African Leaders to “Leapfrog the Shackles of Convention”


Pasadena, CA. May 19, 2015 – University of the People ( President Shai Reshef is calling for African leaders to “leapfrog the shackles of convention” in his keynote address at eLearning Africa – a major education conference this week in Addis Ababa, co-organized by the African Union and co-hosted by the Government of Ethiopia.

In order to ensure that African economic growth is sustained by adequately trained young people, President Reshef is urging leaders to bring higher education over the internet to meet the massive demand from its burgeoning youth population. The numbers of potential students in Africa are vastly outpacing currently available facilities, and there is a critical need for smarter online resources to empower young people and provide the engine for continuing economic growth.

University of the People presents a genuine alternative for African high school graduates who luck out of securing limited seats in local universities. “There is no need for the thousands of qualified high school graduates who will be left out of higher education this year to remain shut out,” says President Reshef. “The right to a quality education mustn’t be a matter of one’s geographical or financial situation; Access to education must be an equal and basic right for all, rather than a privilege for the few.”

University of the People believes that access to higher education is a key ingredient in the promotion of financial stability, leading to global economic development and peace. Dedicated to democratizing higher education globally, University of the People employs an online solution for purportedly millions of students who are systematically shut out of higher education worldwide. The University has enrolled students from 150 different countries to date.

University of the People is changing the way online learning is perceived through international accreditation, alliances with prestigious educational institutions, such as New York University (NYU) for accepting students, and partnerships with global corporations (such as Hewlett-Packard for internships and Microsoft for scholarships, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities). The unique focus at the online University is on small classes, peer interaction and personal attention. Online access need only be basic – broadband connections and video capability are not required.

The University offers degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science on a tuition-free basis. Students only pay for assessment fees of $100, meaning that a student can study towards an accredited Bachelor’s Degree for as little as $4000.

Africa, take heed – young adults in need of education can be serviced with the delivery of quality education at low-cost. It is the viable solution to conquering inequalities in educational attainment and is available at everyone’s fingertips.

About University of the People:

University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. Using open-source technology, Open Educational Resources, and the assistance of academic volunteers worldwide, UoPeople is designed to provide access to university studies for qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal or personal constraints.

UoPeople offers Associate and Bachelor degree programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. Founded in 2009, the University has enrolled students from over 150 different countries and is supported by a network of over 3,000 dedicated volunteers.

The institution has gained the widespread support of leading academics from leading universities around the world. Its Council of Presidents, chaired by New York University President John Sexton, includes Oxford Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Sir Colin Lucas, U.S. Former Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, among others. UoPeople is supported by The Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Hewlett Foundation, and companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Western Union, Estee Lauder and many more.

About UoPeople President Shai Reshef:

Founder and President of University of the People, Shai Reshef is an educational entrepreneur, with over 25 years of experience in the international education market. President Reshef has been widely recognized for his work with UoPeople. In 2010, the Huffington Post named him the ‘Ultimate Game Changer in Education,’ and WIRED included him in its list of the ‘50 people who will change the world’. He was named one of Fast Company’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ as well as a ‘Top Global Thinker’ by Foreign Policy Magazine. Before founding University of the People, Reshef directed KIT e-learning, the first online university in Europe. Shai Reshef’s TED Talk has reached over 1 million viewers since August 2014, making it one of the highest viewed TED Talks on Education. More at

Contact: Sarah Vanunu, Director of Media Relations
University of the People
US: 626-219-8402
[email protected]