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stopping there. We will continue for as long as there is a demand for what we supply. But we realize that we have not reached a point where even a frac- tion of potential students know about us. I have to assume that people in refugee camps in the Sudan are not reading publications like BizEd! We're still far away from reaching our market potential. The nonprofit World Computer Exchange has partnered with you to help promote your school and provide students access to more than 2,650 computer labs in 71 developing countries. How successful do you think that model will be? We believe this collaboration will help us reach new students, but our plan is to test it in a few places first. The idea of having centers where students come and study—even though these centers are not a formal part of our school—is still something new. Are traditional schools helping your project? Universities help us tremendously. We recently announced our new dean of general studies, Geraldine Downey, who comes from Columbia Univer- sity. The Yale Law School Information Society Project is working with us because we are implementing its the- ory of free access to information. The professors who work with us believe that what we are doing is right. How do you compare your school to traditional universities? If a student were to come to me and ask, "Should I go to the University of the People or to an Ivy League university?" then I have failed in this project. We are not an alternative to any existing university. We are an alternative to nothing—we are there for those who have nothing else. You've said that you plan to pursue accreditation. It is our intention to apply for accreditation whenever we can. But the students who take courses in our bachelor's and associate's degree programs study the same amount and the same material as they would in other universities. Why did you choose to start with computer science and business? Our main goal is to help people find jobs, and they are more likely to find jobs with degrees in these fields because those professions are in demand. If students find jobs, they'll improve their social status and the standard of living for themselves, their families, their regions, their countries, and who knows? The world! But more important, these two disciplines are culturally unbiased. The world probably needs more teachers than computer scientists, but being a teacher in the U.S. and being a teacher in Saudi Arabia are very different. If you want to take people from all over the world and put them in one class, you want to be teaching topics that are relevant all over the world. We want to cre- ate an atmosphere where everyone can communicate without getting into political arguments—one where students from two hostile countries might realize that their enemies are not that different than they are. You were named one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People of 2009." What did you think of that? Well, I don't think I've invented any- thing! Everything I've used for this was already out there—the technol- ogy, the open access to information, people willing to volunteer. I just put it together and made it into a uni- versity. If it wasn't me, someone else would have done it. But since it was so clear that someone should do it, I'm very glad it was me. What can business schools do to help? Spread the word. Volunteer to help— we are still desperate to find course writers for some subjects. We hope to use social networking so that volun- teers and students can meet for discus- sions, which would be a good oppor- tunity for graduate business students. We would love to have them. n z For more information about the University of the People, its degree programs, and its advisory council, visit BizEd NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 61 WILLIAM ANDREW/GETTY IMAGES

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