The Anieres II World ORT Engineering/Technology Scholarship Programme is inspired by the extraordinary impact of the residential Central Training Institute for the Training of World ORT Instructors, which operated at Anieres, near Geneva. In the more than 30 years following its opening in 1949, the Institut Central ORT, as it was known in French, trained thousands of competitively selected students from 30 countries. Hundreds of graduates became instructors in ORT programmes around the world while others made significant contributions to industry, research and the economic progress of developing countries.
Anieres II, for which World ORT will start recruiting in December for the commencement of studies in September 2013, will provide a special residential education programme in Israel for at least 500 teenagers from low socio-economic backgrounds – many of them from overseas – taken in 10 annual intakes of up to 60 students.
The students will enjoy a special residential programme for the final three years (four years in the case of those from overseas) at school, including extra-curricular studies at the internationally renowned Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and, if necessary, ulpan. Those who make the grade in final exams will study engineering at the Technion for four years with the added benefit that they will receive academic credits, which can be applied towards their degree, for all courses successfully completed in the high school component of the programme.
“The involvement of the Technion represents an important improvement on the previous programme because of its exceptional quality,” said the graduate of the original Anieres Institute whose $15 million donation has made the new programme possible. “I wish I could be in this programme.”
The new programme was presented to the donor, who became known affectionately as “Mr Anonymous” during his many years of giving through ORT America, after months of groundwork laid by World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer. Mr Singer’s meetings with Israeli officials and senior educators at the Technion and other colleges have resulted in the Jewish State contributing $18 million; the remaining $2 million will be paid by the students.
“The Israel Defence Forces have promised that most of the students who meet the Technion’s admission requirements will be allowed to defer their national service and become part of the ‘Academic Reserve’,” said Mr Singer. “Each student will be nurtured and supported through a process of growth and achievement showing that no matter how challenging their background they not only have the right to dream big but also the opportunity to realise their aspirations.”
He added: “No matter how much oil or gas is discovered off its coast, Israel’s greatest resource is her people. A child who is denied the chance to succeed because of poverty suffers an injustice but the country as a whole suffers a terrible loss. This programme will not only identify talented Israeli kids but also attract similarly gifted teenagers to come to Israel and contribute to the country’s continued strength and progress while carving out good careers for themselves.”
Shelley Fagel, President of ORT America, knows the donor personally.
“He feels that studying at Anieres turned his life around,” Ms Fagel said. “He wants to give back to the organisation that generously and unconditionally offered him an engineering education. His motivations are so pure: he hopes that graduates of Anieres II will be successful, give back to ORT, the State of Israel and to Jewish communities, and so make the world a better place.”
World ORT President Dr Jean de Gunzburg paid tribute to the donor’s extraordinary generosity.
“We would not be able to thank him enough for what he has done; this is an extraordinary gift not only because of its size but because of the use to which it will be put,” Dr de Gunzburg said. “He graduated from the Anieres Institute and the education he received there enabled him to build a very successful company; it was a stepping stone to success. And now he wants others to have the same opportunities through this absolutely fantastic programme. It’s wonderful.”