This is a free public event.
The diamond wars of the past 15 years took the lives of more than three million Africans, crippling the economies of Angola, the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The biggest UN peacekeeping forces in the world – in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Congo and Côte d’Ivoire, have been the legacy of conflict diamonds. Ian Smillie will tell the story of how diamonds, precious symbols of love and wealth, became so corrupted and dangerous, how a human rights campaign led to a global certification system, and how a new challenge may turn diamonds from a curse into an engine for development in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Speaker BioIan Smillie was a founder of the Canadian development organization, Inter Pares, and was executive director of CUSO from 1979 to 1983. He serves as research coordinator on Partnership Africa Canada's Diamonds and Human Security Project, and is an NGO participant in the intergovernmental Kimberley Process which has established a global certification system for rough diamonds. Ian Smillie is currently the chairman of the Board of Directors for the Diamond Development Initiative. He has been an NGO participant in the Kimberley Process since its inception. He has written several books on development subjects, the most recent of which are Patronage or Partnership: Local Capacity Building in Humanitarian Crises (2001) and The Charity of Nations: Humanitarian Action in a Calculating World (with Larry Minear, 2004). Mr. Smillie was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2003.