Israeli named one of 12 world innovators by HuffPost

Based on three million votes by readers for 100 world "game changers," California-based Shai Reshef wins 12th spot for educational initiative.

October 22, 2010 09:41
2 minute read.
Israeli educational innovator Shai Reshef

311_shai reshef. (photo credit: The Rosen Group)

Late Thursday, Israeli educational executive Shai Reshef was awarded the  twelfth spot in a poll answered by three million readers of popular American news blog site Huffington Post as one of the "Ultimate 12 Game Changers," people who readers considered to be global innovation leaders that have significantly changed the way readers live or look at the world.

The poll began in September 2010,  with a list of a 100 innovators by Huffington Post as visionaries "who change[d] the way we look at the world and the way we live in it."  Other individuals selected by readers, included former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, American educator Geoffrey Canada, US consumer advocate and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi and Apple executive and founder Steve Jobs.

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Reshef was honored in the 12th spot for "taking the world to school" by creating in 2009 the "University of the People" a site based in Pasadena, California that streams lectures and class assignments to people around the world to provide them the opportunity to take college-level classes on the web for less than $100 and, ultimately, earn an accredited degree. Reshef's site currently has 500 students from 100 countries meeting and discussing topics on the site's online forums, according to Huffington Post.

University of the People is currently preparing communication centers in Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, Haiti, Liberia and the Palestinian territories to provide internet access and higher education to people around the world who might not otherwise have it.

According to the University of the People website (, Reshef  also serves as a high-level adviser for United Nations’ Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (GAID). In Aug. 2010, Reshef was granted membership to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) for his work with University of the People.

Reshef originally entered the education field in 1989 when he joined the Israeli test-prep company Kidum in 1989, where he served as chairman before leaving in 2005. With Reshef at the helm, Kidum became the largest education-services company in Israel with yearly revenues over $25 million at the time it was acquired by in 2005 by Kaplan.

When asked to describe his new foray into a non-profit educational initiative by Fast Company, Reshef was quoted as saying "'I've made enough money, it's time to give back."

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