Historical highlights in the history of ORT from inception to the present. 1880 A small group of prominent Russian Jews petition Tzar Alexander II for permission to start a fund to help lift Russias five million Jews out of crushing poverty. ORT, Obschestvo Remeslenovo i zemledelcheskovo Trouda (the Society for Trades and Agricultural Labour) is founded. 1881 to 1906 ORT raises over a million rubles and provides manual training to 25,000 Jews in 350 towns of the Russian Empire. 1914 to 1910 During World War I, ORTs cooperative workshops, soup kitchens and credit offices save thousands from starvation. ORT sets up a Relief-through-Work project to find employment for displaced Jews. 1921 World ORT Union is established by ORT leaders at a conference in Berlin. 1922 The American ORT Society, forerunner of American ORT, is established. 1927 Womens American ORT is established. 1930s World ORT starts its operations in Latin America. 1938 Stalins purges end ORT operations in the Soviet Union. 1940 ORT conducts vocational training courses in the Kovno Ghetto until 1942. 1945 ORT begins work in the post-war DP (displaced persons) camps. 1947 World ORT representation established in Israel. 1949 ORT Israel is established. 1949 The Iron Curtain forces the closing of ORT programmes in Eastern Europe. 1947-1950 ORT begins operations in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Iran. 1959 The Syngalowski Centre is created in Tel Aviv the first modern vocational education institution in Israel. 1960 ORT International Cooperation activities commence. 1960s ORT Israel and ORT France meet increasing demands for training from the influx of Jews from North Africa and Eastern Europe. 1970s Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay become major centres of operation for ORT in Latin America. 1976 Opening of the ORT School of Engineering on the campus of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 1980 ORT celebrates its 100th anniversary. 1985 ORT Israel absorbs the first large wave of olim from Ethiopia. 1989 Opening of the ORT Braude International Institute of Technology in Karmiel, Israel. 1990 ORT returns to Russia after a 52-year absence with the signing of an agreement with the Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education. 1995 ORT schools open in Moscow and St Petersburg. 1996 ORT enters the Internet Superhighway, linking its centres around the world through ORTnet. 1999 Agreements are signed with the Russian Government and local education authorities leading to a sixfold increase in ORT student numbers in the Former Soviet Union. 2000 ORT celebrates its 120th Anniversary. 2000 Creation of the Regeneration 2000 Campaign and the establishment of a new network of ORT schools and educational centres in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Kiev, Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk, Minsk, Kishinev, Vilnius and Riga. 2004 Building on the success of Regeneration 2000, Regeneration 2004 is initiated and new ORT schools and educational centres are established in Zaparojie, Odessa, St Petersburg, Moscow, Samara and Bishkek. 2004 Inauguration of the World ORT 1880 Society for ORTs most inspirational and generous donors. 2004 ORTs Next Generation Initiative is launched and the first meeting of ORTs next generation of layleaders is held in Paris. 2006 Merger of American ORT and Womens American ORT is successfully completed. ORT America is born. 2006 ORT Strasbourg becomes the first private college in France to offer a three-year bachelor degree course in collaboration with a university with the introduction of its Licence Professionel des Metiers de lOptique e de la Vision with the Louis Pasteur University. 2007 Establishment of Science Journey / Kadima Mada in Israel – the new World ORT initiative. 2007 ORT Uruguay is ranked among the top 500 tertiary institutions in the world (out of 25,000). It is ranked eighth of the 17 Latin American institutions listed and is the only Uruguayan institution included. 2007 Presidents Prize for ORT St Petersburg Russias highest award for innovation and excellence in education has been presented to the ORT de Gunzburg School in St Petersburg.