26 September 2008 World ORT Board of Trustees’ inaugural meeting An impressive variety of skills were brought to bear on the critical issues before World ORT at the first meeting of the Board of Trustees. The 15 senior lay leaders from 10 countries gathered in New York for a long day of intensive and serious discussion and examination of World ORT’s situation and prospects. With skills ranging from conflict resolution, law and accountancy to business, politics and education, the Trustees were able to explore issues constructively and expertly. ‘Our different skill sets mean that we come with different through processes which helps us to look at various options,’ said World ORT Treasurer Judy Menikoff. ‘ World ORT Board of Trustees member, Moti Dotan, the Mayor of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, his wife Dnina, with Mauricio Merikanskas, Chairman of World ORT, and his wife Helen at ORT Americas reception for Diamond Ladder and Major Gift members. The Board of Trustees lies at the heart of the radical reorganisation of World ORT which was approved by the General Assembly in Warsaw this year. Replacing the Executive Committee, it is a fully accountable body which meets four times a year to manage World ORT’s affairs, including approving the annual budget, reviewing budgetary trends in line with the strategic plan and appointing expert committees of lay leaders and professionals. It also directly oversees the working of the Director General, World ORT’s most senior professional. ‘The lay leadership has been empowered,’ Ms Menikoff said. ‘It’s the product of [World ORT President] Jean [de Gunzburg]’s vision. From what I could see the Board of Trustees will operate in the way that the new constitution and by-laws wish it to.’ Trustees delved into how the decline in the value of the US dollar and the economic problems in the Western world would affect World ORT’s income and financial management in the coming year. This, in turn, led to an exploration of how World ORT could increase total income to meet the ever growing needs of its client groups. In addition, Mr Singer presented his update on World ORT’s situation and prospects, and discussed the Jewish Agency for Israel’s funding cut for ORT operations in the Former Soviet Unions. The level of responsibility we now have has changed the nature of the discussions, Ms Menikoff said. If something were to go wrong we are the ones who would be held responsible so we are now much more in-depth in the way we look at things. This really has been a valuable meeting and what we discussed has meant we have to work harder on returning home. Mr Singer praised the resolve with which World ORT’s Trustees were facing up to the challenge of their new role. For the first time, senior lay leaders are fully representing the interests of the global network and not of their national organisations,’ he said. ‘I believe that the Trustees will bring a very significant and positive change in the thought and decision making process within World ORT.