December 06, 2007 ORT established in Panama ORTs commitment to Latin America has extended to Panama with leading members of the Jewish community there forming an ORT Committee for the first time. Under the inaugural presidency of agricultural engineer Samuel Bern, the ORT Panama committee will identify needs within the Jewish and wider communities that ORT is well placed to meet, organise fundraising and develop links with local communities. In one of their first official activities, the ORT Panama Committee members attended the inauguration of a new, state-of-the-art science laboratory installed at Panama Citys Isaac Rabin School under the supervision of Professor Rolando Diaz of ORT Chile. The laboratory follows the model of the TAVEC project through which ORT Chile has installed dozens of such facilities at public schools throughout Chile with the support of the Coca Cola Foundation. Teacher training and technical assistance is also part of the package. The project at the Isaac Rabin School is ORTs letter of introduction to Panama, said World ORT Representative in Latin America Isidoro Gorodischer. It will pave the way for many more ORT projects for the countrys 7,000 Jews as well as help for the wider community through World ORTs International Cooperation Department. The new laboratory at Isaac Rabin School was made possible thanks to money raised by the local community and through the Latin America Campaign World ORTs four-year, $9 million campaign to support the continents struggling smaller Jewish communities and boost the success of ORTs major operations. From left: Connie Fidanque, Gay Fidanque, teachers Ariel Arauz and Arista Lopez, Professor Rolando Diaz and ORT Panama Committee member Norma Miller watch as student Franklin Morrison uses new laboratory equipment provided by World ORT. Founded in 2000, the Isaac Rabin College is considered one of the best schools in Panama, recognised for its academic excellence, spirit of innovation and the success of its graduates. Its 235 primary and secondary students enjoy a liberal Jewish environment designed to bring out the best in them ethically. The school is also known for its emphasis on scientific studies. The Director of the school, Teresita Cerutti, said: I feel very satisfied that this magnificent project is under way only three months after formalising the agreement with ORT. This is of great importance for the future development of the school. A similar project is planned for Panama Citys Modern Orthodox school, the Albert Einstein Institute, next year. The ORT Panama Committee, which comprises Marianne Granat, Dr Israel Besser, Samuel Fux and Norma Miller, have identified an urgent need for educational and vocational training programmes in a wide range of areas including carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and tourism, as well as advanced technological studies and conventional literacy and numeracy skills. Over the past 70 years, ORT has built a reputation in much of Latin America as a leading provider of education and vocational training. It is heartening to see that the benefits we provide are now reaching more people in the continent, said the Head of World ORTs Coordination Department, Vladimir Dribinskiy. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.