Wael Ghonim to leave Google to form Egypt NGO

Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim greets thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square Feb. 8, 2011.
Getty Images

The Google executive credited with helping kick start the Egyptian revolution will take a break from the company to start a technology-focused NGO to address poverty and education in Egypt, reports the Atlantic Wire.

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Ghonim, 30, announced in an April 23 tweet that he will take a "long-term sabbatical" from Google.

Ghonim's efforts to begin the revolution in Egypt started with the creation of a Facebook page titled, "We Are all Khaled Said," memorializing a 28-year-old Egyptian businessman who was beaten to death by police after threatening to expose corruption. The page called for protests on Jan. 25, sparking demonstrations throughout the streets of Egypt.

After being detained and beaten by Egyptian police for 12 days for his actions, Ghonim emerged as one of the revolution's reluctant leaders, helping his fellow Egyptians oust President Hosni Mubarak, and landing him a spot on  Time magazine's 2011 list of 100 most influential people.

One Egyptian could not believe Ghonim would leave the global tech company to start an NGO, telling the Wall Street Journal, "...it's hard to believe, but if he wants to do this for Egypt, it's great."

But, as the Journal noted, Ghonim was never comfortable being seen as the singular "face" of the far-reaching revolution.


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