Najla Al-Mangoush - The First Female Foreign Minister in Libya

Najla Muhammad Al-Mangoush is a Libyan politician and lawyer who held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the Libyan national unity government headed by Abdel Hamid Dabaiba's on March 15, 2021.

Al-Mangoush is the first woman in Libya, since its independence in 1951, to hold this position and to manage important files related to Libya's relations with other countries and international and regional organizations.

She is also the fourth woman in the Arab region to join the list of Arab foreign ministers, who are: Al-Naha Bint Hamdi (2009), the first Mauritanian foreign minister, and the first female foreign minister in the Arab countries; Fatima Bint Aswaina (2015), also from Mauritania; and the Sudanese Asma Muhammad Abdullah (2019).

Born and brought up in the city of Benghazi, East Libya, her roots go back to the Libyan city of Misrata, in Western Libya. Al-Manguosh is the daughter of Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Al-Mangoush, a well-known cardiologist and hematologist in Benghazi. Her uncle is Yousef Al-Mangoush, one of the most prominent Libyan army officers of the previous era.

She graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Garyounis in Benghazi, and devoted herself to work as a lawyer in the criminal courts, and with the beginning of the February events in 2011, she worked as an employee of the Transitional Council headed by Mustafa Abdel Jalil, before moving towards specializing in the field of human rights and social activities within the framework of civil society.

She obtained her MA also in Criminal Law from the University of Garyounis, then her MA in Conflict and Peace Management from the American Mennonite University and finally then her Ph.D. in Conflict and Peace Management from George Mason University in the United States.

Becoming a law professor and a lawyer in criminal law, her research and work focuses on the transition from war to peace and peace-building, according to her biography published in the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) website. She published some articles and gave lectures in this field that were promoted on social media.

She was also a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study for a Master's degree in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) in the United States of America.

Al-Manguosh worked as a local representative for the United States Institute of Peace in Libya, as well as for the National Transitional Council.

Her CV indicates that she has worked in several Arab and foreign countries in the field of training cadres, studying and evaluating legal projects, in addition to obtaining several certificates of appreciation and competence, one of which is provided by the US government for academic excellence.

As a civil society activist, Mangoush held media posts to discuss the Libyan scene. In a clip dating back to 2011, Al-Mangoush stated that she worked as a media activist to cover the events of the February 17 revolution in Benghazi, and tried to communicate with foreign media to report what was happening in the city.

News websites and activists circulated videos of the Libyan minister wearing the Palestinian scarf while she was receiving US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs, Joey Hood, who is on a working visit to Libya on May 18, 2021.

During a meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Al-Mangoush called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya as it approaches the holding of elections this year.

The Libyan Foreign Minister affirmed her country's position rejecting the aggression launched by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian people, calling for effective steps to be taken and urgent measures to stop the aggression and to issue a clear warning that the continuation of the aggression will have regional and international repercussions threatening international peace.