Robert Singer, former CEO of the World Jewish Congress, was confirmed as Chair of the Board of Trustees of World ORT, the global education network which he previously led as CEO and Director General.
Mr. Singer was appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees of World ORT at the organization’s quadrennial General Assembly on Sunday. He is believed to be the first person born in the Soviet Union to take on the role. Mr. Singer is one of the world’s longest-serving Jewish community leaders, with more than 30 years of experience. As part of the educational initiatives led by Mr. Singer, he was a co-founder of the Na’ale program which brings young people to Israel to study, and a co-founder of the Hephzibah program.
Mr. Singer said: “I wanted to come back to World ORT because I believe education is the key to everything, especially Jewish continuity and Jewish survival. It’s also the key to fighting antisemitism and attacks on the Jewish people.
“This year is the 140th anniversary of ORT and there are very few Jewish organizations that have existed for so long, surviving two world wars and achieving so much. We live in a world with a fast-changing job market, and this is why ORT is more relevant than ever – because we are a hub of new ideas, innovation and adaptability, preparing young people for the world of work.”
World ORT transforms lives through education and reaches 300,000 people in more than 30 countries every year. It combines high-level science and technology education with strengthened Jewish identity, bridging the gap between ability and opportunity.
The organization’s 140th anniversary was due to be acknowledged by holding the assembly in Jerusalem this week with a series of celebratory events. But the Covid-19 pandemic meant the postponement of those celebrations until a later date.
More than 150 people from countries including the United States, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, South Africa and across Europe joined Sunday’s session.
The keynote speaker was William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The session also saw the re-election of Dr. Conrad Giles as World ORT President for a second four-year term. Dr. Giles, a prominent pediatric ophthalmologist based in Michigan, said the years since 2016 had contained “many challenges – and we have met them.”
“This has been a remarkable period in the history of our organization, because of the pandemic,” said Dr. Giles. “But we have positioned ourselves to go forward with confidence and to deliver a quality educational product. Our mission has never changed, and for 140 years ORT has been at the heart of education around the world.”