Botswana was celebrated in all its glory for being a model for the diamond industry. The event was entitled ‘Gala Salute to Botswana: Diamonds Empower Africa’ which was attended by over 150 diamond and jewelry industry leaders, diplomats, government officials, delegates to the Kimberley Process Intersessional, philanthropists, and other dignitaries. It was held on June 5, 2012 at the Embassy of Botswana in Washington, DC and co-hosted by the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) and the Embassy of Botswana to the United States.
Some of the VIP attendees at the gala included H.E. ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, chair of the Kimberley Process; H.E. Ebrahim Rasool, ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the United States; H.E. Ephraim M. Hlophe, ambassador of the Kingdom of Swaziland to the United States; Eli Izhakoff, president of the World Diamond Council; and Jacob Thamage, Coordinator of the Botswana Diamond Hub.
H.E. Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the United States, said, “it was Botswana's time to shine as a model for what is possible when good governance is combined with good corporate social responsibility and best business practices from the private sector and government. Botswana's economic wealth and social well-being are due to being the top producer of diamonds by carat weight and value in the world. Careful stewardship of this most precious resource with our business partners exemplifies that public/private partnership works in a democracy such as Botswana."
The gala’s lead sponsor was Tiffany & Co. and its supporter sponsors include Exelco, Julius Klein Group, Leo Schachter Diamonds, Signet Jewelers, and Wilderness Safaris in Botswana. The Dalumi Group, creators of the Swana Diamond supported the evening by making the winning bid for the exclusive Wilderness Safari auction package which includes an arranged tour by Debswana of the world’s richest diamond mine, Jwaneng, and a private tour by DTC Botswana of their newly opened offices in Gaborone.
A highlight of the program was a stirring speech by Patience Osei who is a student scholar in Botswana’s Top Achievers Program and which is supported by the Government of Botswana in partnership with the Diamond Empowerment Fund.