India honoured at D.E.F. Gala, Diamonds in the Sky

 India honoured at D.E.F. Gala, Diamonds in the SkyAmidst an attendance of dignitaries, a celebratory mood, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Government of India were honoured at the recent Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Gala, Diamonds in the Sky. The honour was the D.E.F’s highest recognition – the 2015 Global Empowerment Salute. It was presented for India’s global leadership and contributions to democracy, development and the growth and expansion of the international diamond industry, the Gala celebrated diamonds and the positive impact made by the diamond industry worldwide. Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh who accepted the award.

The Gala was held in the backdrop of a festive and colorful mood at the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom. Dignitaries present included David Ramsay, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment for Canada’s Northwest Territories; Peter Vician, Deputy Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment for Canada’s Northwest Territories; Robert Bouchard, Minister Legislative Assembly for Canada’s Northwest Territories, Nkoloi Nkoloi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations; and Masego Nkgomotsang, First Secretary of Economic Affairs for the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC.

Taking center stage were student scholars representing D.E.F.’s “Diamonds Do Good” mission of developing the next generation of leaders in diamond communities around the world through access to higher education. Ashna Mehta, student ambassador for Veerayatan—a D.E.F. beneficiary based in India—said “Without access to education, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated and difficult to break free from…Veerayatan enables youth to reach their full potential and become leaders and change-makers in their communities.”

De Beers Group CEO Philippe Mellier, a co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, stated “Our diamond communities are committed to furthering the building blocks for long-term prosperity through healthcare, infrastructure, access to education, and employment. De Beers thanks D.E.F for helping make diamond moments by showing the world how ‘Diamonds Do Good.”

Rajnath Singh appreciated the role D.E.F. plays in the diamond industry and community. He said, “It is good to know that the Diamond Empowerment Fund is actively working to help create education programs for children and for people working in the diamond industry in India”. D.E.F. co-founder Russell Simmons helped introduce a live auction of four exclusive experiences that brought the evening’s total amount raised to close to one million dollars. These funds will support D.E.F.’s beneficiaries. Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Rowland, helped close out the evening with her performance. Says Phyllis Bergman, D.E.F.’s President and CEO of Mercury Ring, “We are thrilled with the success of the evening and look forward to growing D.E.F.’s mission”. Joining Premier Presenting Sponsors Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, Inc., De Beers Group of Companies, Rio Tinto Diamonds, and Signet Jewelers Limited (Kays Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales Jewelers) were Partner Sponsor Rosy Blue Group, Patron Sponsor Le Vian Group, Benefactor Sponsor KP Sanghvi and Empowerment Circle Partners Forevermark, Asian Star, Exelco, and Leo Schachter.

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