"We have selected high-powered individuals from a range of fields to give real content and meaning to our discussions," said WFDB President, Ernie Blom. "These include representatives of producers, diamond-mining countries and a range of service organisations, such as banks and labs. It is absolutely crucial that we are able to comprehensively debate all the challenges facing our industry around the world.
The keynote speaker will be Geshe Michael Roach, an American non-traditional teacher of Buddhism and Philanthropist who wrote the best-selling book, The Diamond Cutter, on Buddhism and business. ABN Amro Bank's Head of Diamond and Jewelry Clients, Erik Jens, De Beers Head of Commercial Development, Howard Davies, and Signet Jewelers Vice-President of Corporate Affairs, David Bouffard, will also participate as speakers and panelists. Diamond consultant and former De Beers executive Tim Dabson will introduce speakers and moderate the panel discussions.
"In addition to speeches, we are introducing an interactive element at this Congress with the panel discussions that are going to be held. We are looking for a broad conversation and that means encouraging audience members to respond to comments from panelists. How do we take our diamond business forward and create new opportunities while working in a transparent, responsible and sustainable manner? These are the questions we will be asking," Blom added.
The Congress is a biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and is slated in Dubai from May 16 to 19. It is expected to host WFDB's 30 presidents and more than 200 representatives of the global diamond industry.