Review of the World ORT General Assembly


10 May 2004 The World ORT General Assembly took place from 1st 3rd May 2004 and was full of historical significance. It took place as ORT prepares to celebrate its 125th birthday, having been established in 1880 in St. Petersburg in Tsarist Russia and it was the first time in the history of ORT that the event was held in the United States. ORT’s connections with the US Jewish communities go back more than 80 years during which time American ORT, Women’s American ORT, ORT Canada and the Federation system have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the organisation’s educational activities. Holding the GA in New York gave World ORT the opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to its many donors and supporters from the North American continent. Link to photographic highlights of the GA. The Opening Ceremony on Saturday evening, 1st May, featured a unique and exciting performance of music and dance by 60 ORT students from Israel, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and France and welcome greetings were given by the Consul General of Israel in New York, Alon Pinkas. 1,000 participants from 35 countries took part in the General Assembly and attended a variety of inspiring sessions and events. Keynote speakers included Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Ambassador Martin Indyk, Former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs and Former US Ambassador to Israel; Stuart A. Schweitzer, Managing Director and Global Markets Strategist JPMorgan Private Bank and JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management; and Lord Young of Graffham, Former UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. General Assembly delegates were addressed by a variety of high calibre speakers from the academic, political and Jewish worlds and received an insight into life within the ORT system by ORT students from Israel, Argentina, CIS, ORT Operations USA and South Africa. Topics covered during the GA included USA, Israel and the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities by Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations; Corporate Philanthropy in the Service of the Global Community by Bess Stephens, Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy & Education, Hewlett-Packard; ORTs Partnership with the North American Federation System and the Joint Distribution Committee by John Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York and Steve Schwager, Executive Vice President of the JDC; and Update on the Status of Recent Holocaust Restitution Litigation by Professor Burt Neuborne, John Norton Pomeray Professor of Law, New York University and Director of Brennan Centre for Justice. During the General Assembly World ORT launched the 1880 Society, an elite society for major donors honouring the year of ORTs establishment in Tsarist Russia. Founding members signed a commemorative scroll and, together with successive members, their names will be inscribed on the World ORT Wall of Honour at ORT Syngalowski in Tel Aviv, ORTs first school in Israel. World ORT President, Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, ended his second four year term and Sir Maurice Hatter, Chairman and owner of IMO Precision Controls Limited, was elected as his successor and will carry World ORT forward until 2008. World ORT 125th Year of Educating for Life at the General Assembly