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Pitt Grad Helps to Liberate Libya


A Pitt grad served as acting prime minister of the Libyan rebel government during the 2011 civil war that drove Moammar Gadhafi from power.

As head of the executive board of the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril helped persuade NATO to launch its Libya bombing campaign. On Oct. 23, 2011, three days after rebels captured the loyalist holdout city of Sirte and killed Gadhafi, Jibril kept his promise to leave the government at war’s end and resigned.

Jibril earned a master’s degree in 1980 and a PhD in 1985, both in political science, from Pitt. He also taught strategic planning at the University for several years.

The University of Pittsburgh Press published Jibril’s dissertation, titled "U.S. Policy Toward Libya 1969-1982: The Role of Image." Jibril also worked as a research assistant on a book by Bert Rockman during the 1980s when the latter was a member of the Pitt political science faculty.

“Everything that I asked for, I would get back and more,” Rockman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2011. “He was a very, very bright guy” and “a very tolerant, open-minded individual.”