Wael Ghonim, a 31 year-old Egyptian, came onto the global scene during the January 25th Revolution in Egypt. Coined the “keyboard freedom fighter,” he used the power of the internet and social media to fight for social justice. Ghonim was the anonymous founder of a Facebook page called “Kullena Khaled Said” (We are all Khaled Said) which initiated the first to call for the January 25th Revolution that resulted in the toppling of the 30-year Mubarak regime.
Wael is considered one of the region’s digital pioneers - launching many firsts in the tech industry including some of the region’s most important websites until he landed at Google. He served as the Regional Marketing Manager for Google in the Middle East and North Africa overseeing 18 countries when the revolution unfolded.
During the revolution, Wael was kidnapped and held in captivity by the Egyptian State Security for 11 days where he was blindfolded and handcuffed. Following a global campaign for his release, Ghonim was freed days before Mubarak stepped down. His emotional TV interview following his release touched millions of Egyptians and inspired more people to take to the streets. He shared his full story as author of Revolution 2.0 - The Power of the People is Greater Than the People in Power which is sold globally in ten languages.
Immediately after the revolution Wael took a sabbatical from Google and became active in Egypt’s civil society working on two main initiatives. He founded an NGO called Nabadat (Pulses in Arabic), which aims at fostering education opportunities for Egyptians through technology. Its first project, TahrirAcademy, which offers online educational videos, reached more than half a million Arabs.
Today, “Kullena Khaled Said” Facebook page remains a key influential voice on the political scene and has 2.5m members actively engaged in Egypt’s political transition to democracy. It is the largest political page in the Arab World today.
Wael received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Cairo University and earned an MBA from the American University in Cairo. He is married with two children and resides in Cairo & Dubai. In 2011, Wael was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was named one of Time 100’s most influential and received JFK Profile in Courage Award on behalf of the Egyptian people.