Junior Gemologist program debuts in FrenchJOHANNESBURG – Sept. 24, 2014 – In an effort to further the gem and jewelry industry’s beneficiation initiatives, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) debuted its Rough Diamond Evaluation course in French in Côte d'Ivoire. The class, which was held in Abidjan from Sept. 15-19, consisted of six government officials from the Ministry of Mines, Customs and the Ivorian mining development organization SODEMI, as well as two representatives of artisanal mining cooperatives and one field staffer from the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development II project of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The 5-day course was taught by Ric Taylor, GIA’s manager of global instruction.
“The rough diamond course brings practical and relevant education to this gem producing region. By working with Ivorian officials and others in the industry, we can directly support artisanal miners and the development of the diamond sector as a whole. This is an essential step for a country that is now working hard to re-establish and grow the industry following its recent integration into the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme,” said Brad Brooks-Rubin, GIA’s global director of development and beneficiation.
Several notable governmental and diplomatic representatives, including Jean Claude Brou, the Minister of Mines and Industry, and Terence P. McCulley, the U.S. Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, attended the Rough Diamond Evaluation graduation on Sept. 19.
The Institute also hosted the first-ever GIA Junior Gemologist Program™ workshop in a Francophone African country on Sept. 18 in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan. 18 students from the Lycee Blaise Pascal school ranging in age from 14-18 discovered the world of gemology through hands-on, practical training. The program was introduced in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, and has taken place in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.
Since 2008, GIA has expanded its activities and presence in sub-Saharan Africa, opening two full-time laboratories and offering classes in Gaborone, Botswana and Johannesburg, South Africa; establishing partnerships with government agencies and universities throughout the continent; and maintaining a network of active alumni. Today, there are more than 900 alumni and in Africa and GIA Alumni Chapters in South Africa and Botswana.