The leadership of World ORT consists of truly dedicated lay leaders and professionals who give their time, experience and expertise for the benefit of ORT, and whose commitment is a continuous inspiration.

Through the World ORT Governing Bodies, lay leaders and professional staff control, administrate and operate the ever-increasing scope of ORT activities worldwide, and ensure that the highest standards of transparency and accountability are met throughout the organization.

The most senior governing body is the Board of Trustees, composed of up to 16 people from around the world. The board meets quarterly and is responsible for World ORT’s policies, programs and budget. 

View the full list of committee members.



Mauricio Merikanskas became President of World ORT in 2014 after serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees for six years and prior to that as Chair of the Executive Committee, all roles to which he applied his wide commercial and educational experience.  A noted businessman , Mr Merikanskas trained as an engineer before completing a Master’s in Industrial Management at the Carnegie Institute of Technology as a Fulbright scholar. Honorary President of ORT México, he served as ORT Mexico’s president for 12 years during which time the organisation’s achievements and profile went from strength to strength. 



Dr Conrad Giles was confirmed as Deputy President of World ORT in 2013. Previously he was national vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal and president of the Council of Jewish Federations; he was part of the team that put them together to form United Jewish Communities, forerunner of today’s Jewish Federations of North America. His relationship with ORT stretches back more than 40 years to his presidency of Detroit’s Men’s ORT chapter. He also served as a vice president of the American ORT Federation and as a member of the Executive Committees of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Since 2007 he has been assisting World ORT’s fundraising team in the United States by acting as a liaison with the Federation system.



Dr Jean de Gunzburg became Chair of the Board of Trustees in May 2014 after serving for six years as President of World ORT. Prior to this he served as Deputy President for four years and also chaired the Strategic Taskforce Committee which oversaw the successful streamlining of ORT’s governance. Dr de Gunzburg is a descendant of Baron Horace Gunzburg, one of the three founders of ORT in St Petersburg in 1880.



Prominent businessman Dario Werthein has been a supporter of ORT locally in his home country of Argentina as well as globally for many years. Along with his family, Dario Werthein has contributed greatly to one of the network’s flagship schools in Buenos Aires and as Secretary of World ORT he brings his business acumen, experience and enthusiasm to the organisation



Shelley Fagel has been a devoted supporter of World ORT for more than three decades. Her service and achievement on the national and international level include Chair of the World ORT Next Generation Initiative and Chair of the World ORT Allocations Committee as well as other leading roles. Having visited most of World ORT's programs in Russia, France, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Italy, Cuba and Israel, Shelley contributes unique insight into World ORT's operations and mission.


Shmuel Sisso

Shmuel Sisso served as the highly successful Mayor of Kiryat Yam in Northern Israel since 2003. Previously, he was the Israeli Consul-General (holding the rank of Ambassador) in New York. As a qualified lawyer, he has also run his own law firm and spent some years as a partner in a New York firm.


Jon Benjamin

Jon joined World ORT from the Board of Deputies of British Jews where, as Chief Executive, he led the organization representing the Jewish Community in the UK. In that capacity he served as a principal spokesman and advocate for the Community in its relations with government, the media and wider society. Born and raised in London, Jon practised law before joining the not-for-profit sector, becoming National Director of British ORT in 1999, a post he held for five years.

World ORT Board Members

Board of Trustees
Gary Alexander, Canada
Moti Dotan, Israel
Robert  Equey, Switzerland
Prefet Lucien Kalfon, France
Dr. Emil Kalo, Bulgaria
Efim Kogan, Russia
Mark Mishon, UK
Arthur Silber, Canada
George Gruenberg, Peru

Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee
Martin Behr, South Africa

Chair of the Finance Committee
Peter Klauber, UK

Chair Development & Allocations Committee
Judy Menikoff, USA

Chair of the Constitution & Bylaws Committee
Dorene Berger, USA

Chair of the Academic Advisory Council
Prof. Dan Shechtman


Senior Professional Leadership

Director General and CEO
Shmuel Sisso

Chief Operating Officer
Jon Benjamin

Chief Finance Officer
Steve West

Chief Program Officer
Vladimir Dribinskiy

World ORT Kadima Mada Chief Executive Officer
Avi Ganon

Head of the World ORT Representative Office for CIS, Central Asia, Caucasian States & Baltic States
David Benish

World ORT Representative in North America
Harry Nadler

World ORT Representative in Latin America
Isidoro Gorodischer

World ORT Representative in France
Guy Seniak