Sunday, May 31st

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Kimberley Process Intersessional

Dear IDMA Members, Industry Colleagues and Friends,

I am off again, this time to Antwerp to attend the Kimberley Process Intersessional, a week-long event where the members of the KP, other stakeholders and observers gather to make up the balance of our industry's efforts to protect the diamond industry and trade from conflict diamonds and other unwanted influences.

A week long, you ask? Or are you're saying Bon Voyage?

And for an intersessional meeting, not even for a full plenary of the KP?

Yes, these KP meetings / gatherings of industry, civil society and governments run for five days. You may ask why so long, or perhaps so short. Well, not so short when it takes you away from your business. It does however show that our industry has challenges - though we do stay on top of these challenges, thanks to the many players involved - that need to be resolved.

Without the proper resolutions, you can bet our sales and our oh-so-cherished- bottom-line will be affected. The first news items in the WINC talks about some of our challenges. Read them carefully and you will get just a whiff of the many topics that we are touching upon in Antwerp this week.

I know, and I know that we all know, that we need positive change in our industry, lots of positive changes.

Take, for instance, a look at our industry's leadership. Mind you, I myself belong to the younger men and I am not young. I like to think of myself as young, especially as I get older but the average age of our colleagues dedicating and for the most part volunteering their time to industry affairs is, in my opinion, a bit too high.

So where is the younger generation?

How do we get our younger folks to step up?

Why aren't we seeing a change-over of generations in our industry leadership?

And how do we get our younger industry colleagues involved and engaged?

To start with, we need a healthy, thriving industry so that they feel as I did when I started out - excited to be a part of this great industry!

We need young people who can connect to the current issues and cut through the Gordian knots (In Greek and Roman mythology, the Gordian knot was an extremely complicated knot tied by Gordius, the king of Phrygia in Asia Minor*. Located in the city of Gordium, the knot came to symbolize a difficult problem that was almost impossible to solve. It was the young Alexander the Great who undid the knot by cutting through it with a single stroke of his sword...) we have found ourselves entangled in. Note, almost impossible. It is true, sometimes it feels and looks like things are impossible, but we do overcome, especially when we work together!

We sitting leaders of industry  need to take the youth under our wings, guide them and prepare them so that we can eventually hand over the reins to a younger, more energetic generation.

So let's hear it from you, members, colleagues and readers. Who and where are those young guns, future leaders who can take our industry forward in this new normal, where change is the only constant? We need them, yes you, to step up to the plate.

Meanwhile, be safe and stay tuned!

Ronnie VanderLinden, President