-The first meeting for members of the World Diamond Council convened in Tel Aviv. Forty-one industry leaders, bankers and government officials representing 13 countries and all sectors of the diamond trade and six national governments were in attendance. An infrastructure for the organization was created. Strategic goals for the development of legislation and a tracking system were set.
-WDC is incorporated as a non-profit entity in the State of Delaware as World Diamond Council Assn.
-Meeting via international teleconference, WDC Officers and Steering Committee voted unanimously to adopt the By-laws on October 10.
-With unanimous consent from the Officers, the Legal Committee retained the firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a noted Washington, D.C. law firm with expertise in the field of international trade law to draft model legislation. The project is stipulated for completion before the end of the year.
-On October 17, the Technical Committee submitted its working document, A System for International Rough Diamond Import and Export Controls, to the Council for presentation at the London Intergovernmental Conference and to the United Nations.
-On October 22, when many WDC members were in New York to attend a major industry event, a brief, informal meeting was held at the Diamond Dealers Club to distribute the Technical Committee’s document and discuss progress to date.
OCTOBER, 2000 (c’d)
-Eli Izhakoff was accompanied by Matthew A. Runci, Wiilliam E. Boyajian, Peter Meeus and Zvi Shur to the London Intergovernmental Conference, a meeting designed to create a broad consensus for strong multilateral action in dealing with the issue of “conflict” diamonds.
-Officers and members met and teleconferenced regularly to continue strategic planning and discussions.
-November 14, International trade attorney Warren Connelly of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the law firm retained by WDC to draft model legislation, accompanied Eli Izhakoff, Jeff Fischer, Cecilia L. Gardner and Matthew A. Runci to a meeting with representatives from the State and Treasury Departments that was held at the US Mission to the United Nations in New York. The WDC government team explained the Council’s proposal for rough diamond controls, its position on current pending legislation, and its views on the importance of the UN General Assembly debates.
-November 16, Eli Izhakoff, Matthew A. Runci and Joan Parker, DIC Director traveled to Washington for a series of meetings with ambassadors staff officers and others representing the major diamond countries of Botswana, Israel, Belgium, South Africa and Namibia. This series of meetings heightened the awareness and understanding of the Council’s purpose and progress to date and, at the same time, opened wider channels for continuing communication and dialogue on the issue.
-November 18, Fox Television aired a “conflict” diamonds segment in which Matthew A. Runci and two Boston retailers were interviewed.
-The Legal Committee begins drafting a code of ethical standards and practices and also a membership application.
-The first demonstration by activists and targeted toward consumers and the media was led by Tony P. Hall, MC, in front of the Tiffany & Co. store in New York during the opening of the traditional holiday selling season on Thanksgiving weekend. Some 20 demonstrators, including Mr. Hall and members of his staff, carried placards and attempted to distribute “anti” diamond literature.
-In late November, website development began.
-December 1, World Diamond Council representatives Eli Izhakoff, Sean Cohen, Cecilia L. Gardner and Matthew A. Runci were present at the UN General Assembly for the debate and passage of Resolution A/55/L.52, on the role of diamonds in fueling conflict. The Council was recognized favorably by name during the proceedings.
-December 2, A press release, World Diamond Council Reports Progress in Campaign Against Conflict Diamonds, reaffirms the Council’s commitment to eliminating “conflict” diamonds from the trade and highlights its ongoing work to achieve this.
-December 2, Tony P. Hall, MC leads more than 100 activists in a consumer-oriented demonstration, this time in front of the Tiffany & Co. store in Chevy Chase, MD.
December, 2000 (c’d)
-During the week of December 4, WDC leaders attended a strategy session for lobbyists affiliated with the WDC effort.
-December 6, A press release, World Diamond Council Praises Passage of UN Measure to Fight Conflict Diamonds, addresses the General Assembly’s action as “a major milestone on the road to solving the serious humanitarian problems created by “conflict” diamonds.”
-December 8, Warren Connelly, attorney with the firm of Akin, Gump, Hauer and Feld, submits a 15-page draft of model legislation and a 5-page summary to the Council for review and by Officers, members of the US Legislative Committee and others. Committee Chairman, Matthew A. Runci announces a one-week review period and a meeting by teleconference.
-December 7, Cecilia L. Gardner, WDC General Counsel and Matthew A. Runci meet in Washington, D.C. with leaders of WorldVision, Amnesty International/USA, and Physicians for Human Rights and staff from the Congressional office of Tony Hall. All parties aired their views on pending and proposed legislation.
-December 14, The World Diamond Council announces the January 17-18 Members Meeting and International Conference to be hosted by DTC at the Great Eastern Hotel in London.
-December 22, Model legislation, drafted by the firm of Akin, Gump, Hauer and Feld, is finalized during a teleconference including WDC’s review team and attorney Warren Connelly. The legislation was approved and the final draft prepared. It was delivered to US Legislation Committee Chair, Matthew A. Runci, accompanied by a memo summarizing each section of the proposal. Connelly and his firm will continue to work closely with the Council in 2001 in getting the bill sponsored, introduced and passed into law.
-Planning for the World Diamond Council Members Meeting and International Conference continues with DTC staff, Council Officers and others working on the project
-The Legal Committee completes the membership application and the code of ethical standards and practices for the diamond industry.
-January 8, the WDC website is “up and running” at www.worlddiamondcouncil.com
-January 10, Eli Izhakoff, Sean Cohen, Matthew A. Runci, William E. Boyajian, Robert Bridel and Jeffrey H. Fischer attend The White Conference: Technologies for Identification and Certification. Participants from governments, industry, academia and non-governmental organizations met to discuss the present “state of the art” for rough diamond characterization and certification technologies and to identify opportunities for further research and collaboration.
-WDC is invited to attend the mid-February government conference in Namibia.
-January 17-18, De Beers hosts The World Diamond Council Members Meeting and International Conference in London for 75 members and other delegates representing the governments of producing nations, non-governmental organizations and the trade and general press.