New ORT facilities in the CIS


World ORT Update 11 October 2001 World ORT Mission inaguarates new ORT facilities in the CIS World ORT is seeing its work on the Regeneration 2000 campaign come to fruition. On 10-14 of September, World ORT staged a mission to Ukraine and Moldova where brand new technology centres were inaugurated. Kishinev, Moldova 10 and 11 September In Kishnev, a new ORT Technology Centre was dedicated at a ceremony attended by Ronald Lauder, chairman of the Lauder Foundation who sponsored the project in conjunction with the Rochlin Foundation. Leaders of the Jewish community, education authorities, representatives of the government of Moldova and representatives from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office all participated in the event. Following the dedication ceremony, Robert Singer, Director General of World ORT, met with the President of Moldova, Mr Vladimir Voronin. 12 September Kharkov is an industrial city in Eastern Ukraine with a Jewish population of 50,000. It is considered one of the most impoverished areas of Ukraine with a high rate of unemployment since most of the population was involved in heavy, mainly military industry. Robert Singer (left) Director General of World ORT and Reese Feldman (centre) Chairman of the World ORT Executive Committee, cut the ribbon in Kharkov’ The ORT Kharkov Technology Centre was officially opened in conjunction with the JDC on 12 September. The Centre occupies the first floor of the local Jewish Community Centre – the JDC Cultural Centre. It is providing courses in Information and Communication Technologies and Jewish Studies. Students, both adults and young people, who attend courses at the Centre are able to study Hebrew while using computers and obtain information about Israel through the Internet. In addition to attending the official opening of the ORT Kharkov Technology Centre, during the mission, participants had the chance to meet with students from the Jewish school and with the mayor of Kharkov, and took a tour of the city and its Jewish sites. Kiev, Ukraine 13 and 14 September As part of Regeneration 2000 and thanks to the generosity of Milton and Shirley Gralla, the ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum was established. Kiev has a significant population of some 130,000 people. Currently 200 students study at the Lyceum, and due to the high number of applicants, World ORT is planning to expand the school in cooperation with the local authorities to allow 200 more students to study there. During the mission, participants met with students at the ORT Lyceum who made a presentation especially for the mission. Mission participants also toured the historical sites of Kiev and were briefed by the Israeli ambassador. Moscow Vocational Training Centre A new Vocational Training Centre for the Moscow Jewish Community was opened during the mission thanks to the generosity of Carole and Geoffrey Lawson. Their donation will fund both the establishment of the Centre and will cover tuition costs for the first four years, by which time it is anticipated that it will be self-sufficient. Robert Singer, Director General of World ORT said the Moscow project was ‘very important both for the Jewish community there and in Israel. Many from the community make aliyah, but it takes them two years to learn the language and retrain to Israeli-standard qualifications. The new centre will mean that they can start retraining courses in Moscow months before they go to Israel. We also want these people to have a Jewish identity, so that is also part of the package.’ Background World ORT began working in the CIS and Baltic States in 1991 with a handful of students. The figures grew very gradually for a few years until 1999, when ORT had approximately 3,000 students in this region.Then, with the help of generous donors, Regeneration 2000 was launched. The figures are now growing dramatically. By the end of 2001, ORT will have educational institutions in 15 cities. The chief objective of Regeneration is to create successful and attractive Jewish schools, built upon high quality technology education that will provide graduates with a real competitive advantage when seeking higher vocational education and opportunities for employment. The schools will also provide a focal point in the local Jewish community through which they will contribute to the continued rebuilding of Jewish life in the CIS. Through Regeneration 2000, existing Jewish schools have enjoyed extensive refurbishment and upgrading of premises, installation of fully-equipped laboratories for teaching technology and ICT (Information and Communication Technology), teacher training programmes and a full range of supporting learning materials including texts and software. By the end of this year, World ORT will be opening technology centres in affiliated schools including Riga, Minsk and Kishinev. There are now between 17,000 and 18,000 students in this region and World ORT is confident that it is on course to reach its target of 25,000 by the end of 2001. *photos available on request, email [email protected]