Shai Reshef

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Shai Reshef
Shai Reshef.jpg
BornSeptember 11, 1955 (1955-09-11) (age 64)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (MA)
Known forFounder & President, University of the People

Shai Reshef (Hebrew: שי רשף‎; born September 11, 1955) is an Israeli[1] educational entrepreneur, founder and president of University of the People, the world's first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university.[2] His TED Talk, entitled "An ultra-low-cost college degree", has been viewed more than 6.2 million times.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Reshef earned an MA in Chinese Politics from the University of Michigan.[when?][4]


From 1989 to 2005, Reshef served as Chief Executive Officer and then Chairman of the Kidum Group, a for-profit educational services and test preparation company.[1] Reshef joined Kidum in 1989 when it was a single product company with revenues of $100,000. Under his leadership, Kidum grew to become a company with annual revenues in excess of $25 million, with over 1,000 employees and 50,000 students a year. In 2005, he sold the company to Kaplan, Inc., one of the world's largest education companies and a subsidiary of the Washington Post.[5]

Between 2001 and 2004, while continuing as the chairman of Kidum, Reshef lived in the Netherlands where he chaired KIT eLearning, a subsidiary of Kidum. KIT became the eLearning partner of the University of Liverpool in 1999, and was the first online university outside of the United States, providing MBA and M.Sc. degrees in Information Technology. In 2004, the company was acquired by Laureate Education, Inc. and changed its name to Laureate Online Education. It maintains its partnership with the University of Liverpool under its new name.[6]

In January 2009, Reshef founded University of the People (UoPeople), a non-profit, accredited online academic institution that seeks to increase the availability of higher education by offering tuition-free degrees.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Reshef is married and has four children. He lives in Pasadena, California.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lewin, Tamar (January 25, 2009). "Israeli Entrepreneur Plans a Free Global University That Will Be Online Only". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "University of the People – The world's first tuition-free online university". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  3. ^ a b An ultra-low-cost college degree March 2014
  4. ^ Anderson, Nate (February 1, 2009). "Internet connection + English = college degree". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  5. ^ "Kaplan to Acquire Kidum, the leading provider of test preparation in Israel" (Press release). Kaplan, Inc. August 3, 2005. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  6. ^ Laureate Online Education and K.I.T. eLearning B.V., the eLearning partner of the University of Liverpool, announce name change. (press release) November 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-04.
  7. ^ Israeli Entrepreneur Plans a Free Global University That Will Be Online Only. New York Times. January 26, 2009
  8. ^ People of 2009: Shai Reshef OneWorld.Net
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ UN announces launch of world's first tuition-free, online university May 19, 2009
  11. ^ Representative From University of the People to Ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell August 17, 2010
  12. ^ Clinton Global Initiative Advances University of the People Pledge to Democratize Higher Education in Haiti September 10, 2010
  13. ^ Who Is The Ultimate Game Changer In Education? Huffington Post September 15, 2010
  14. ^ PNB Announcements at Washington Summit May 31, 2011
  15. ^ The Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world Wired Magazine, January 24, 2012
  16. ^ The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers Archived 2014-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Foreign Policy Magazine, December 2012
  17. ^ 100 Most Compassionate Business Leaders: #8 Shai Reshef
  18. ^ Prince's Prize for Innovative Philanthropy 2016

External links[edit]