Benefit Raises Over $1 Million for Diamond Empowerment Fund

An international benefit dinner held in London Nov. 8, attended
by leaders in the diamond industry and beneficiaries of the Diamond Empowerment
Fund, raised more than $1 million through the cause’s first international
fundraising event, DEF London: Diamonds
in the Sky
.

Co-chairs Varda Shine and Anna Martin, along with Nicky
Oppenheimer, V. Shankar, Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the D.E.F’s
Africa’s Angels, Nicola Breytenbach-Steiner and Flaviana Matata, and others joined
for one night to support the DEF’s mission to raise awareness and support for
the empowerment and education of African youth in nations where diamonds are a
natural resource.

The sold-out dinner and live auction saw Nicky Oppenheimer,
the chairman of De Beers, and Peter Sands, group chief executive for Standard Chartered Bank,
being honored by the charity for their leadership and strong commitment to
corporate social responsibility, as well as three speeches from students who
have directly benefited from D.E.F’s program.

There was also a surprise accolade to Varda Shine presented
by Russell Simmons naming her ‘Humanitarian of the Year 2010’.

The live auction, MC’d by Tim Dabson of the Diamond Trading Company, raised more
than $500,000 with lots including diamond jewelry, travel packages, sports
packages, and a modeling session with Africa’s Angel Flaviana Matata.

An online fundraising auction will continue
to coincide with the London event until Nov. 30.