Guillermo Lutzky zl, 1963 2009


The ORT family is in shock at the news of the sudden, untimely death of Guillermo Lutzky, the brains behind ORT Argentina’s hugely successful Virtual Campus. Guillermo Lutzky zl Mr Lutzky passed away in his sleep last Tuesday (August 25), less than a month after seeing the Virtual Campus he had created come of age by allowing ORT Argentinas students to keep learning despite a government-ordered schools closure to contain the swine flu pandemic. This has proved to everyone how important, how useful, the Virtual Campus is, Mr Lutzky, the Virtual Campus CEO, said at the time. This has been a stress test to certify that you dont only learn and teach within the walls of the classroom but you also need to learn and teach by Internet. Here we had kids using 21st Century tools. They were working in an information society environment where not everything is done with someone physically present. Himself an ORT alumnus, Mr Lutzky went on to become a systems analyst before returning to the ORT high schools in Buenos Aires as an educator. As a teenager, Mr Lutzky was a shy but committed student; as an adult, he won the respect and love of colleagues and students alike for his humour, passion, intellect and sensitivity. ORT Argentina National Director Adri n Moscovich said: Guillermo had excellent personal and professional relations with everyone in all his fields of action. He was an intellectually gifted man, eager for innovation, for knowledge and truth a firm custodian of ORT s name and fame all over the world. Samuel Imar, a member of ORT Argentinas Board, described Mr Lutzkys death as a terrible and irreparable loss his absence will be felt in every area of ORT Argentina. Mr Lutzky was renowned for his technological expertise and developed two computing curricula for ORT Argentinas two high schools but he was far more than a computer science teacher: he developed, coordinated, monitored and evaluated academic and research activities at ORT Argentina, and designed the organisations long term computing strategy. He spearheaded the introduction of multimedia, the Internet and ubiquitous computing at ORT in Buenos Aires which culminated in the implementation of the Virtual Campus. And he was an inspiring basketball coach. In 2004 he set up ORT Bolivia and, as National Director of ORT Bolivia, created the Instituto Tecnologico Boliviano Israelita. He went on to become a consultant for the countrys Ministry of Education in the launching of an integrated humanistic-technological curriculum for high schools. World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer said it was difficult to express the sense of deep shock and sadness felt on learning of Mr Lutzkys death. He had a vision and he pursued that vision with dedication and a keen sense of purpose, Mr Singer wrote in condolence letter to Mr Moscovich. He saw the potential that modern technology provides to advance the education of young people, and he set about to create an environment in which he was able to realise his dream. The Virtual Campus that serves ORT Argentina so well is a monument to his work and to his talent Guillermo was taken from us while in his prime. He had accomplished a lot, but he had so much more to give. World ORTs Representative in Latin America, Isidoro Gorodischer, lamented the loss of a good friend of some 20 years. He was a very warm person loved not only by his colleagues but by the whole school community, Mr Gorodischer said. As a professional he was an example of the passion and devotion which make ORT the great organisation that it is. He was 1,000 per cent the ORTist, not 100 per cent. World ORTs Education and Technology Department, whose members frequently collaborated with Mr Lutzky, most recently in the Terry and Jean de Gunzburg Seminar, said it had always been a pleasure to work with him. They wrote to Buenos Aires saying: He was innovative and dynamic and committed to bringing the best of the modern world to the field of education. His recent work to create ORT Argentinas Virtual Campus rightfully earned him recognition and plaudits around the world. It stands today as a testament to Guillermo, to his vision and to his skill. For someone who was so committed to bringing the latest technology into the educational arena, it is fitting that tributes to Mr Lutzky have been flowing through the blogosphere. ORT Argentinas website noted his warmth, amiability, generosity of spirit, and intelligence prompting a student, Veronica, to write: We miss you! Guille opened doors; he invited you to make your own path and accompanied you along the way. A former student, Lucas Medina, wrote on his own blog that he considered himself lucky to have had Mr Lutzky as his Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teacher. My desire to go to school stemmed from wanting to learn from him, Mr Medina wrote. Other former students shared memories of Mr Lutzky at Mariano Amertinos Denken Uber blog about technology and Internet strategies. Pristu remembered his dizziness to teach: He was so caught up in the lesson that he continued what he was writing on the blackboard onto the walls. Martin Haimovich wrote: It is such a shame to lose as great a person as Guillermo. I was lucky to have him as a teacher this year. If not for him, I would hardly know anything about computers. I’ll remember him forever. Luzza added: What I learned from him can not be limited by words. He taught me computing, Internet, and programming but above all he taught me about life, how you have to overcome, how you can always know more, how you always have to know more. I always admired his ability to do things, make plans, to help people, that everything he touched was a success. And Nacho expressed his thanks: Thanks Guillermo for teaching us so much and for making us laugh while doing it. Marcelo wrote: He was my basketball coach in the school championships. He always had a message pointing to the self-improvement, to break down our own barriers, to win and to have fun. You felt that you could ask his advice about anything. At the Apuntes Urbanos blog, Muc wrote: I am at a loss for words. Guillermo was (I cannot believe I am using the past tense) a remarkable person, passionate about education and in many ways a visionary. Those who had the honour of being your students will not forget you. Amongst his peers, the sense of loss is palpable. In her Technology and Education in the 21st Century blog, Mariana Affronti de Canavessi writes: He was a great educator, a true professional. No words can describe what it means that Guillermo is no longer among us. Similarly warm appreciation for Mr Lutzkys contributions have been posted at the Buenos Aires municipalitys blog promoting the inclusion of ICT in secondary schools. Ramiro Nahuel Pol wrote: I am so sorry. He was an excellent professional and communicator. Susana Durich added: I deeply regret the loss of this co-worker of many years. He was always kind, respectful and tolerant. And Dario Goldfarb wrote: He was an excellent teacher for life, that rarity who teaches values as well as knowledge. He really cared about the progress of each student. At the state education portal, EDUCAR, the news of Mr Lutzkys death came as a blow. We echo the tributes that are currently emerging in all spheres of education and especially in virtual spaces where Guillermo used to travel with his message of educational innovation. He always offered creative suggestions and a great capacity to understand the power of the linkage of ICT with education. The blog ICT in Education thanks Mr Lutzky for his example: By donating your enthusiasm and dedication you made education better and better. Among the international tributes was a letter from Monica Lisker, an academic coordinator at the Colegio Israelita ORT, in Mexico, who was shown ORT Argentinas facilities by Mr Lutzky. Those who had the privilege to meet you can only feel a huge void and ask that your memory endures through the many, many lives you touched throughout your fruitful life, Mrs Lisker wrote. Fernando Bolanos, from Peru, wrote on a blog: He was a source of inspiration. And Manuel Gross, in Chile, re-published the penultimate essay on maintaining the relevance of educational institutions from Mr Lutzkys blog on his own blog. I join the posthumous homage to that great educator Guillermo Lutzky, Mr Gross wrote.