DePaul University, an accredited university in Chicago, hosted Diamonds for Peace founder Chie Murakami as a featured guest speaker on 28th October 2019. Chie presented DFP’s work in Liberia to students in DePaul’s Climate Change course. Chie explained that there is a high level of environmental degradation associated with diamond mining and the extractive industry plays a large role in climate change.
The students and professors were equally impressed with the project and the positive impact that has already been seen in the mining community. After the presentation, Chie answered questions from the class. A professor wondered if there was any pushback from the miners in regard to educating the diggers on their rights and organizing a diggers association. Chie explained that the miners were also grouped into a miner’s cooperative. The larger challenge is convincing the supporters to diversity their economic incomes so that there is less reliance on exploitation of miners and diggers.
In light of the new information delivered in the question and answer session, one student asked, “What are DFP’s long term goals? Are you interested in more co-ops to give more power to producers or a heightened public awareness?” Chie answered that DFP’s goal is to see fair and traceable diamonds in the marketplace. This can only be done with a greater public awareness and demand for transparency.
The DePaul community welcomed Diamonds for Peace’s Chie Murakami and encouraged students to get involved with the NGO through volunteering or promoting the upcoming campaigns. We look forward to future collaborations with students and university professionals to spread awareness about the social and environmental issues surrounding diamond mining.
Front photo: Chie explaining the differences between large scale and small-scale mining. (Photo: Diamonds for Peace)