Minerals and Society

University of Delaware’s New Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program

Jewelry Development Impact Index to be Signature Project

The University of Delaware (UD) has been awarded a grant to establish a new Minerals and Society program under the leadership of Dr. Saleem H. Ali, Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at UD. It will be the first ‘mini-Masters’ of its kind in the United States that takes an interdisciplinary approach to linking mineral science, policy and human rights to affect positive change.

As the lead researcher on the Tiffany & Co. Foundation-funded Sustainable Gemstone Hub project (www.sustainablegemstones.org), Dr. Ali is also a Senior Fellow at the Columbia University Center on Sustainable Investment and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Additional credentials include Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia and a founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security.

Why is Minerals and Society needed at the University of Delaware?

  • Corporate Social Responsibility mandates have been expanding to embrace Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing of natural resources
    • Consumers and NGOs are demanding that companies and countries strive to make a positive impact in both new and mature market development.
  • “Conflict Mineral” laws have been passed in the US and EU
    • There is a growing need for sustainable development training due to concerns about “conflict minerals.” Both the United States and the European Union have “conflict mineral” legislation which requires publicly-traded companies to embrace traceability and sustainability throughout their supply chains.
  • Gems and Jewelry - rapidly growing global sector
    • The gem and jewelry industry, from mining to trading to manufacturing of jewelry, is a rapidly growing sector worldwide due to rise of Asian consumer economies.
  • Leverage UD’s world-class mineralogical museum collection and central location between NY and Washington, DC.
  • The University is home to one of the world’s finest, small private mineral collections, of which many specimens came directly from Tiffany and Co. This ‘showcase’ collection will inspire and educate our students and build bridges with gem trading New York city and museum-rich Washington, DC, as well as other museums around the world.  UD’s location also allows easy access to industry leaders, non-profit and civil servants, and policy professionals in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S.

Expected to launch in 2020, the Minerals and Society program will be targeted to economists, geologists, government officials and jewelry industry and museum professionals. The development of the curriculum will leverage a range of resources and networks including UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment (CEOC); College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Fashion and Apparel Studies; the University Museums at UD including UD’s world-class Mineralogical Museum; and the affiliated Winterthur Museum, among other resources. The core curriculum will offer online and on-campus delivery options, with shorter executive training opportunities, as well as research partnerships with several international universities. UD will also offer the following modifications:

  • Focused, ‘intensive’ on-campus study for government officials or industry groups, with the goal being to help governments and companies prepare for successful environmental and social audits and inspections.  (4 – 12 weeks)
  • Field study and/or laboratory modules of mining, minerals and policy influencers (1 week). These modules will be offered separately, and as part of the comprehensive graduate certificate program.
  • Corporate training – Customized for the client, an example would be: Responsible Resource Development - Introduction to Available Auditing and Certification Programs.

Related Recent Awards or Current Requests:  The University of Delaware received a $350,000 grant from Tiffany & Co. Foundation, which supports the creation of a knowledge hub around gemstones and sustainable supply chains. This program builds on this grant and UD’s partnerships with the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), the University of Queensland (Australia), as well as the Gemological Institute of America, American Gem Trade Association and major national museums of natural history.

Dr. Ali has invited the Jewelry Development Impact index (JDI) to become the technological, signature project of this new educational endeavor. Launched from group discussions at the Jewelry Industry Summit held in Tucson, AZ in 2017, the JDI project has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Orlando, Foreign Service Officer, Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures at the US Department of State and progressed through the volunteer efforts of a jewelry industry steering committee and industry veteran Patricia Syvrud, immediate past Executive Director of the World Diamond Council. The concept of the JDI is that it would be a relative and comparative country score that would measure and indicate the degree to which the jewelry and gemstone industries impact the economic and social well-being of the countries in which they function.

Created within the framework of the UN indicators of Human Security, the JDI would also capture examples of responsible sourcing and transparency initiatives that can be replicated, creating a ‘Roadmap to Responsibility’ to help assist with the implementation of the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidelines, among other sustainability efforts.  Comparative case studies serving as the groundwork of the JDI are currently being conducted by Master’s students at American University’s School of International Service. UD seeks to leverage its current University partnerships to supply the research resources needed for the ongoing development of the JDI, starting in the Fall of 2018.

The inaugural publication of the JDI is planned for January 2020 at an event such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland or the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, and will serve as the launch of the Minerals and Society program.  Ms. Syvrud has been named Program Manager at UD and will assist with curriculum development and marketing of the Minerals and Society program as well as oversee the creation of the JDI. Ms. Orlando will continue to be an advisor to the project.

To support the Minerals and Society program, participate in stakeholder workshops and roundtables for the development of the curriculum and JDI, or if you have any questions please contact Patricia Syvrud at psyvrud@udel.edu,  Dr. Ali at saleem@udel.edu, or Scott Mangieri at mangieri@udel.edu.