Nurture the successful development of civil society organizations and movements in Libya through training, education, access to resources and financial assistance. Our vision is broad with our immediate focus on: Civic engagement, inclusiveness, and association.
The New Libya Foundation was born from the Facebook page, Time For A New Libya. Launched on February 10th, 2011 in support of the historic events of the February 17 revolution, the page’s objective was to bring global media attention to the revolution and global users’ attention to Libya’s future. More than a call for the end of Gaddafi’s regime, the page espoused a singular vision for a New Libya that revolved around a thriving civil society. Building on that vision, the page’s co-administrators partnered with educational institutions, development agencies and active Libyan community members to launch the New Libya Foundation, a formal foundation for the development of Libyan civil society.
Since our inception, the NLF has raised over one million dollars, successfully implemented fourteen capacity building and advocacy programs and conducted over three hundred events. We have directly impacted the lives of more than three thousand young activists and civil society leaders, and assisted in the establishment of more than seventy nascent organizations.
In 2015, the New Libya Foundation will merge with Forum for Democratic Libya to create Jusur (bridges), a national policy making and advocacy organization.
Board of Directors and Leadership
Rihab Elhaj, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Ms. Elhaj began work on human development programs in Libya and the Middle East after her 2006 nomination by the United Nations as the U.N. Youth Delegate to Libya for the Millennium Development Goals, carrying out a 4 year volunteer appointment for advocacy of the MDG’s in Libya. With her work limited by Libya’s then anti-association policies and a deeply disempowered public, she dedicated her career toward human development with a focus on horizontal leadership development. Ms. Elhaj co-founded Inara, a coaching service with a mission to harvest the latent potential in people to exact positive and significant change. On February 19, 2011, Ms. Elhaj co-founded The New Libya Foundation to begin the work of building the nation Libyans have aspired to for four decades.
Ms. Elhaj is trained as an ontological coach through Accomplishment Coaching, NYC. She received a B.A. in Psychology with the highest honors from Marymount University. In 2013, Ms. Elhaj was awarded the Desomind Tutu African Leadership Fellowship. She is also a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellow, and a World Bank/IMF Civil Society Fellow.
Ms. Elhaj was born to Libyan parents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and has lived between Addis, Virginia State and Tripoli Libya, where she has resided since 2009.
Iya Khalil, Co-Founder
Iya Khalil is a technology entrepreneur who co-founded Via Science, a leading big data company, and GNS Healthcare, a leading healthcare data analytics company. She received her training in computational physics from Cornell University and has more than 11 years of experience in large-scale data analytics for the healthcare and the biomedical industry. Dr. Khalil currently serves as the Executive Vice President of GNS Healthcare and is the co-inventor of the company’s proprietary and powerful modeling and simulation engine.
At GNS Healthcare, she develops strategic industry partnerships and oversees the application of the company’s modeling and simulation technology to critical challenges in the healthcare industry. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences, has appeared in several industry journals, has published multiple articles in the field, and has extensive experience in reverse engineering large-scale models from patient genomic and clinical data. Dr. Khalil was also recently featured on Al Jazeera as a role model for Arab-American scientists and entrepreneurs.
Dr. Khalil’s interest in science and entrepreneurship has stemmed from her close-knit Libyan family and heritage. She credits her involvement in science to her father, a former chemistry professor, and to her mother, for always emphasizing the mind as a person’s most valuable and important asset. Her grandfather, a well-known theologian and poet in Libya, spent most of his life advocating the value of knowledge and the power of the human mind. Dr. Khalil co-founded the New Libya Foundation to give back to her Libyan heritage and provide the same opportunities for Libyans in Libya that she had in the United States.
Walid Raghei, Treasurer
Mr. Raghei is an accomplished software engineer, businessman and was an active member of Libya’s under-ground charitable community for decades until the establishment of an official civil society in Libya. Mr. Raghei is the Deputy Director of Acacus Air, one of Libya’s first private airlines. He has extensive relationships with prominent Tripoli residents, and thus is an integral part of NLF’s recruitment, procurement and private fundraising efforts.
