22 October 2007 ORT Mexico to host groundbreaking education congress ORT Mexico has announced that it is to hold a congress for educators from across Latin America. It is believed to be the first time such a pan-Latin American education event has been held. The congress on educational innovation and technology was announced at the home of the Israeli Ambassador to Mexico, Yosef Livne, before a crowd of leading members of Mexican society. Among them was Mexicos First Lady, Margarita Zavala de Calderon. Mrs Zavala was so impressed that she promised to inaugurate the three-day congress, which will be held in Mexico City in February. Mrs Zavala is making a great effort to support quality education in Mexico, said ORT Mexico National Director Jimmy Salinas. In her address she told us how she understood the importance of education to Mexico and thanked ORT for its fundamental role in instituting high educational standards through our projects. Also at the Ambassadors residence was Maria Elena Juarez de Beristain, the first woman to be President of the Board of Charitable Trusts of Mexico City in its 105-year history. In her address, Mrs Juarez stressed the importance of teacher training to the overall success of any education system. Mr Salinas explained that the needs of educators were often overlooked an oversight that next years congress sought to address. We find that governments and big companies always look to support education from the students side, for example by providing scholarships or new equipment, Mr Salinas said. But no-one is taking care of the teachers. We at ORT Mexico recognise that teachers are a critical part of the educational process and so we thought it would be a good idea to do something beneficial for the teachers, principals and school psychologists. To that end, more than 2,000 educational professionals from across Latin America are due to attend the ORT Mexico congress where, enjoying the benefits of a common language, they can share experiences and learn about new pedagogical techniques from around the world. Mexicos First Lady, Margarita Zavala de Calderon, with ORT Mexico staff. Among the keynote speakers is Dr Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The son of Jewish refugees from Germany, Dr Gardner is recognised as being one of the worlds most influential public intellectuals. He has written more than 20 books and is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. Another keynote speaker is Dr Juan Prawda, a consultant in the social sector, who for 15 years was an education specialist at the World Bank focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean. The author of six books, Dr Prawda has held professorships in Mexico and the USA. However, congress attendees will also have a choice of 20 workshops and 16 conferences in which to participate as well as a showcase of school supplies and educational tools by international companies and a book fair. Such an event has not happened in Latin America before as far as we know, Mr Salinas said. ORT Mexico is emphasising the importance of teacher training and recognising the value of bringing international expertise to bear on our continents struggling educational standards. ORT Mexico, which was founded in 1935, provides educational programmes for Jews and non-Jews in Mexico as well as funding for ORT projects internationally. In 1998, it inaugurated the Max and Amparo Shein Technology and Science Resource Centre which provides IT and advanced teaching courses to schools, universities and industry. Last year it opened its state-of-the-art Media Training Centre used by Jewish schools and young adults in Mexico City. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has helped more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish since its foundation in 1880.