The Diamond Empowerment Fund presented Tiffany & Co., Leo Schachter Diamonds, and humanitarian Noella Coursaris Musunka with GOOD Awards on Jan. 10 at LAVO in New York City.
DEF honored the recipients for their commitment to corporate social responsibility and devotion to promoting education empowerment and prosperity in Africa.
The event drew celebrities Estelle, Jeffrey Wright, and Selita Ebanks; industry leaders Varda Shine and Stephen Lussier of De Beers, Mike Kowalski of Tiffany & Co., Mark Light and Mike Barnes of Signet; and ambassadors from the diamond producing countries of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
“A strong Africa is an educated Africa. For the diamond industry to be sustainable in the future, empowerment of youth through education is essential,” Russell Simmons, cofounder of DEF, said in a statement.
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. Left to right: 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.