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Rabih Torbay

President & Chief Executive Officer

In 2017, Rabih Torbay accepted the challenge to develop an organizational strategy for Project HOPE as the organization’s president. By 2018, he was leading all organizational departments as the President and Chief Operations Officer. As a humanitarian affairs leader, humanitarian work is where Torbay’s heart is—he is naturally drawn to Project HOPE’s work and is dedicated to its mission. 

Torbay has designed and implemented relief, transition, and global health programs in some of the world’s most challenging conditions. He has worked extensively in responding to humanitarian crises in numerous countries across continents, including Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Ukraine, and the United States. 

Since becoming President & CEO in 2019, Torbay has elevated the organization’s mission and evolved its global health, humanitarian response, and sustainable development programs. Taking agile approaches toward focused goals, he leads a global team implementing programs in more than 27 countries to optimize impact through dynamic conditions. Focused on innovation, Torbay has steered Project HOPE in refreshing its operations; under his leadership, Project HOPE has reimagined its brand and its role as the leader in supporting health workers. As a result, the 65-year-old organization has been energized by a future-forward view designed to improve health outcomes and meet escalating needs in a fast-changing world. 

A problem solver and optimist, Torbay champions collaboration through cross-sector partnerships with stakeholders and communities to improve health and build community resilience. Passionate about self-enablement, Torbay puts people and local communities first, taking decentralized approaches that place power in the hands of local health workers and close health equity gaps. From systemic capability-building to health worker trainings, the result is a positive impact multiplier effect beyond traditional material aid. As CEO, Torbay remains true to his humanitarian field roots. He leads on-the-ground responses to emergencies, like Yemen in 2018 and after the 2020 Beirut explosion, and implements front-line action plans, notably including immediate work to mitigate COVID-19 as it emerged from Wuhan, China, and spread across the globe as a pandemic. In war-torn Ukraine, Torbay assessed firsthand the response efforts for immediate and long-term medical and mental health needs, as well as determining other health priorities. 

Previously, Torbay served in several leadership positions. During his 17-year tenure at International Medical Corps (IMC), Torbay led all global programs. He has worked with local governments, health officials, and health care providers to create and expand programs and to advance health care solutions around the world. Torbay advises members of Congress, the US State Department, and the United Nations on humanitarian and health policy for West Africa, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. He serves as a source for media outlets including Forbes, The New York Times, and the Washington Post

Torbay grew up in Lebanon during the country’s 16-year-long civil war. After completing his studies, he went to Sierra Leone, where he worked as a civil engineer during their civil war. The experience moved Torbay to leave his engineering business and dedicate himself to humanitarian work. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the American University in Beirut and completed Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program in Humanitarian Leadership. He is the recipient of the Grace Humanitarian Award from Thomas Jefferson University and serves on the advisory board for Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and Public Affairs Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies. Torbay also serves on the Board of Directors for InterAction, working closely with other nongovernmental organizations as a united voice for global change. 

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