The newly elected interim prime minister of Libya, Abdurrahim El-Keib, received his master’s degree in electrical engineering from USC Viterbi School of Engineering in 1976.
Keib was elected as prime minister Monday by the National Transitional Council, the de facto governing body of Libya, with a vote of 26 to 25.
After earning his master’s degree, Kieb went on to earn his doctorate from North Carolina State University in 1984.
After briefly teaching at the University of Tripoli, Keib was exiled by former Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi and fled to the United States, where he still holds citizenship.
Keib taught electrical engineering at the University of Alabama and then moved to United Arab Emirates, where he chaired the electrical engineering department at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi.
When the uprising against Gaddafi began in February, Keib returned to Tripoli where he helped fund and organize the rebel forces. Keib was selected to represent the capital city of Tripoli for the NTC.
Yannis Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering, said he is proud of Keib and hopes his experience at USC helps guide him in his new position.
“As Libya enters a new promising chapter in its history, we wish him the best in restoring democracy and bringing a bright future for the Libyan people,” Yortsos said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the Trojan spirit and values will guide him in the difficult but exciting path of national rebuilding.”
Keib has received criticism from political opponents for living a luxurious life during his time in exile in the United States and the United Arab Emirates, while Libyans suffered under the rule of Gaddafi.
Keib will remain in power until democratic elections are held in Libya within the next eight months, according to the NTC.
Along with unifying Libya, Keib is facing increased pressure from human rights group to take action against the NTC rebel forces accused of committing inhumane crimes.