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University of Delaware to Host Jewelry Development Impact Index

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEWARK, DE – The University of Delaware has invited the Jewelry Development Impact index project to become the technological signature project of a new graduate certificate program entitled Minerals and Society.

Funded by the Unidel Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Amy Dupont to promote higher education in Delaware, the Minerals and Society program will be developed under the leadership of Dr. Saleem H. Ali, Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at UD. It will be the first “micro-master” of its kind in the U.S. which takes an interdisciplinary approach to linking mineral science, policy and human rights to affect positive change.

Ali, the lead researcher on the Tiffany Foundation-funded Sustainable Gemstone Hub project, is also a Senior Fellow at the Columbia University Center on Sustainable Investment and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.      

Launched from group discussions at the Jewelry Industry Summit held in Tucson, AZ, in 2017, the JDI project has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Orlando, foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State, and progressed through the volunteer efforts of industry veteran Patricia Syvrud, immediate past executive director of the World Diamond Council. The concept of the JDI is that it would be a relative and comparative country score that would measure and indicate the degree to which the jewelry and gemstone industries impact the economic and social well-being of societies in the countries in which it functions. 

Created within the framework of the UN indicators of Human Security, the JDI would also capture examples of responsible sourcing and transparency initiatives that can be replicated, assisting with the implementation of the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidelines. Comparative case studies serving as the groundwork of the JDI are currently being conducted by master’s students at American University’s School of International Service.

“We are thrilled that the JDI will find a home as the anchor project of our new program,” said Ali. “It is a perfect fit – UD will supply the JDI with academic legitimacy, non-profit status, and an extensive network that will lead to the successful creation of the JDI. Alternatively, an annually published JDI will drive interest to the Minerals and Society program, ensuring the long-term success of both.”

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The inaugural publication of the JDI is planned for January 2020 at an event such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland or the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, and will serve as the launch of the Minerals and Society program. Syvrud has been named program manager at UD and will assist with curriculum development and marketing of the Minerals and Society program as well as oversee the creation of the JDI. Orlando will continue to be an advisor to the project.

“The jewelry industry has a real opportunity to make a positive impact on the fragile economies from which so many of our products are sourced,” said Syvrud. “The JDI will be a concrete tool to help companies and countries make that impact, and the Minerals and Society program will supply a much-needed educational platform that stakeholders from around the world can access to help them make a difference. I could not be more thrilled to be involved with such a worthy endeavor.”

UD is seeking matching funds from interested stakeholders of $150,000 to support the entire project. Ali said, “The Unidel Foundation grant will cover faculty and staff needed for the new program as well as improvements to the mineral collections and laboratory. Supplemental funds will allow us to hold multiple curriculum development workshops for the program and stakeholder roundtables needed for the creation of a robust methodology for the JDI.”

For more information, contact Syvrud at [email protected] or Ali at [email protected].  Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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