Excitement as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat confirm their presence at May’s event.
Amid the sumptuous surroundings of the David Citadel Hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from Jerusalem’s Old City, two of Israel’s finest political personalities will share their insights with hundreds of delegates and professionals from five continents.
The GA is the ‘parliament’ of the ORT family where attendees discuss and decide upon the path that World ORT must take in order to meet the dramatic social and economic changes affecting our operations – rapid technological change, a highly competitive fundraising environment, and geo-political upheavals among others.
And it’s where ‘ORTists’ meet up with old friends, make new ones and network with others who are just as passionate about ‘Educating for Life’ as they are.
The presence of such distinguished people as President Rivlin and Mayor Barkat sets the tone for a General Assembly at which we will examine critical items such as Vision 2020, a programme for World ORT’s future development based on extensive research into the aspirations of our staff and supporters. But we’ll also be celebrating the growth and impact of our operations in Israel in the 10 years since the founding of World ORT Kadima Mada.
World ORT President Mauricio Merikanskas.
Our training and education of Holocaust Survivors and other olim contributed to the successful re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Now, World ORT Kadima Mada’s raising of the quality and attractiveness of science- and maths-related education in underprivileged communities is contributing to the continued success of Israel as a high tech power.
Meanwhile, ORT national organisations in five continents are providing ever greater educational opportunities, supporting the viability of communities which face increasing isolation and hostility while also equipping individuals with desirable and transportable skills.
The General Assembly, a key event for World ORT and its beneficiaries
“Our mission of enabling the disadvantaged to lift themselves out of poverty takes place against a backdrop of slow and uncertain economic growth, armed conflict, and social tensions. Our organization has weathered situations like this – and worse – over its 136-year history but it can only do so now if we combine our talents and experience in a common cause. The future starts with all of us together at the GA in the historic heart of our nation,” said World ORT Director General and CEO Shmuel Sisso.
Mr Sisso will deliver a comprehensive report on World ORT’s status at the GA, one of several major business items that delegates will address. Another will be the Strategic Plan, which maps out how the organisation can navigate its way through the challenges of the coming four years.
But, as the saying goes, all work and no play… so there will also be recreational opportunities at the GA. The Old City’s magnificent Tower of David will be the venue for a Gala event featuring superb al fresco dining and spectacular entertainment. And delegates can arrange personalised walking tours around the city with our specially selected tour operator.
And in a combination of business with pleasure, one day has been set aside for delegates to travel to World ORT-affiliated schools and programmes – because the best way to see how World ORT works is by seeing the impact for yourself.
President Reuven Rivlin, a supporter of minority rights
An 8th generation Jerusalemite, President Reuven Rivlin is well known as a supporter of minority rights. He also speaks out on the importance of maths and other core subjects for the well-being of Haredi and other communities as well as for the country as a whole.
Congratulating Apple CEO Tim Cook on the opening of the new Apple centre in Herzliya last year, for example, President Rivlin noted the importance of bringing education and technology to communities in the periphery.
“True innovation can only result from full access to education for all, regardless of race, religion, or sex,” he said.
Through its programmatic arm in Israel, World ORT Kadima Mada, World ORT educates and trains Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis, both religious and secular, so President Rivlin’s insights are of particular interest.
Mayor Nir Barkat, a “public entrepreneur” dedicated to education
Mayor Nir Barkat was born and raised in the Israeli capital. A successful career as a high-tech entrepreneur led to philanthropic investments in the city’s education system and a political career.
Elected as Jerusalem’s mayor in 2008 he describes himself as a “public entrepreneur”, applying the methods he used in business to implement change in the city.
Mayor Barkat’s dedication to education prompted him to retain the city’s Education Portfolio in which capacity he has overhauled the municipal education system and reversed declining enrollment figures.
“Education is an excellent tool for bringing people closer together and we will continue to invest in an education system that enables students to have the tools necessary for a successful future,” he said at the opening of World ORT’s YOUniversity for Arab youth in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina.