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Sunday, January 20, 2013

DEF'S 2nd ANNUAL GOOD AWARDS SALUTING INDUSTRY LEADERS



DIAMOND EMPOWERMENT FUND’S
 SECOND ANNUAL GOOD AWARDS SALUTES GLOBAL LEADERS

New York, NY; January 11, 2013 – Last night at the ultra-hip nightclub LAVO, the Diamond Empowerment Fund joined with the international diamond industry to honor leaders committed to corporate social responsibility and promoting education empowerment and prosperity in Africa, where the majority of diamonds are mined.

Check Presentation: Members of the DEF board pose with five students who graduated from two of three DEF-beneficiary schools (the Botwsana Top Achievers Program or African Leadership Academy) and who now are enrolled in various universities in the United States. L to R: student Tebogo Maruping, student Gomolemo Modise, DEF board member Ed Hrabak, DEF president Phyllis Bergman, DEF co-founder Russell Simmons, student Dhavni Tombush, student Joseph Munyambanza, DEF board member Ellen Haddigan, and student Kabo Kula.
DEF’s GOOD Awards were given to diamond industry legends Tiffany & Co. and Leo Schachter Diamonds (creator of the Leo Diamond), and to international model and humanitarian Noella Coursaris Musunka.

Russell Simmons, music mogul/entrepreneur and co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, emphasized the importance of the diamond industry to give back and empower the communities where their precious resources are found. “A strong Africa is an educated Africa. For the diamond industry to be sustainable in the future, empowerment of youth through education is essential.” 

A distinguished and varied audience convened for the GOOD Awards, including celebrities from the music, film, and fashion worlds. Along with Simmons, the event drew celebrities Estelle, Jeffrey Wright, and Selita Ebanks; global industry leaders Varda Shine and Stephen Lussier of De Beers, Mike Kowalski of Tiffany & Co., Mark Light and Mike Barnes of Signet (parent company of the Kay and Jared retail brands); and African ambassadors from the diamond producing countries of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.  

Varda Shine, Executive Vice President of Global Sightholder Sales, De Beers Group and another co-founder of DEF, added, “Education and the incubation of leaders of the future must always be our social priority, as it is this that leads to sustained progress, economic growth, and prosperity. Providing unrestricted access to schooling is the first step in creating a virtuous circle of development.”

Good Awards Party: New York’s hip nightclub LAVO was the site of the second annual GOOD Awards, a successful event honoring Tiffany & Co., Leo Schachter Diamonds, and African model/humanitarian Noella Coursaris Musunka.
Phyllis Bergman, DEF board president, said, “We are encouraged by the fabulous success of the 2013 GOOD Awards. This bodes well for the industry’s future.”

The event was kicked off with an African ceremonial dance by native Botswana dancers. The festivities continued after the Awards presentation by a passionate performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Estelle, and music continued throughout the evening with famed DJ M.O.S.

GOOD Awards sponsors for the evening included Tiffany & Co., Exelco and JCK, and Empowerment Circle inaugural sponsors, the Dalumi Group, Malca-Amit, Sterling Jewelers, and Leo Schachter Diamonds. The Empowerment Circle is DEF’s new annual partnership program.


About the Diamond Empowerment Fund
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a New York based global non-profit organization (EIN# 20-5967103) that raises money to fund education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations. Its beneficiaries include: CIDA City Campus, South Africa’s first non-profit university to offer a four-year business degree.  CIDA has an 80% employment rate among graduates; the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, and the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development.  www.diamondempowerment.org.
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