National Directors Forum at Harvard University


16 June 2006 ORTs national directors meet at Harvard The top professionals from ORTs constituent national bodies have met at Harvard University for the seventh annual National Directors Forum. The four-day forum at the Minda de Gunzburg Centre for European Studies comprised an intensive series of meetings at which the National Directors discussed the challenges, successes and future development of ORTs fundraising and operational roles. This has been an outstanding opportunity to interact with our colleagues without distractions in an academic, serious setting, said ORT Canada Executive Director Manny Kalles. The information we have been able to share has been very stimulating. We have discussed ORTs world from top to bottom. Mr Kalles said that what he had learned at the forum would allow him to share with Canadas lay leadership the full scope of ORTs reach, the seriousness and commitment of its national and international teams, and the integrity of its projects. Among the matters discussed were the Latin America Campaign (a major fundraising effort to support the continents Jewish communities which is due to be launched in January 2007) and the progress of World ORTs International Next Generation initiative to cultivate the lay leaders of tomorrow. The National Directors Forum participants at Harvard University. The forum also endorsed the recommendations of World ORTs Ad Hoc Committee on Foundations. Prepared by ORT Americas Steve Goldberg, the committees report focused on the methods and procedures of approaching grant making foundations. The Jewish education standards project designed by World ORTs Jewish Education Standing Committee and its Education and Technology Department met with the approval of the national directors as did the first four history lessons about ORT, a joint effort of staff at World ORTs head office in London and colleagues in St Petersburg. The national directors endorsed the introduction of the lessons into the Jewish studies curricula at ORT schools. The forum acknowledged the importance of strategic planning for the period 2008-2012 and called for as many of ORTs lay leaders and top professionals to be involved in this process as possible. Participants also commented on the quality of the three guest speakers: co-publisher of the German newspaper Die Zeit, Michael Naumann, spoke on The History of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin; Jane Wei-Skillern, Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the General Management Unit and Social Enterprise Group at the Harvard Business School, spoke on Increasing Mission Impact Through Strategic Network; and Barry Shrage, President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, spoke on North American Philanthropy Directions, Challenges and Facts. It was the first time at a National Directors Forum for ORT Switzerlands new Director, Vanessa Cholat. Its been very interesting and productive to meet the directors of operational countries, to discuss with them the projects they run and to explain to them what we need for marketing purposes, said Ms Cholat. This will help me to raise more money because I will be able to present the projects better. ORT France National Director Marc Timsit agreed, adding: The forum helps me to understand the experiences of other ORT countries. Next years National Directors Forum is due to be held at ORT Uruguay.