University of the People

Shai Reshef (UoPeople)



THE HUMAN IMPACT: The challenges refugees, migrants and other vulnerable groups face are great, but through education, it is possible for their lives to resume and improve. UoPeople offers the unique opportunity for them to advance their education through free scholarships and cultivate occupational skills in order to rebuild their futures.

THE NUMBERS: The University has enrolled students from 170 different countries and is supported by a network of over 4,000 dedicated volunteers worldwide. It has partnered with Yale ISP law School for research; New York University (NYU) to accept students; Microsoft for scholarships and employment opportunities and Hewlett-Packard for general support and scholarships for women. UoPeople is currently creating a scholarship program for 500 refugees.

HOW DOES IT WORK? With University of the People, Shai Reshef provides the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. Using open-source technology and Open Educational Resources, 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’s degree programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. The institution has gained the widespread support of leading academics from leading universities around the world, e.g. New York University President John Sexton and Nobel Laureate Torsten N. Wiesel. UoPeople has created a special scholarship program for refugees and asylum seekers who have recently arrived in Europe, in order to help them enroll in higher education. Building on their experience with providing refugee assistance programs, they are helping refugees improve their personal circumstances by continuing or beginning university education and achieving better opportunities for employment and social integration. This program, open to at least 500 students this year to enroll in Business Administration or Computer Science, will enable students to continue their studies and qualify for their chosen degree regardless of if they remain in their host countries, relocate again, or return home.

WHO LEADS IT? Shai Reshef is an educational entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the international education market. Reshef has been widely recognized for his work with UoPeople, including being named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business; selected by The Huffington Post as the Ultimate Game Changer in Education; nominated as one of Wired Magazine’s 50 People Changing the World; and selected as a Top Global Thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine. Reshef’s TED Talk has reached over 5 million viewers.

HOW HELLO EUROPE IS HELPING: Hello Europe has helped provide opportunities and connections for UoPeople to develop specific programs for refugees in Europe, and continue to scale by connecting with potential funders, media connections, and partner organizations.

WHAT THEY NEED NOW: To build out their scholarship program for refugees, UoPeople is looking for further connections to Media & PR contacts, Financial supporters, and NGOs.