Salah Buzagia, Operations Management Trainer
Salah Bugazia is a senior-level leader with over 20 years of business and Information Technology experience, as well as large project delivery and operational management. Mr. Bugazia’s areas of experience include Large-Scale Project and Program Management; Training Organization and Delivery; Strategic Planning, Budgeting and Profit & Loss (P&L) Management; Account Management and Business Development; Client and Vendor Relationship Management and Contract Development. Mr. Bugazia has working experience in several industry verticals, including Telecommunications, Information Technology, Healthcare, Insurance and Construction, as well as in several regions, including North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Bugazia has taught several university-level Finance courses, and has implemented project management training programs for Information Technology, Engineering and Banking professionals.
Mr. Bugazia has founded, co-founded and led several major community and civil society initiatives, including CinciIT, a non-profit networking and educational organization for Muslim professionals in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served on the BOD of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. Mr. Buzagia also co-founded and led several Libyan non-profit initiatives including the Libyan Coordinating Group which coordinated and consolidated common activities of various active Libyan individuals and groups in the USA supporting the February 17th revolution.
Mr. Buzagia began working on organizational and leadership development programs in his native country, Libya, to provide the same growth and development opportunities that he enjoyed abroad.
Amal Ballu, Program Coordinator, Tripoli Civil Society Incubator
Mrs. Ballu was born in Tripoli, Libya and moved to the United States with her family at a young age. She was schooled in the U.S., Iraq and Egypt before moving back to Libya in 1989, where she obtained her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Tripoli with honors in 1994. She later moved to Canada with her husband in 1996 where she taught in private schools teaching elementary and Arabic as a second language. Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Ballu believed in the importance of mentoring and coaching her students to reach their full potential. In London Islamic School, she initiated a character education program, launched a bi-lingual radio show, and empowered female students through starting Girl’s Night. Selected by representatives from the Toronto Star and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, she was nominated for a teacher’s award in 2009 for her work with immigrant families and her focus on both the intellect and character of her students.
Mrs. Ballu is a strong advocate for the Deaf. As the mother of a deaf teenaged son, she has been involved with VOICE, an NGO for the Deaf in Canada, for many years. She strongly believes that, in order for the special needs community in Libya to become active participants and relevant in the country’s development processes, their needs must be met with the proper education and expertise; consequently, when the needs of this very special community are met, all members of society can enjoy the right to equally participate in building the New Libya.
Mrs. Ballu is currently undergoing teacher professional development and enjoys working part-time at International House, Tripoli.
Ammad Almusrati, Program Manager, Leadership In Civil Society
Mr. Almusrati was born and lived in small village deep in the Libyan desert called “Edri”. His interest in civic engagement began at the age of ten as volunteer at the Edri Red Crescent, where he eventually became an assistant leader in 2001. Mr. Almusrati received his High diploma in Telecommunication Engineering from Zliten. In 2008, his family returned to Misurata where he pursued his postgraduate studies at the Libyan Academy in Engineering Project Management.
Prior to the revolution, there was no “civil society” to speak of. Mr. Almusrati pursued his passion for development through human resource management, and technology. After the liberation, Mr. Almusrati became the Project Manager for “Voter Ownership and Increasing Civic Engagement (VOICE)” program, a MEPI project in Misurata. Mr. Almusrati currently leads the NLF “Leadership in Civil Society” program in Misurata. He is also the Human Resources Development & Training Manager at Misurata International Airport.
Mr. Almusrati is a civil society activist with great enthusiasm toward incubating ideas, innovative new projects, and inspiring people around him to make positive changes in Libyan society.
Magda Sharkasi, Leadership Coach
Ms. Sharkasi was born and raised in Tripoli, Libya. She moved to the United States with her husband in 1977 where she recieved an education in the liberal arts and architecture. Upon the completion of her studies, Ms. Sharkasi embarked on a real-estate banking career while raising her family. She has traveled extensively and has lived all over the United States and in several other countries including France and Egypt.
Ms. Sharkasi is an active leader in several NGOs and women’s organizations that address refugee and immigrants’ issues and promote international understanding. In 2003, Ms. Sharkasi co-founded of Tibra Foundation which awards and recognizes the excellence and achievements of young Libyan women in order to realize worthy community objectives.
Magda became a coach to fulfill a life-long passion to help people live their greatest potential and make a positive impact in the world around them. Magda enjoys the outdoors, culture and arts events, entertaining, and staying active. She has two children and currently lives with her husband in China where she coaches clients from around the world via modern technology.