Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)
Rabih Torbay

Rabih Torbay

Rabih Torbay

President and Chief Executive Officer, Project HOPE

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

Since becoming Project HOPE 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 64 active programs across over 25 countries to optimize impact through dynamic conditions. Focused on innovation, Torbay has steered HOPE to refresh its operations; under his leadership, HOPE has reimagined its brand and role as the leader in supporting health workers. As a result, the 63-year-old organization has been energized by a futureforward view designed to improve health outcomes and meet escalating needs in a fastchanging world. A problem-solver and optimist, Torbay champions collaboration through crosssector partnerships with stakeholders and communities to improve human health and build community resilience. Passionate about empowerment, Torbay puts local people and communities first, taking decentralized approaches that place power in the hands of local health workers and close health equity gaps. From systemic capacity-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, the 2020 Beirut explosion, front-line action plans, notably including immediate work to mitigate COVID-19 as it emerged from Wuhan, China and spread as a pandemic. Earlier this year, Torbay was in war-torn Ukraine assessing response efforts for immediate and long-term medical needs, mental health, and other health priorities.

Previously, Torbay served in several leadership positions at International Medical Corps (IMC), most recently as senior vice president of International Operations. In that role, Torbay led all global programs and a staff of 10,000 working in 37 countries. During his 17-year tenure at IMC, he 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 has advised members of Congress, the U.S. 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 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 the 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 program. 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 of InterAction, working closely with other NGOs as a united voice for global change.