RIT Leader Removed as Libyan Prime Minister

Mustafa Abushagur, founding president of RIT Dubai, served his homeland

Mustafa Abushagur

Mustafa Abushagur was ousted yesterday as Libya’s new prime minister after a vote of no confidence from the country’s parliament. Serving less than a month, Abushagur’s proposed cabinet was struck down by a legislature representing dozens of divided tribes, town and regions across Libya, according to the Associated Press.

Abushagur is a professor of microsystems engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology and former president of RIT Dubai. He was elected prime minister of Libya by its parliament on Sept. 12, becoming the first leader to be elected after the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Abushagur had been deputy prime minister of his homeland since November 2011.

Abushagur told Libyan media yesterday that he respected the decision made by parliament, but warned of instability if it takes too long to elect his replacement. “There should be quickness in the election of the prime minister and formation of the government so the country does not slip into a vacuum,” he told the Associated Press.

As a Libyan refugee, Abushagur was on a “Most Wanted” list in the country because of opposition to Gadhafi’s regime. Rebels toppled the regime in 2011 and Gadhafi was killed last October. Abushagur said at that time he felt safe enough to return to his homeland for the first time in 32 years.

Abushagur joined RIT in 2002 as a professor of electrical engineering and director of the university’s microsystems-engineering research and education initiatives in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. He later became founding director of the college’s microsystems engineering Ph.D. program. He became founding president of RIT Dubai in 2008.


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