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Clinton Global Initiative Advances University of the People Pledge to Democratize Higher Education in Haiti
Sep 20, 2010 (11:09 AM EDT)

PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the support of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), University of the People (UoPeople) today announced its commitment to provide access to higher education in Haiti. The tuition-free online institution will provide university-aged, Haitian students with the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education, allowing them to improve their own standard of living, as well as that of their families and communities.

Over a three year period, UoPeople will accept 250 qualified Haitian students to study online with their peers around the world, utilizing the institution's resources to earn an Associate's Degree in either Business Administration or Computer Science.

"This commitment is designed to elevate and empower the youth population in Haiti, many of whom currently reside in refugee camps and would not otherwise have the means to pursue higher education," said Shai Reshef, Founder & President, UoPeople. "By bringing educational resources and encouraging students to study in their home country, we are not only helping individual project participants, but providing them with the vital skill set to rebuild their country while also raising the standards for higher education within Haiti."

In partnership with the Haitian Connection Network and World Computer Exchange, UoPeople will establish learning centers in Port–au-Prince. The learning centers will be equipped with computers and high speed Internet connection to enable students to have access to UoPeople's online courses. UoPeople will ensure that a support staff is in place to facilitate the smooth operation of the learning centers.

"Haiti's higher education system was severely impacted by January's earthquake," added Reshef. "Twenty-eight of Haiti's 32 major universities were completely destroyed and the four remaining universities were severely damaged. UoPeople is helping to address a critical need and will arm the country with educated minds that will aid in rebuilding the country."

About University of the People

Founded by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef in January 2009, University of the People (UoPeople; is the world's first tuition-free, online academic institution. Based on the principles of e-learning and peer-to-peer teaching, coupled with open-source technology and courseware, UoPeople is designed to provide universal access to college studies, despite geographic and economic constraints. Enrollment is currently open for Term 2 of the 2010-2011 academic year.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship,, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit

SOURCE University of the People