In a tweet over the weekend, Wael Ghonim announced he was leaving Google on a "long-term sabbatical" to begin work on a technology NGO in Egypt. The executive had been credited with helping ignite this year's Egyptian uprisings against leader Hosni Mubarak as one of the administrators of an anti-torture Facebook page called, "We are all Khaled Said," referencing the 28 year-old beaten to death by police.
Ghonim was later imprisoned and beaten by the Egyptian regime and remained adamant that he wasn't the "face" of the protests. Nevertheless, Time magazine recently honored him as the "Spokesman for a Revolution" for his civil-disobedience.
According to the brief Twitter message, Ghonim's NGO will focus on fighting poverty and fostering education in the nation. "We had a dream," Ghonim told a group of students at Stanford University. "Hosni Mubarak was a nightmare, and we got rid of the nightmare, but we still need to reach the dream." The announcement was met with some surprise, one former Tahirir Square protester summed up his feelings to the Wall Street Journal this way:
I wouldn't imagine that he would leave this career for a small NGO in Egypt. It's Google, it's not like any Egyptian company...So it's hard to believe, but if he wants to do this for Egypt, it's great.