U.N. Official to Address CIBJO Congress

Alice Hecht, the chief of protocol at the United Nations, will participate in and address the opening day of the CIBJO Congress on March 12. The Congress is being held in Cape Town, South Africa, and will run through March 15.

“We are delighted that Ms. Hecht has accepted our invitation to travel to Cape Town to address our congress,” said Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO president. “As the jewelry industry’s sole representative in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, we do have course have a close and formal relationship with the organisation. But Ms. Hecht’s presence in Cape Town will also underscore the theme of the conference, which is the jewelry sector’s role as a ‘responsible and sustainable’ factor in the economies of a good number of developing countries.”

Born and educated in Belgium, Hecht was appointed chief of protocol by Kofi Anan, the former UN Secretary General, on January 14, 2006. Prior to her appointment, she headed the Division of Administration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. Her United Nations experience began in March 1974, handling projects related to demographic and socio-economic trends in Africa. Subsequently, she served as chief administrative officer of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (2000-2003), and the United Nations Special Commission (1992-2000). From 1985 to 1992, she held the position of deputy executive officer in the Department of Technical Cooperation. In the early 1980s, in her capacity as Economic Affairs Officer, she was responsible for the design and management of socio-economic projects in Southeast Asia.

The guest of honor on the opening day of the CIBJO Congress is South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka. The keynote speaker will be Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of the De Beers Group.