April 24, 2007 Presidents Prize for ORT St Petersburg Russias highest award for innovation and excellence in education has been presented to the ORT de Gunzburg School in St Petersburg. World ORT Deputy President Dr Jean de Gunzburg a direct descendant of Baron Horace de Gunzburg, who co-founded ORT in St Petersburg 127 years ago said he was delighted by the schools success. Dr de Gunzburg, whose family is a major supporter of the school, said: This is absolutely fantastic. It shows the quality of work that ORT does. Its a wonderful recognition of all the effort that ORT has put into its education network since it returned to Russia in 1992. And its a tribute to all the ORT professionals who have worked so hard to make this possible. The value of the Presidents Prize far outweighs the 1 million roubles ($38,000) in cash it brings to the school, said ORT de Gunzburg Deputy Director Gregory Vodopyan. St Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia and boasts some of the best schools in the country, some of them with long, acclaimed histories, Mr Vodopyan said. Yet after just 12 years of ORT involvement, the de Gunzburg school has come first out of all them. The magnitude of this result can be compared to a post-war university outranking Oxford or Harvard. A class at ORT de Gunzburg, St Petersburg. The independent committees decision to award the Presidents Prize to ORT de Gunzburg was influenced by the success the ORT students have enjoyed in national and international competitions. Another factor was the innovative approach to education taken by the ORT school, in particular its use of the project method by which students achieve in-depth knowledge of subjects thanks to multi-disciplinary projects. This system is new to Russias education system outside the ORT network, said Mr Vodopyan. The ORT de Gunzburg School caters for 420 students between the ages of six and 17. The schools curriculum combines the educational requirements of the Russian authorities with cutting edge technological education and a Jewish syllabus. After an enforced absence, World ORT returned to Russia in 1991. It now coordinates operations in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan 53 projects in 32 locations serving more than 30,000 people. 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.