Celebrating 125 Years at the ORT GA


The World ORT General Assembly 2004 Celebrating the 125th Year of Educating for Life To encapsulate the spirit of the GA is not an easy task; so much was packed into such a short space of time. We celebrated ORT’s achievements and we set the scene for future growth; we were magnificently entertained by our talented students and we debated issues of forward planning and governance; we heard presentations from our own professional and lay leaders and we were privileged to be addressed by a galaxy of distinguished personalities including representatives of the Jewish community, government, business, law, politics, international diplomacy and global technology. An exciting panorama of events from the GA. Taken from the Opening Ceremony, the Plenary Sessions and the 1880 Society Launch. Technically it was not one event, but several. Over the long weekend we held meetings of the World ORT Executive, the Board of Directors, the Academic Advisory Council, the World ORT Strategic Task Force, the National Directors and, of course, the GA itself. Each of these meetings was a vital ingredient; combined, the mixture was potent, generating an enormous amount of energy, strengthening us, inspiring us and propelling us forward to undertake the work that faces us during the coming four years. The GA was a truly international event, mirroring the global nature of our organisation. Delegates attended from 35 countries, providing a rich mix of languages, cultures and backgrounds, but united in a common purpose. The situation in Israel remains of paramount concern to all of us, and the GA reaffirmed ORT’s unflinching support for the State and for our own role as one of the country’s major education providers. ORT is proud of the fact that our education and training programmes contribute so much to the prosperity of the Jewish State and to its industrial and economic growth. At the same time we recognise the enormous need that exists in other parts of the world, especially among the Jewish communities of the CIS and Baltic States (the former Soviet Union) and in Argentina. Our operations in large and small communities in these countries bring self-reliance and hope to individuals and communities that will ensure the future survival and continuity of the Jewish people. But the GA also reasserted ORT’s commitment to bring the benefit of our experience beyond the Jewish world to the wider community through our International Cooperation programmes. These humanitarian activities provide invaluable benefit to hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged people throughout the world and bring enormous prestige to ORT. The world is enriched, ORT is enriched and the reputation of the Jewish people is enriched through these programmes. We come away from the GA with a sense of renewal. We have a new strategic plan that will guide us through the forthcoming four-year period; we have new focuses for our fundraising efforts: during the next year we will direct our campaigns to the needs of the Yad Lvovich School in Netanya, Israel and to Project Regeneration 2004 in the CIS and Baltic States; we have launched the 1880 Society that will recognise the most generous of our donors; we have new officers to steer our course, and we have a new President in the person of Sir Maurice Hatter – one of ORT’s most tireless and generous supporters. This combination gives us the renewed vigour that we need to start on the next stage of our journey, ready to scale new heights. 28 June 2004