Message from our President, Dr. Jean de Gunzburg


Publication of the World ORT Report 2007-2008 gives us the opportunity to showcasethe extraordinary work carried out by our staff, lay leaders and supportersthroughout the world. Readers of these pages will discover an array ofeducation and training activities that spans the globe, and also obtain aninsight into the work of our many fundraisers working devotedly to providethe financial resources to make it all possible. A financial overview of theorganization is also presented. World ORT has remained faithful to its mission throughout the almost130 years of its existence. Our aim is to provide education and trainingopportunities that will enable people to compete in the highly volatileemployment market and lead independent lives as contributing members ofthe communities in which they live. In modern times we fulfil that missionby offering educational programmes that are focused and relevant, bydelivering scientific and technological courses that are regularly updated andby ensuring that our teaching staff is kept abreast of the latest materials andmethods. In providing these services we partner with a range of organizations,foundations, governments and national and international agencies. The numerous challenges that we face include the rapidity with whichscientific and technological knowledge is developing, the uncertain economicclimate that affects our graduates as well as our fundraisers and issues ofsecurity throughout the world. To help the organization to operate effectivelyand to face up to these challenges, the World ORT General Assembly at itsmeeting in Warsaw in May 2008 adopted a modern and tiered system ofgovernance. Besides the General Assembly that meets every four years, the largest forum in this new structure that meets on a yearly basis is the Boardof Representatives, which consists of up to seventy-five members drawn fromORTs worldwide lay membership. Under the new system, the body ultimately responsible for determining anddirecting policy and budgetary issues is the Board of Trustees. This is a panelof fifteen exceptionally able individuals with skills ranging from conflictresolution, law and accountancy to business, politics and education. This group,which meets four times a year, manages the affairs of the organization and isfully accountable to it. Supporting the new structure is a series of committeesincluding the Audit and Risk Committee and the Finance Committee thatprovide scrutiny and ensure transparency. Other working groups include theAcademic Advisory Council, an international group of prominent scholarswho monitor educational trends and help to determine educational strategy.With its exemplary professional staff and with this governance structure inplace we are confident that World ORT is truly fit for purpose as a leadingtwenty-first century educational organization and is one in which donorsand beneficiaries alike can have the utmost confidence. The raison d tre of our organization is to deliver high quality education andtraining services to the tens of thousands of students who depend on us. Weare single minded in pursuit of this goal; we do not underestimate the severityof the challenges that lie ahead but we are determined not to be deflected bythem. World ORT will continue to faithfully serve its communities, helpingthem to achieve and to prosper.