mercury Ring Co., gave opening remarks.