Five Israelis named ‘top global thinkers’

Among the award winners, educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef is commended for his online university that allows students to study for free.

Educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef– founder of the University of the People — is one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, according to Foreign Policy magazine. The 57-year-old businessman started an online university that gives students around the world free access to education.

“Education, just like democracy, should be a right, not a privilege,” Reshef told ISRAEL21c in an earlier interview. “With a few keystrokes, UoP takes the concept of social networking and applies it to academia, providing a global chalkboard for all students.”

Students from China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Mali, Peru, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan and other countries can log on to University of the People from their home countries and walk away with a recognized bachelor’s degree.

More than 3,000 professors from the world’s most important universities volunteer their time as lecturers and tutors on the site.

“I believe that if you educate one person, you can change a life; if you educate many, you can change the world,” Reshef said in a recent lecture.

Other Israelis on the Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list for 2012 are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak, former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and former GSS Director Yuval Diskin.

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.