In February 2011, Ali Tarhouni, a popular Libyan-born lecturer in economics at the University of Washington, watched the protests in Benghazi, Libya, from his basement command center in Seattle. Tarhouni is 61 years old and hadn’t been in his homeland in nearly four decades. But at that moment, he says, “I knew I was going back.”
Now, Tarhouni is oil and finance minister of the National Transitional Council, working with many returned Libyans who face the task of re-assimilating. They have been shaped by their time abroad, and they’ll have to address Libya as it is now.
From our Migration Issue: After the Revolution