Delegates from across the globe will be convening next week in Israel for the World ORT General Assembly (GA) – their first in-person gathering after a two-and-a-half year hiatus. The event will include a celebratory dinner, speakers and panelists in three different locations.
Dr. Conrad Giles, World ORT President, will open the event at the Renaissance Hotel in Tel Aviv. “Since our 140th anniversary in 2020 was cancelled due to covid, we’re overjoyed to be back and seeing everyone after a very challenging, yet extremely fruitful, two years,” Giles said.
The full, three-day program consists of exciting, eye-opening presentations, as well as panel discussions featuring World ORT students from across the spectrum of Israeli society. In addition to video greetings from Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai, the keynote speaker, will touch upon World ORT’s incomparable contribution to the country, providing education and teaching skills that enable students, many of them disadvantaged, to lead successful, meaningful lives.
Providing a peek into one of World ORT’s international programs, Ellis Falkof, the president of ORT South Africa, will relate how students from the underdeveloped township of Soweto went on to win second place in a prestigious high-tech competition and in the process, gained knowledge and confidence for their future.
A roster of speakers will describe the expansion of World ORT’s footprint in Latin America and how, building on decades of success in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Uruguay, it plans to welcome a new affiliate school in Costa Rica.
One of the lessons learnt from COVID-19 and its fallout is the need to support students’ mental health and well-being. GA participants will hear from Daniel Tysman, head of World ORT’s Education Department, together with other contributors how World ORT is taking those insights to the next level.
On the following days, the GA will move to two centers of World ORT operations in Israel’s periphery – Kiryat Yam and the Kfar Silver youth village. At the new D. Dan and Betty Kahn STEAM Center at the Rodman School in Kiryat Yam, Mayor David Even-Tzur will expound on the ripple effect World ORT is creating in his northern city. Participants will have the chance to interact with World ORT students, and see firsthand how, from kindergarten age, they receive a head start enabling them to gain the necessary skills and knowledge so that they can pursue a successful career in their area of interest.
The following day, the delegation will head due south to the Kfar Silver youth village located just eight miles from the Gaza border. The village caters to youths from challenging backgrounds and situations, most of whom are new immigrants or from immigrant families. Kfar Silver CEO Amos Gofer and Dr. Moshe Leiba, World ORT’s Kadima Mada’s chief pedagogical and R&D officer, will provide an overview of the village’s life-changing role on students – including a recent contingent of refugee teens from Ukraine. Here, too, participants will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with students and witness firsthand the incredible work World ORT is doing to provide hope and prosperity.
Dan Green, who became Director General and CEO of World ORT shortly before the onset of the pandemic, expressed his delight at the opportunity for the World ORT family to get together, receive updates regarding global operations and celebrate the many successes of those operations.