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WDC Welcomes UN General Assembly Resolution Calling for Reforms to Enhance Effectiveness of the Kimberley Process 

It was ratified by consensus by the members of the 193-member UNGA body.

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Hilde Hardeman, 2018 Chair of the Kimberley Process, addressing the United Nations General Assembly on March 1, 2019.

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The World Diamond Council has welcomed the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on March 1, which calls for a strengthening of the Kimberley Process (KP), to more effectively sever the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict, thereby contributing to the maintenance of international peace and, in particular, security and sustainable development in artisanal diamond-mining regions. The resolution, which was proposed by the European Union (EU), was ratified by consensus by the members of the 193-member UNGA body.

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“We are most heartened by the adoption of the resolution by the UNGA, not only because it echoes the call for reform that we advocated together with civil society at the most recent KP Plenary Meeting in Brussels, but also because it was passed with the support of all United Nations member countries, including those in whose territories diamonds are mined, processed, traded and sold in jewelry,” said WDC President Stephane Fischler. “We strongly hope that this across-the-board commitment to the continuous improvement in the integrity of the global rough diamond supply chain by all these nations will be repeated in the Kimberley Process forum over the course of this year.”

The resolution passed during the United Nations General Assembly’s 73rd Session expressly referenced discussions taking place in the Kimberley Process’ Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform, which is examining proposals supported by the WDC. Among these are the strengthening of the KP’s peer review mechanism, the establishment of a permanent KP Secretariat, and the broadening of the scope of the Kimberley Process, which the WDC and civil society have insisted requires the expansion of the definition of “conflict diamonds,” to include all forms of systemic violence in the diamond-mining areas. The UNGA resolution noted “initiatives put forward by participants, as well as joint initiatives by industry and by civil society as elements of a strengthened Kimberley Process…”

Mr. Fischler emphasized the inexorable link that the UNGA resolution made between the conflict-prevention role of the Kimberley Process and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. “It underscored our deeply-held belief that the KP’s role is not only defensive, but it is also proactive, in that it is a catalyst for creating societies with sustainable economic opportunities, where benefits are shared by all stakeholders, regardless of race or gender,” he stated.

“The industrialized diamond mining sector, which produces 85 percent of rough diamonds in terms of volume and 95 percent in terms of value, already invests hundreds of millions of dollars per annum, both directly and indirectly, in the development of economies and communities in the countries in which it is active. By eliminating the destabilizing factors that inherently exist in places plagued by systemic violence, a strengthened Kimberley Process will be a critical element in ensuring that similar contributions can take place in countries where artisanal mining is dominant. The diamond industry’s capacity to serve as a nation builder must come to be considered an integral part of the diamond’s value proposition,” Mr. Fischler said.

WDC President Stephane Fischler (right) and WDC Executive Director Marie-Chantal Kaninda (second from right) during the special EU-organized meeting examining the Kimberley Process, held on February 28, 2019, the day before the conflict diamond session of the UN General Assembly.

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The WDC President thanked the European Union for its efforts in formulating and ensuring the successful adoption of the UNGA resolution, and he expressed the WDC’s hope that the expressions of commitment articulated during the debate ahead of the vote on March 1 signals the increased participation by the international body in the work of the Kimberley Process.

On February 28, Mr. Fischler was a featured speaker during a special meeting organized by the EU as part of the UNGA’s 73rd Session, entitled “From blood diamonds to peace diamonds: conflict prevention through the Kimberley Process.” Noting the effectiveness of the KP in helping eliminate the trade in diamonds being used to finance civil war, he nonetheless said that the system has been ineffective to date in reducing other forms of systemic violence.

“I will be blunt,” the WDC President told the special meeting. “Thus far the KP has failed to properly stem the incidence of ‘systemic violence,’ nor to reduce the tenuousness of stability in artisanal mining communities and the lack of development opportunities. However, with the KP currently in the final year of its review and reform cycle, it today has a unique opportunity to prove its potential of relieving millions of artisanal miners and their families, of the predicament they currently face.”

“[I]t is up to the UN and the KP member states to assure the future relevance of the Kimberley Process,” Mr. Fischler continued. “Standing before this assembly today I can assure you of my colleague’s support in heeding the call of the millions of artisanal miners, their families and communities that they finally share the same security and opportunities enjoyed by other members of our diamond industry, and so be able to provide their own countries, which are often in dire need of long-term development, with a more sustained income.”

To download the full speech by the WDC President to the special UNGA meeting in New York on February 28, 2019, click here.

