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September 6th, 2011
03:54 PM ET

Young future leaders talk social change

The former Google executive who used social media to jump-start social change in Egypt knows the key to leading a grass-roots revolution: Make it leaderless.

"If you want to use the internet to change a problem you are facing or create an opportunity for a lot of people, you have to make sure that everyone is engaged," said Wael Ghonim, speaking at the international One Young World summit - a Zurich, Switzerland, summit for youth leaders.

"There's no 'I'm the leader; I'm the one who tells people what to do,'" he said.

Ghonim played an integral role in Egypt's social change this year as protests broke out in January over the rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak. He fired off a steady stream of messages to Twitter and Facebook about the uprising and worked behind the scenes to galvanize the uprising.

At one juncture, he was detained for 10 days in Egypt and eventually left Google to start his own venture.

Ghonim said "totally empowering the people" was key in Egypt, using their suggestions for photos and videos to post on Facebook and making sure collaboration was decentralized.

CNN’s Kaj Larsen – who served as a moderator – spoke to Ghonim and other young future leaders at the summit.


Filed under: Kaj Larsen • Wael Ghonim
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