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‘Blood Diamonds’ author visits campus

Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones, spoke on campus in March as part of Fair Trade Week.

Greg Campbell

Campbell’s book, which was adapted into an Oscar award-winning film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2006, exposed the “conflict diamond” trade in Sierra Leone, where throughout the 1990s, diamonds were mined in war zones, smuggled out of the country, and sold to legitimate companies, financing civil war and international terrorist groups.

Although accounting for only three or four percent of all diamonds sold, conflict diamonds, Campbell said, caused an estimated three million deaths and displaced another six million people living in Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Senior Carolyn Barnes, a member of the anthropology club and Fair Trade Week organizer, said she knew the notoriety of the blockbuster film would attract a large crowd to Campbell’s lecture, but that he was asked to speak because his messages tied in well with the goal of the event, which is to educate the campus about what fair trade means and how we can use our consumer power to make socially conscientious decisions.

“His first-hand account of how the diamond trade perpetuates violence illustrates how important it is to be a conscious consumer,” she said. “In the global economy, it is difficult to identify where our goods come from and how they are processed before they end up on the shelves of our local stores. Greg Campbell brought us a first-hand account of how the diamond mining and trading in Sierre Leone affected real individuals and fueled a bloody civil war.”

Campbell has won numerous awards from journalism organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists and the Inland Press Associations. He has appeared as a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News’ Crier Report, and C-SPAN’s Booknotes, and has been a regular guest on National Public Radio. He is the founding editor and part owner of Fort Collins Weekly in Colorado.

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