EARNING THE RIGHT TO SPEAK
ON BEHALF OF THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY
Dear colleagues and friends,
Later this month, members of the World Diamond Council will cast ballots to vote for eight members of our 20-person Board of Directors. It is the governing body of our association, overseeing activities, policy, the budget and the selection of officers, committee members and the executive director.
One distinguished individual who sadly will not be rejoining the Board of Directors is Sanjay Shah, who passed away on April 29 after an illness.
Sanjay was a relatively new member, having joined the Board in November of last year, representing the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India in the diamond manufacturing category. But he was an experienced Kimberley Process specialist, playing a key role in GJPEC’s Kimberley Process core team and convening its Diamond Panel Committee. He also was a long-time participant in the WDC.
Devoted public servants in the diamond industry like Sanjay are rare and valuable. His absence will be missed. We send condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, in India and around the world.
The process by which we elect board members is measured, in careful accordance with protocol and it is strictly transparent. During an election process we maintain a special section on our website, which can be visited by CLICKING HERE.
It is premature to discuss the results of the election, which will be announced in due course. Nonetheless, I thought it worthwhile to highlight the process, so as to illustrate the structure of WDC, and more specifically to demonstrate how we are empowered to represent the full complement of the diamond supply chain, as they say from mine to retail jeweler.
The late Sanjay Shah, addressing the Intersessional Meeting of the Kimberley Process in Mumbai, India, in June 2019.
Having been established at the height of the conflict diamond crisis in 2000, WDC was restructured in 2014, with the goal of ensuring its long-term viability from the functional, financial and governance perspectives. We were an organization that purported to speak and act on the industry’s behalf in international forums, like the Kimberley Process. We wanted to make it crystal clear that we had earned the right to do so.
Successfully operating an international association in the diamond industry inevitably requires the support of the larger commercial players, and we have been fortunate to have had that over the years. But it is just as important to give voice to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who make up the rank and file of our community, and ensuring that all the various stages in the pipeline are represented. When WDC was restructured eight years ago, these elements were taken into account in the configuration of the Board of Directors.
To give voice to the presence of the greater diamond industry within the WDC, our bylaws grant permanent seats on the Board of Directors to a representative of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), a representative of the International Diamond Manufacturing Association (WFDB) and a representative of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation. These three bodies do not have individuals as members, but rather associations, collectively representing the interests of the members of diamond exchanges, diamond manufacturing associations and national gem and jewelry associations around the globe.
To make certain that all parts of our distribution chain are represented, the Board of Directors is divided into five categories, namely the extraction of diamonds, the manufacturing (cutting and polishing) of diamonds, the wholesale diamond trade, the retail trade in diamonds and diamond-set jewelry, and other industry stakeholders, such as banks, secured transport and logistic companies and additional service providers.
To no small degree, our authority is vested in our structure, enabling us to assert that when address an international body like the Kimberley Process, we do so on behalf of all members of our industry.