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Google executive Wael Ghonim takes sabbatical to fight poverty, foster education in Egypt

April 25, 2011 |  2:40 pm

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Wael Ghonim never sought to become the public face of the Egyptian revolution.

But the Google executive who helped organize the political uprising on social media was thrust into the spotlight in February after he was arrested and beaten by government forces during the protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Since then, Ghonim has been traveling the globe to spread word of Revolution 2.0, tapping the power of the Internet and social media to foment revolution. He has also lent his support to protests in other hot spots in the region, such as Syria.

Last week, Ghonim, head of marketing in the Middle East for Google, made a pit stop in Silicon Valley, where his appearance at the company's Mountain View campus was described as "emotional." He also spoke on the Stanford University campus.

On Saturday, Ghonim said on Twitter that he would take a long sabbatical from the Internet search giant. He plans to start a technology-focused nongovernmental organization to help fight poverty and foster education.

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Photo: Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim attending a roundtable discussion entitled Youth, Jobs, and Inclusive Growth in the Middle East and North Africa at the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington, DC, on April 15, 2011. Credit: Nicholas KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

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