Libya’s new prime minister received a doctorate in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University almost 30 years ago.
On Monday, Libya’s National Transitional Council picked Abdur Rahim El-Keib from nine candidates to become the country’s acting prime minister, according to a BBC report. The BBC says El-Keib is seen as a consensus candidate who can smooth over rivalries within the council.
The NTC formed in February as the political arm of the revolution against Col. Moammar Gadaffi. In March, it declared itself the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people and as of October, more than 100 nations have recognized it as such.
Dan Stancil, the head of NC State’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, confirmed El-Keib was once a student.
Stancil said El-Keib received his Ph.D. from the department in 1984, with John Grainger as his faculty adviser.
Mick Kulikowski of the university’s news service said El-Keib’s thesis title was “Capacitive Compensation Planning and Operation for Primary Distribution Feeders.”
Stancil added that it’s not unusual to have students from Arab countries attending NC State. The university archives say an Arab Club – known by several names – formed on campus before 1958 as a social organization for students of Arab background. It disbanded sometime after 1989.
Kulikowski said El-Keib received his master’s degree from the University of Southern California, then lectured at the University of Tripoli from 1976 to 1978. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a professor at the University of Alabama for 20 years.
The website for the Petroleum Institute, where El-Keib once worked, states that he taught at NC State. According to Stancil, Grainger does not think El-Keib ever taught at the school.