Washington Ideas Forum

The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute and Newseum invited me to attend the Washington Ideas Forum. So last week I traveled to Washington, D.C. for two days of conversation with leaders from government, business, education, and the media.

This year’s theme was “connecting the leaders of today with the ideas of tomorrow,” which is quite fitting for a place like University of the People, where we are giving the youth tools today to become leaders of tomorrow.

I was surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds and biggest newsmakers: Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), John Sexton (President of New York University), David Axelrod (Assistant to President Obama and Senior Advisor), Craig Newmark (Founder of Craigslist), Arne Duncan (Secretary of the US Department of Education) and Spike Lee (American Film Director)—to name a few.

During one session, we discussed the fate of the American Middle Class and the 21st century workforce. I was interested to hear the resounding agreement that affordable higher education is critical to closing the gap between technological innovation and the education of the work-force.

When you get together in a group, what ideas do you discuss?


About President Shai Reshef

Starting in 1989, Shai Reshef served as chairman of the Kidum Group, a test preparation company, which he sold in 2005 to Kaplan, one of the world’s largest education companies. While chairman of Kidum, he built an online university affiliated with the University of Liverpool, enrolling students from more than 100 countries; that business was sold to Laureate, another large for-profit education company, in 2004. A vessel for universal higher education, UoPeople has the enormous potential to function as a global stimulus package, reaching even the most remote and poorest places on earth. Our ultimate mission is to democratize higher education and, if the past two years are any indication, this is not merely a pipe dream.
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