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Beryl Lieff Benderly

The Science Of Democracy

A new career path appears to be opening for some holders of American scientific Ph.D.s: becoming the leader of a newly democratic Arab government. 

The recently elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, holds a Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  He served as an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge, before joining the faculty of Zagazig University in his native Egypt.  Mustafa Abushagur, whom Libya elected in September as its prime minister, also studied in the Golden State, earning his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena before joining the faculties of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  He later became founding president of RIT’s campus in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

Tunisia’s prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, also holds engineering degrees, but he pursued his graduate studies at the University of Paris rather than in the United States.