Cream of Geneva society celebrates World ORT’s 125th anniversary


25 November 2005 Switzerland celebrates 125 years of ORT The cream of Geneva society has celebrated World ORTs 125th birthday and raised money to help struggling students in Israel with a stylish Gala Dinner and ballet organised by ORT Switzerland. The event was the highlight of the anniversary year, said ORT Switzerland President Robert Equey, with more than 700 people attending a performance of the internationally renowned Bejart Ballet Lausanne and 400 attending the dinner afterwards. But it was the quality rather than the quantity of people that distinguished the evening, said Mr Equey. Indeed, the cr me de la cr me of Genevas banking, legal and business communities joined us, as did the citys religious and government leaders. This was not just an ORT event it was an event for the city of Geneva. Mr Equey thanked the Baron and Baroness Benjamin de Rothschild and the Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild for their support. Furthermore, added Mr Equey, we want to acknowledge a fact that gives us the courage and energy to pursue our mission the support of the well-known Jewish families connected to the men who founded ORT, the de Gunzbergs, the Syngalowskis and, in particular, the long-standing commitment by the Maus and Nordmann families. We are also very grateful to Sir Jack and Lady Lyons who have bestowed upon us their friendly and steady support for many years now. From left: Francine Tuk, ORT Switzerland Director Catherine Gentilini, Francois Charbonnaz, Vanessa Cholat, ORT Switzerland President Robert Equey, Gisele Vieillevy. The ballet and dinner were held at Genevas prestigious Batiment des Forces Motrice exhibition centre and concert hall a magnificently renovated waterside building that started life as a hydraulic factory six years after ORT was founded. This was an amazing event, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. It expressed the appreciation that ORT has to the city of Geneva and also the appreciation Geneva has for ORT and its work. An auction and raffle were held during the dinner the whole event raising more than $250,000 for the Schools Plus programme in Israel. Since 2002, the Schools Plus programme has provided hundreds of teenagers from distressed families and deprived backgrounds with the support they need to focus their energy on learning. The Israeli Ministry of Education says 35,000 13- to 18-year-olds have dropped out of formal education and are at high risk of slipping into delinquency and destructive behaviour. ORTs programme provides at-risk students with hot lunches and three hours extra tuition, counselling, study skills training, enrichment lessons and social activities four days a week. Activities are also provided during school holidays. This ORT project is about making sure that students receive the care and attention they need, not just to stay in school, but to flourish at school to thrive, develop and grow, said Mr Singer. Schools Plus provides a chance for students who show a willingness to learn, to really excel academically. A view of the Gala Dinner at the Batiment des Forces Motrice. ORT Switzerland consists of four committees: Geneva, Basel, Berne and Zurich all but Geneva being purely volunteer operations without professional staff or office space. The committees effective support for World ORT operations means that ORT Switzerland is a growing and increasingly influential fundraising organisation. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.