International interest in WO’s Israel training for Russian psychologists


21 March 2005 World ORTs trauma counselling seminar for Russian psychologists treating survivors of last years Beslan school massacre has been reported in English- and Russian-language media around the world. The source of much of the coverage was a press conference held in Moscow on last weeks return of the seven psychologists from Israel. The press conference was held at the head office of Interfax, the main provider of up-to-date news from Russia and the former Soviet Union. ( menu=31&id_issue=11255556) The highlights of the English-language coverage included ORT Russia Director Avi Ganons interview with BBC radio. The Jewish Telegraphic Agencys (JTA) Moscow correspondent Lev Krichevsky wrote a comprehensive article headlined Training in Israel helps people working with Russian terror victims ( intarticleid=15146&intcategoryid=2). The article has formed the basis of other articles in Jewish newspapers from the Jerusalem Post to the Baltimore Jewish Times as well as being reproduced on the websites of the United Jewish Communities and several individual federations in North America. A broad cross-section of Russian media attended the press conference, including national television stations Ren-TV and the 24-hour RTVI. Two reporters from TV-3 one of the countrys main channels accompanied the psychologists to Israel and are making a film about the week-long training seminar held at the ORT Moshinsky Research and Development Centre, Tel Aviv. Broadcasters including Radio Svoboda, Radio Alef, and Mayak had reporters present as did the major Russian periodicals such as Commersant, Vremya novostei, and Novaya gazeta. The event was also reported by many internet news sites in Russia, Ukraine, America and Israel. We presented ORT as a powerful organisation that is able to work in different areas of activities. Today we can share our experience not only in the highest technologies but also in psychology, said Mr Ganon. ORT Russia President Professor Alexander Asmolov stressed the importance of such publicity. There is a terrible lack of information about ORT and ORT activities in the Russian media. In our country less well known organisations particularly Jewish ones are treated with some suspicion. So having such extensive media interest in this project is very helpful because it shows the public the reality of what ORT does and so helps to build trust and respect. The Novosti news agency reported that there were plans to repeat the training seminar, which was jointly funded by the Russian Jewish Congress and private donors, for other groups of psychologists struggling to help the North Ossetian community recover from Septembers terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 331 people 172 of them children. In [Professor Asmolovs] opinion, Novosti reported, there are only a few psychologists in Russia specialising in such work. He thinks it necessary to set up an Emergencies Psychology Service in Russia to teach not only psychologists but also negotiators how to handle terrorist incidents. These were points mentioned in other reports, such as that found on the Russian Jewish website ( Novosti also quoted Senator Erik Bugulov, who represents North Ossetia in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, as stressing the need for psychologists to help Beslan victims: ‘Psychological rehabilitation of victims is now the key problem of the republican authorities. (, and in English at prd_id=160&msg_id=5461139&startrow=1&find=asmolov) The Rosblat news agency quoted Senator Bugulov as saying that Israels experience in dealing with the after effects of terrorism would prove very useful and effective for his own country. ( The Russian daily newspaper Vremya Novostei quoted Mr Ganon as saying: Today the best methods of psychological aid to the victims of acts of terror are used in Israel a country that lives under conditions of constant stress. ( The popular Russian internet news site noted that among the main tasks of the training were the teaching of a systematic approach to supporting people in critical situations; to transfer skills of recovery of normalcy and day-to-day activity of people that had directly or indirectly experienced acts of terrorism; to prepare professionals for the emotional challenges of working with people overcoming trauma. ( The Russian national information service noted that ORT Israel has 159 educational establishments and so has had to develop extensive post-traumatic consultation methods for its students in recent years. ORT programmes include both traditional and innovative approaches, it reported. [These include] work within families and specially developed methods of the analysis of traumatic situations. ( World ORT Director General Robert Singer said that the help given to the people of Beslan was indicative of the kind of work that ORT has carried out to the benefit of various ethnic communities over several decades. As a non-political, non-sectarian organisation, ORT is happy to share the skills we have developed with others, Mr Singer said. ORT is the worlds largest Jewish international education and vocational training non-profit organisation, and educates more than 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish each year. Other reports of the psychologists training in Israel can be seen at the following websites: id=18678 id_cr=98 id_cr=101&id=178127 SECTIONID=85646&IID=273032 news_id=12693&lang=ru