UK World ORT
ORT is the largest Jewish education and training organization in the world with activities in more than 100 countries with current operations in Israel, the CIS and Baltic States, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
The aim of ORT’s educational programmes, throughout the world, is to give its students the best possible preparation for their future. This preparation includes education to help them become citizens who will make a positive contribution to their society and focused training to enable them to undertake worthwhile and fulfilling careers.
Jewish communities across Europe have long identified the need for more young people to become involved in community-building initiatives on a local and regional level. The purpose of the project is to identify, enthuse and nurture the leadership potential of a selected group of 16-18 year olds to encourage them to participate in and ultimately lead community development activities for European Diaspora communities. In particular, the programme addresses the needs of smaller Jewish communities across Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
Students with leadership potential from Jewish communities across Europe are encouraged to apply through an online registration process, followed by interviews to identify 30-40 most suitable candidates for the programme.
When regional Jewish population fall below a “critical mass”, it naturally becomes more difficult to provide an adequate communal, social, educational and religious infrastructure that can ensure community cohesion and sustainability. The will may be there, but lack of resources and, more importantly, lack of leadership hamper development. Good quality leaders can motivate and galvanize their communities and help them to overcome many obstacles – including limited availability of resources. They can also advocate on behalf of their constituents and provide skilled representation within their host societies.
An essential component of the training programme is the development of participants’ understanding of the modern State of Israel and its connection with Diaspora communities. The aim is to foster an appreciation of the symbiotic relationship between the two: Jews in Diaspora need to be able to articulate
Israel’s case in the face of often hostile public opinion, while the Jewish residents of Israel need to recognize the fundamental bonds that link Jewish people throughout the world.
The dedicated website of the Future Leaders Programme (futureleaders.ort.org) includes relevant information about the programme, contact information and links to partner organizations.
Orientation Seminar in London (2nd-9th December 2012)
The seminar program contains meetings and activities to help inspire participants, clarify their understanding of and to develop practical skills to equip them for local communal leadership. During the seminar they will also expand and develop their knowledge of Israel, the Hebrew language as well as the dynamics of Jewish communities. The seminar consists of lectures, workshops, visits, encounters with community organizations and youth movements, participant presentations, as well as social and cultural activities.
An interactive course of online activities will help the Future Leaders to hone skills that they began developing in London and the Jewish knowledge that will be relevant for their community activities both currently and for the future.
European Parliament event in Strasbourg or Brussels (14th-17th April or 21th-24th April 2013)
A special a 4-day summit in Brussels or Strasbourg is scheduled for April 2013 during which the newly-formed network of Future Leaders will have the opportunity to meet with the previous year’s cohort of participants. Here they will have the chance to share experiences, engage in some deep debates and challenging workshops as well as further strengthening the Future Leaders network – building the sustainability of the project and increasing the likelihood of meaningful change in their communities.
Israel Summer School
The programme provides a unique Israel experience – it will take participants on a journey through Jewish history from the era of the biblical book of Judges to modern day Israel. The programme will culminate in an intensive two-week summer school in Israel, during which the participants will be involved in intensive studies of their Jewish history and heritage, meet young social entrepreneurs behind some innovative projects in Israeli society, explore their relationship with the Jewish State, further their leadership skills as well as enjoying social and cultural experiences, including meeting and getting to know some of their peers from Israeli schools.