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To work for the advancement of Jewish and other people through training and education. To provide communities wherever they are, with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with the complexities and uncertainties of their environment.
ORT is one of the largest non-governmental education and training organizations in the world with past and present activities in over 100 countries. It is a private, non-profit organization, which meets the educational, and manpower training needs of contemporary society and trains about 200,000 students annually. It maintains a non-sectarian, non-political position in its education and training provision.
ORT was founded in St Petersburg in Tsarist Russia in 1880 to provide employable skills for Russia’s impoverished Jewish people. The letters O-R-T form the Russian acronym for "Obschestvo Remeslenovo i zemledelcheskovo Trouda", meaning “The Organization for the Distribution of Artisanal and Agricultural Skills”. This reflects the conditions that prevailed when ORT was conceived, when the acquisition of agricultural and manual skills were the key to employment.
Since that time, the skills taught by ORT have evolved in step with technology. Today, in place of manual skills and trades, ORT teaches its students about computers, telecommunications and their applications.
ORT builds schools, develops curricula, sets up laboratories, develops high-tech educational systems, produces hardware, software and courseware and other teaching aids and publications. It conducts its own educational research and acts as consultant to many other institutions, including government bodies.
ORT has consultative status for information and education purposes with UNESCO, accredited at the ILO (International Labor Organization), UN DPI-NGO member. ORT is a founding member of ICVA (International Council of Voluntary Agencies).
ORT is proud of its history and roots, and that it still carries the moto of "Educating for Life" into today.
Today World ORT activities span East & West Europe, North & Latin America, Africa, Asia and the State of Israel. World ORT's main administrative offices are based in London (GB).