22 April 2009 New president invigorates ORT Moldova Businessman Ilan Shor has become President of ORT Moldova, the position his late father, Miron, held when the national organisation was founded in 2002. At 22, Mr Shor is not only the youngest president of any national ORT organisation, his personal financial investment in ORTs work makes him the youngest member of World ORTs elite group of donors, The 1880 Society. His recent substantial donation has helped to ensure that the ORT school in Kishinev will continue as a Jewish school in the face of the Jewish Agency for Israels decision last year to pull out of its three-year, $3.75 million commitment to 46 schools in the Former Soviet Union. Mr Shors donation allows the Kishinev school to meet its immediate needs. Now that he is President, ORT Moldova plans to implement new programmes as well as enhance existing ones. One such project is the e-bus, which, said David Benish, World ORT Representative for Ukraine, Moldova, Central Asia and Caucasian States, a project which has been operated in various forms by ORT in other countries. A bus is fully fitted with computers and other equipment and visits small communities around the country. It stays in each place long enough to allow people to gain basic skills or improve their existing skills in Information and Communication Technology, Mr Benish said. Other programmes include special courses in ICT and office skills for single mothers so that they can improve their chances of getting jobs, and seminars for teachers to develop their professional skills. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Children. Despite his age, Mr Shor has already notched up some significant achievements. Since his fathers untimely death three years ago, for example, he has taken the familys businesses to new heights, being named Moldovas Businessman of the Year in a prestigious, televised ceremony. I do my best to continue everything my father was occupied in, Mr Shor said. It is also very important to me to achieve the goals to which we aspired with David Benish because they contribute to the progress of history as well as to the future of the Jewish people of Moldova. The 2009 programme is unique: many events will take place for the first time in Moldova. For me its very important that ORT will bring this programme to my country. Mr Benish said he had been pleasantly surprised by Mr Shors approach. He has a wealth of experience, displays a deep understanding of the world around him and is a profound thinker, all of which is very surprising in someone of his age, Mr Benish said. Hes also a very nice person who is eager to help ORT develop its activities further and he will also have an input into ORT Ukraine. Through his new Miron Shor Foundation, Mr Shor will fund prizes for both children and teachers in the ORT system who come up with interesting new programmes and inventions. His generosity has already enabled valuable prizes the first time there have been funds to give winners anything more than the honour of doing well to be awarded at last months final of the annual Kishinev Computer Sciences Olympiad which is staged at the ORT school. This year, the contest attracted 175 students from 46 educational institutions in the region, the biggest number ever. This is a very important event, the Head of the General Department of Education, Youth and Sports of Kishinev, Tatyana Nagnibeda-Tverdohleb, said. It provides capable and enthusiastic children with a fun, exciting and challenging opportunity to increase their knowledge of information technologies. World ORTs implementation of diverse educational programmes in Moldova allows us to carry out a lot of much-needed and beneficial deeds. The value of the Shor familys input has not gone unnoticed. For many years Miron Shor contributed so much to the role of ORT Moldova, said Kishinev City Council Advisor Regina Apostol. Now it is headed by his son Ilan who has picked up where his father left off with a desire to continue this very important work of the possibilities presented by high technology in dealing with modern problems. In addition, the good contacts Mr Shor has in government circles raise the prospect of a closer relationship between ORT and the Moldovan authorities. Already there are plans for a meeting in which ORT will share its expertise with politicians and civil servants on what kinds of educational modifications may be useful in improving the employability of youth something which Mr Shor says is all the more important now in an economic crisis. As the Director of the ORT School, Svetlana Klimina, said: The educational programmes of ORT Moldova familiarise pupils with advanced technology and give them a chance to open themselves brightly and completely. A generation of new independently and creatively thinking pupils is being prepared here. Those advantages are about to start flowing to 250 more Jewish students now that the Rambam School in Kishinev has joined the ORT family through an agreement between World ORT and the Israeli Ministry of Education. Although the school isnt in the best condition, it has great potential which will be realized once ORT investments and activities are in place, Mr Benish said. Over the coming academic year, World ORT and the Israeli Ministry of Education plan to strengthen the schools Jewish Studies department and World ORT will upgrade its computer facilities. Eventually the school will benefit from all the advantages enjoyed by ORT schools throughout the CIS and Baltic States, Mr Benish said. The Ministry of Educations decision to join with World ORT at this school is a sign of the Ministrys confidence in our ability to do the job well. They appreciate very much the work were doing. Looking further ahead, World ORTs teams in the Former Soviet Union hope the greater financial involvement shown by Mr Shor and other supporters in the region will encourage other major donors in the region to make similar investments. This money should help us to raise more money from the local community, said World ORTs Representative in Russia, Avi Ganon. Once people know that prominent members of their community are contributing to ORT they will feel encouraged to do the same.