“And yet diamonds should not have to be a curse…”
Elizabeth Blunt, BBC
Ian Smillie was a founder of the Canadian NGO, Inter Pares in 1975, and was Executive Director of CUSO from 1979 to 1983. He has worked on projects with the Humanitarianism and War Project at Tufts University (now the Feinstein International Center) since 1997 and was an adjunct professor at Tulane University from 1998 to 2001. As a development consultant he has worked for many Canadian, American and European organizations. His latest books are The Charity of Nations: Humanitarian Action in a Calculating World (with Larry Minear, 2005), Freedom From Want: The Remarkable Story of BRAC (2009) and Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade (2010). Ian Smillie was a founder-participant in the 50-member ‘Kimberley Process’ (representing more than 75 governments) which has developed and is managing a global certification system to halt the traffic in ‘conflict diamonds’. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.
Stéphane Fischler is a third generation diamantaire and began work at Fischler Diamonds in 1979 which was founded in 1953 by the late Bram Fischler (former President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse and of the HRD) and Aby and Cappi Fischler. Stéphane is currently a partner in the company. Since 1994, Stéphane has served as Vice-President of SBD (the Belgian Manufacturers Association). In 1998, he was elected and serves for 10 years as IDMA’s Secretary-General and Treasurer. Currently he serves as IDMA’s treasurer. He is a founding member of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and in 2006 was elected vice-chairman. He is also President of the ECDM (European Council of Diamond Manufacturers). He is a board member of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). He has served as the organization’s Treasurer since March 2005, was elected Vice-President in 2006 and 2010, and elected as President in 2012. He is an arbitrator for the Belgian Federation of Diamond Bourses and member of its judicial committee. Endorsed by the IDMA and the WFDB, Stéphane Fischler was appointed president of the International Diamond Council (IDC) at the 2007 Presidents Meeting. He was invited to join the Board of Directors of DDI as the diamond industry representative in 2007.
Matthew A. Runci is President and CEO of Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for retail jewelers. Since joining the association in 1995, his primary mission has been to enhance members’ business reputations and preserve consumers’ confidence in the purchase of jewelry. Under Runci’s leadership, JA has developed comprehensive professional skills standards for retail jewellers. Runci has also guided the development of a variety of responsible business practice initiatives for use by JA’s 11,000 member stores. Runci was centrally involved in the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the Clean Diamond Trade Act, and the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties, to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. In 2005, he led JA to become a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), a mine-to-retail supply chain initiative working to institute a variety of ethical, social and environmental practices for its members. Runci currently serves as Chairman of the RJC Board of Directors and is a member of the Board of Directors of DDI. During his earlier career, Runci taught international relations at the university level. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia and a BA from Boston College.
John Lowden is a Chartered Accountant and former Partner of Ernst & Young LLP. He has more than 30 years experience dealing with financial and tax planning issues involving a wide variety of assignments including major corporate reorganizations and international engagements for large companies. John has dealt with a broad range of cross-border corporate matters and tax treaty issues. He has written and lectured widely on taxation and accounting matters with articles published by The Canadian Tax Journal, the Canadian Petroleum Journal and the Canadian Tax Foundation. He has lectured on accounting, auditing and taxation in both the Management and Chartered Accountant Programs at McGill University in Montreal. John acted as a Judge for The John Molson School Of Business International MBA Case Study Competition at Concordia University. In his community, he is a Board Member and Treasurer of the Fairbairn House Corporation. As a sports enthusiast John is the Director and Fleet Captain of the Trident Yacht Club.
As the C.E.O of Mercury Ring Corporation, Phyllis Bergman oversees all aspects of the company, including sales, design, operations, marketing, and client relations. Under her leadership, the company’s customer base has increased more than six-fold. Today, Mercury is one of the oldest and most established bridal jewelry manufacturers in the United States, with more than 1,800 accounts nationwide. In addition to designing and launching her own lifestyle jewelry line as well as managing Mercury Ring Corporation, Phyllis Bergman is a dynamic force in the jewelry industry. In February 2007, Enterprising Women Magazine named her Entrepreneur of the Year and in November 2008, Mercury Ring became the first certified female owned company in the jewelry industry by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Phyllis Bergman currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewelers Board of Trade, the American Gem Society, the Women’s Jewelry Organization, Jewelers Vigilance Committee and is chairperson of The 24 Karat Club of New York. She is also a member of the Woman’s Presidents Organization, Independent Jewelers Organization, a member of the Advisory Board for the Diamond Empowerment Fund and a member of the Board of Directors of DDI.
Andrew Bone is Director of International Relations at De Beers. He started with De Beers as a diamond sorter and worked in many and various sections of the Rough Diamond Division, including overseas secondments in South Africa and Belgium. Later, he became an overseas buyer for six years, serving mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Following a year in the Sales Department, he joined Marketing Liaison and Corporate Communications where he headed a small team that worked on developing stakeholder relations and contributing to the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. He went on to develop the concept of the Diamond Development Initiative with NGOs, Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness. Andrew Bone is also a director of the World Diamond Council and is a part-time lecturer at the University of Westminster’s Business School where he teaches Marketing. He is also an elected board member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Stephen D’Esposito is President of RESOLVE and the EARTH SOLUTIOS NETWORK. RESOLVE is a non-profit organization, with a thirty-year track record of success, that helps diverse groups solve complex environmental, social, and health challenges. The EARTH SOLUTIONS NETWORK is a new RESOLVE initiative where stakeholders bring ideas, test them and incubate them into sustainable solutions. From 1997 through September 2008, Steve was President and CEO of EARTHWORKS. From 1986 through 1992 Steve was instrumental in building Greenpeace USA into one of the largest environmental groups in the country. Steve currently serves as a Council Member for the World Economic Forum, on the boards of the Diamond Development Initiative and the Center for Science in Public Participation, and a Sustainability Advisory Panel to the Kinross Professorship and Chair Department of Mining Engineering, Queens University, Kingston. He has served as a member of the Advisory Group for Newmont’s Community Relationships Review (CRR).
John Hall is General Manager External Affairs for the Rio Tinto Group, based in London, UK. He is responsible for key relationships with external stakeholders including government, NGOs and industry bodies, as well as corporate responsibility programmes such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process. John is Vice Chairman of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices and is extensively involved in the work of the Council. He is also a long-term advocate of DDI, and has supported product stewardship and sustainable development initiatives in the mining industry for many years. He believes strongly in the need for collaboration between business and civil society, seeking common ground for sustainable outcomes. John is an attorney with extensive experience in government at Federal and State levels, including six years as a portfolio Chief of Staff.a He has also worked in the NGO sector in development programmes. Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
Dr. Gavin Hilson trained in geosciences at the University of Toronto, and subsequently completed a PhD. in environmental technology at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He has taught at the University of Cardiff and currently holds the post of Reader in Environment and Development at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Reading. Dr. Hilson’s current research centres on community development and environmental management in small-scale mining communities in West Africa and the Guianas. He has written extensively on artisanal mining, with an emphasis on Ghana.
Muzong Kodi, holds a PhD in African History from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA. He started his professional career as an academic and taught at the University of Lubumbashi in the DRC from 1976 to 1979 and the University of Nairobi in Kenya from 1979 to 1983. From 1983 to 1993, he was Director of Publications at the African Centre for Monetary Studies in Dakar, Senegal. He then worked for international non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International (as Director of International Development, from 1994 to 2002) and Transparency International (as Regional Director for Africa & the Middle East, from 2002 to 2005). He is currently an Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) where he coordinates the British Congo Forum and focuses his research and consultancy work on governance, anti-corruption, human rights and civil society organizations in Africa.