New media centre for Mexico kicks off ORT’s Latin America campaign


June 26, 2006 ORT Mexico inaugurates media centre first step in ORTs Campaign for Latin America The heads of the Mexican Jewish communitys main constituent groups were among 150 guests who attended the inauguration last week of ORT Mexicos Media Training Centre . The advanced technology education centre has been built within Mexico Citys Colegio Israelita School on the exact site of ORT Mexicos first training workshops in welding and technological subjects 25 years ago but will be independently run and open to students from all the local Jewish day schools as well as to young adults seeking training. The presence of all the senior representatives of the Jewish communities is remarkable, said World ORT Representative in Latin America Isidoro Gorodischer. I came to Mexico City two years ago and there was a feeling that Jewish kids would not want this kind of education. Now its very different: everyones delighted with this marvellous new resource. ORT Mexico National Director Jaime Salinas said that five of the eight major Jewish day schools in Mexico City had already committed to using the centre. I am optimistic about getting the whole Jewish school system participating in this project by the end of our school year in May, Mr Salinas added. Technology training organisation the Genexis Project, for which ORT develops educational programmes, will be a major user of the new centre. Rabbi Moshe Walles, who runs the project, placed a mezuzah on the entrance of the centre. This centre is a milestone in the provision of technology education, another Genexis representative, Elias Massri, told the guests. Mauricio and Helen Merikanskas. The centre will increase peoples earning potential and employability by providing four high-quality educational tracks: a comprehensive two-year programme for high school graduates who want to combine academic studies with vocational training short-term training courses in video and editing, television and radio production, and graphic design for adults interested in ongoing professional training short-term training courses in video and editing, television and radio production, and graphic design for adults interested in ongoing professional training media workshops for high school students who want to learn about education and career options in the media industry ICT training programmes for teachers in Jewish and non-Jewish schools The President of the Board of ORT Mexico, Miguel Kafka, explained that the centre would specialise in hands-on instruction to ensure that students would learn practical skills, although theoretical principles would also be taught. A highlight of the evening was an address by one of Mexicos most famous historians, Dr Enrique Krauze. Dr Krauze, who has taught at several tertiary institutions, including Oxford University, sits on the Board of Directors of Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world. With Mexico heading towards a general election, Dr Krauze shared his insights on the countrys contemporary political situation and participated in a question and answer session. Some of the facilities available at the new media centre. As part of the inauguration, two plaques were unveiled: one named the four major local donors who had supported the centre, World ORT Executive Committee Chairman Mauricio Merikanskas, World ORT Board of Directors member Abraham Kahn, Alejandro Saltiel and Ismael Grinberg; the other officially named the building as the Mauricio and Helen Merikanskas ORT Digital Media Centre. The naming of the centre was a complete surprise to Mauricio, said Mr Salinas. But we wanted to recognise the support that he, his wife and sons Arturio and Alejandro have given this project. Mr Gorodischer read out a letter from World ORT Director General Robert Singer at the inauguration in which he thanked the major donors for their assistance in bringing this dream into reality, not only on behalf of World ORT and ORT Mexico, but also the many young students whose lives will be enriched by their gift. Mr Singer also paid tribute to other local supporters, Alfredo Achar and the Sandler family, for their generosity and for the cooperation of the Jewish Schools Network, Vaad Hachinuch, the Central Committee of the Jewish Community in Mexico, the Genexis Projects and the Activa Foundation. The centre is the first step in ORTs $9 million campaign to support Latin Americas struggling smaller Jewish communities and boost the success of ORTs major operations in the continent. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.