Press Releases

Diamond Producers Association Announces New Diamond E-Learning Program

It gives retailers the tools and language to become true storytellers.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Diamond Producers Association announces the launch of a new e-learning program for diamonds, “Behind the Brilliance of Diamonds.” Developed to help all U.S. retailers, the hour-long program – split into three informative modules – offers educational material and quizzes, going beyond the 4Cs to highlight the intangible value of natural diamonds, billion-year-old treasures of the earth.

“The Diamond Producers Association’s e-learning program, ‘Behind the Brilliance of Diamonds,’ offers a clear and concise, open platform for the industry,” said Grant Mobley, DPA’s trade relations lead. “Whether you have been working with diamonds for one day or 20 years, the program relates compelling stories about the history of natural diamonds, easy-to-digest and well-researched facts, and memorable details about the important benefits that the natural diamond industry makes to the world.”

The initial beta launch has yielded positive feedback.

“Getting back to basics, often we get so caught up in the technical aspects of our career that we forget the emotional aspect. Thank you for bringing the reality of relationship-selling back to the forefront,” said Cheryl Worcester of Days Jewelers.

Pierre Soucy of Robert Richer added, “I think this is both a timely and much needed program made easy and readily available for the industry by the DPA. In the past decade the jewelry industry (as a whole) has much neglected relationships between products, partners, and how they relate to the public. This program is a big gesture in bridging that void.”

“The DPA’s e-learning program should be required for everyone that sells diamonds,” said Phillip Bosen of Bosen Associates.

In addition to the training program being free, there are rewards for retail sales people who complete the program. Points are awarded for each module completed and can be redeemed for up to a $25 gift card to one of several popular retailers.

Retail sales associates who complete the program will also be entered to win a grand prize for an all- expenses paid trip for two to New York City. Valued at $4,000, the trip will offer exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the New York diamond industry, including a personal tour of a diamond cutting facility. The drawing will take place in the fall.

Visit www.diamondproducers.com/tradeportal to access the e-learning platform.

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Press Releases

AJDC Names New Executive Board Members

Linda MacNeil will serve as president.

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Linda MacNeil and Barbara Heinrich

(PRESS RELEASE) At its semi-annual members meeting in Tucson, AZ, the American Jewelry Design Council announced new executive board members.

Linda MacNeil was elected president of AJDC, succeeding Barbara Heinrich.

Pascal LaCroix will continue to serve as vice president and Adam Neeley was selected as treasurer, succeeding Mark Schneider.

MacNeil is a jewelry artist who uses metal and glass to make one-of-a-kind neckpieces and brooches. Her work can be seen in museums and on sophisticated collectors.

The meeting took place in February.

AJDC (ajdc.org) is a non-profit educational corporation dedicated to promoting the artistic appreciation of original fine jewelry. The group is dedicated to elevating the caliber of jewelry design through educational activities and to challenging professional jewelry designers worldwide to actualize their creative potential.

For more information, contact Marylouise Sirignano Lugosch, executive director, at marylouise@ajdc.org.

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Press Releases

American Society of Appraisers Names CEO

He starts the role on April 15.

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Johnnie White

(PRESS RELEASE) RESTON, VIRGINIA — The American Society of Appraisers announces the appointment of Johnnie White as CEO, starting April 15.

White is an association professional with more than 27 years serving in a variety of management and leadership roles. Most recently he served as senior director of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, where he managed global affairs and strategic planning for the organization, including overseeing a staff of 17 and an annual event with more than 9,000 attendees. In addition, White is an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University, where he instructs graduate students in operations and event management.

As CEO, White will lead ASA’s continued international visibility and worldwide capacity for innovation in professional development, credentialing and professional standards/ethics for the global valuation profession. He will play a key role in implementing the society’s strategic direction, solidifying opportunities for partnerships and collaboration among a wide range of national/international entities and applying his leadership to multiple diverse stakeholders in support of ASA’s mission.

According to Robert B. Morrison, 2018-19 International president of ASA, “During the search process, Johnnie set himself apart by demonstrating his intellect and his outstanding leadership qualities, especially in the area of inspiring others to achieve their best with his team-building management style.

He is an accomplished international speaker, university adjunct instructor, collaborator, manager and leader and we look forward to his ideas and energy that will continuing moving ASA forward as the preeminent appraisal designation.”

White holds his MBA from the University of Maryland University College and his B.S. in information systems management from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his association work, including being named one of the top 40 Trending Association Innovators by DCA Live in 2017.

Immediately preceding White was career appraiser Lee P. Hackett, who has served as interim CEO since October 2017. Hackett was instrumental in working with executive placement professional Pamela Kaul, president and founder of Association Strategies, and with the ASA Board of Governors and the CEO Search Committee in an intensive search process that resulted in finding and hiring White. Hackett will assist with the transition of leadership.

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