Posted on Mar 13, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments




Former First Lady of both Mozambique and South Africa to Receive the Global Humanitarian Award



New York, NY; March 13, 2017 – The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) will honor Mrs Graça Machel with the first-ever “Diamonds Do Good” Global Humanitarian Award at D.E.F’s Diamonds Do Good Awards gala, set for June 4 at the Four Seasons Ballroom in Las Vegas.


Graça Machel is a renowned international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. She served as First Lady of Mozambique when married to Samora Machel from 1975 until his death in 1986; and later was First Lady of South Africa from 1988 to 1999, when married to Nelson Mandela. Today, as the Founder of the Graça Machel Trust, her work focuses on women’s economic and financial empowerment, education, food security and nutrition, promoting democracy and good governance.

Born in Mozambique, Graça was appointed Minister for Education and Culture when she was 29 years old. Upon her retirement from the ministry, she was appointed an expert of the UN Secretary General and was responsible for producing the groundbreaking report on the protection of children in armed conflict. She has continued being a strong advocate for women’s and children’s rights and was made a British dame for her humanitarian work in 1997. Following her role as a member of the UN High-Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda, she has recently been appointed as a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate.


Mrs. Machel black and white background


It was in Graça’s living room in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2006 that the inspiration for the Diamond Empowerment Fund was born. A discussion between H.E. Nelson Mandela, Graça, philanthropist and music mogul Russell Simmons, and civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, sparked the idea of establishing a global nonprofit to focus on the good that the diamond industry does throughout the world, particularly in Africa. The Diamond

Empowerment Fund grew out of that discussion, and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The Graça Machel Trust continues her important work to multiply the faces and amplify the voices of Africa’s women and children.  The Trust catalyses action, supports local initiatives, lends solidarity and offers support where it is needed and  engages both publicly and behind the scenes with power brokers. The Trust has recently launched two Pan-African Initiatives: the Women Advancing Africa Forum and the Women in Media Network.

Joining Ms. Machel in receiving Diamonds Do Good awards at the gala will be acclaimed actor and social justice advocate David Oyelowo – star of the recent film A UNITED KINGDOM- who will receive the International Vanguard Award and iconic retailer Helzberg Diamonds who will receive the Corporate Legacy of Pilanthropy Award.


For more information and to purchase tickets/sponsorships, please visit diamondsdogoodawards.org

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About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:


The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a global non-profit based in New York City and co-founded by Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007 to empower diamond communities around the world.  Its beneficiaries include: the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development; Veerayatan, a model for encouraging development of responsible citizens who are educated, have strong integrity and a motivation to give back to their community. D.E.F  supports students attending its colleges of Pharmacy, Business Administration and Engineering.  D.E.F also supports the Diamond Development Initiative’s mobile school program in the Democratic Republic of Congo and high school scholars in Tanzania through the Flaviana Matata Foundation.



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