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Ghonim To Leave Google For New Venture

April 25, 2011

A Google executive who had become the hero of the Egyptian revolution said Sunday he planned to step away from his stint at the Internet search giant and start his own venture in Egypt, AFP reports.

Wael Ghonim, head of marketing for Google”Ëœs Middle East and North Africa markets, said in a message on micro-blogging site Twitter that he “decided to take a long term sabbatical from Google & start a technology focused NGO to help fight poverty & foster education in Egypt.”

Ghonim ran the Facebook page that helped spark an uprising that brought Hosni Mubarak’s regime to an end.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” shortly after his release from police custody, and after the regime started to fall apart, Ghonim, 30, said the protests that led to Mubarak’s fall would have never happened without online social networks.

“If there was no social networks it would have never been sparked. Because the whole thing before the revolution was the most critical thing. Without Facebook, without Twitter, without Google, without YouTube, this would have never happened,” said Ghonim.

TIME Magazine recently placed Ghonim on its list of the 100 most influential people of 2011 — on its website Ghonim appeared in the number 1 spot, although TIME insists there is no actual ranking for the list.

“Wael Ghonim embodies the youth who constitute the majority of Egyptian society,” read a profile in the magazine penned by former UN atomic energy chief and potential Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei.

“But, as with many of his generation, (he) remained apolitical due to loss of hope that things could change in a society permeated for decades with a culture of fear,” the profile read.

“By emphasizing that the regime would listen only when citizens exercised their right of peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience, Wael helped initiate a call for a peaceful revolution,” it said.

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