Board of Directors

Ian Smillie

Ian Smillie (Chair)

Ian Smillie is a development professional and foreign aid critic with an extensive history of involvement with the artisanal mining sector. He was founder and/or Executive Director of Inter-Parès, CUSO, and the Diamond Development Initiative. He currently works as a development consultant and author. His latest books are Diamonds (2014) and Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade (2010. Ian Smillie was a founder-participant in the Kimberley Process, a global certification system to halt the traffic in conflict diamonds. He is President of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID). Ian Smillie was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

Stéphane Fischler

Stéphane Fischler (Vice Chair)

Stéphane Fischler is a third generation diamantaire and a partner in Fischler Diamonds. He is serving as Vice-President of SBD (the Belgian Manufacturers Association) as well as treasurer of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association-IDMA. He is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and as President of the World Diamond Council (WDC).

Matthew Runci

Matthew Runci (Secretary)

Matthew A. Runci has held several senior non-profit management positions in the jewelry sector, including CEO of Jewelers of America and CEO of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America. He served as the founding board chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council, a global not-for-profit that establishes standards for social, ethical and environmental responsibility to apply to businesses at every level of the precious metals and diamond supply chains from mine to retail. He was also involved in the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Clean Diamond Trade Act. He currently operates a management consultancy in corporate social responsibility as well as writing and guest lecturing.

John Lowden

John Lowden (Treasurer)

John Lowden is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a former partner of a major international accounting firm. He brings more than 30 years of 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 Lowden acts as a judge for The John Molson School of Business International MBA Case Study Competition at Concordia University.

Stephen D’Esposito

Stephen D’Esposito

Stephen D’Esposito is President of RESOLVE, an organization that seeks to build enduring solutions to environmental, social, and health challenges. Formerly President and CEO of Earthworks, he built the organization into a leading, independent policy and advocacy NGO on mining, oil and gas issues. He also held senior positions in Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace International. Stephen D’Esposito currently serves as a Council Member for the World Economic Forum, and is also on the boards of Resource Media and the Center for Science in Public Participation.

John Hall

John Hall

John Hall is Chief Executive of Corporate Reputation Strategy, a consultancy focused on responsible sourcing, reputation management and corporate external affairs. An attorney with extensive experience in government, John Hall served six years as a Ministerial Chief of Staff. He was previously General Manager External Affairs for the Rio Tinto Group and Rio Tinto Diamonds, responsible for relationships with key stakeholders including government, NGOs and industry bodies, as well as corporate responsibility programs such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process. John Hall also served on the boards of the World Diamond Council, CIBJO, and as a founding Board Member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Dr. Gavin Hilson

Dr. Gavin Hilson

Gavin Hilson is a professor and Chair of Sustainability in Business at the University of Surrey Business School, UK. His main research interests are the environmental and interrelated socioeconomic impacts of small-scale mining in developing countries. He has authored more than 150 journal articles, book chapters and reports on the subject and has consulted for a number of organizations, including the World Bank, UK Department for International Development, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Newmont and Gold Fields.

Dr. Muzong Kodi

Dr. Muzong Kodi

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 Universities of Lubumbashi in the DRC and Nairobi in Kenya. He has worked for international non-governmental organizations, including as Director of International Development for Amnesty International and as Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East with Transparency International. He is currently an Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) where he focuses his research and consultancy work on governance, anti-corruption, human rights and civil society organizations in Africa.

Nerys John

Nerys John

Nerys John is currently Anglo American’s Social Performance Principal focused on the mining and exploration operations of the De Beers Group. Her field experience includes managing company social performance teams at all stages of the mining cycle: exploration, project planning and construction, operations, closure preparation and disposal. She holds an MA in African History & Politics and an MSc in Responsible Business Practice. Nerys has worked with artisanal mining communities in both the diamond and gold sectors and has shown a keen interest in the work of DDI since its founding meeting in 2005. She is based in Johannesburg.

Brandee Dallow

Brandee Dallow

Brandee Dallow is an award-winning strategic communications executive specializing in luxury brands, products and services. Her career began at Rubenstein Public Relations, one of New York’s most high profile public relations firms. In 1999, Dallow joined J Walter Thompson (JWT), working on behalf of De Beers as a Manager/Partner and then moved to the Julius Klein Group (JKG) as Vice President of Marketing and Communications. From 2014 until 2017, Dallow led Rio Tinto Diamonds’ North American office. She was the recipient of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s (WJA) Award for Excellence in Marketing and Communications in 2009, where she is currently the international board president.

Lansana Gberie

Lansana Gberie

Lansana Gberie currently works at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as political advisor. He was involved with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme early on, and was awarded the Outstanding Research Award in 2002 by the Canadian government for his work on the Human Security and International Diamond Trade project. He was Coordinator and Finance Expert of the United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on Liberia for three years. Gberie is the author of A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone (London: Hurst 2005), and War, Politics and Justice in West Africa (2015). He has worked for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, the Institute for Security Studies, and Security Council Report in New York. He holds a PhD in African history.

Dorothée Gizenga

Dorothée Gizenga (Executive Director)

Dorothée Gizenga, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a Canadian who holds degrees in chemistry and economics. She has worked with provincial and federal governments, as well as community organizations in Canada and Africa. Her experience includes policy development, international negotiation, evaluation, project design, management and coordination, and working with disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
In her former work, she was responsible for supporting the implementation of projects related to the Kimberley Process, the International Conference for Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and the prevention of violence against women in conflict zones. She also took part in the creation and development of the Diamond Development Initiative.

Dr. Hany Besada

Dr. Hany Besada (Program and Deputy Executive Director)

Hany Besada has held positions with the African Mineral Development Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the North-South Institute in Ottawa, the UN High Level Panel Secretariat-Post 2015 Development Agenda, and at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Canada. Before moving to Canada, he was a Principal Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs and he worked as Policy Advisor for the South African Ministry of Local and Provisional Government. He has also worked as a consultant for several NGOs, UN agencies and governments. Dr. Besada holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick.