The world is entering a new era and at its forefront is a league of young, charismatic men who are revolutionizing governments everywhere. Leading with good looks and untraditional stories, here are some of the standout heads of state on the world stage.
Designation: Prime Minister of Canada
Accomplishments: It was hard to miss all the news about dreamy Justin Trudeau when he was first elected Canada’s prime minister in 2016. Not only is he the scion of one of the men who made Canada the boiling pot of culture that it is today, but Trudeau, as he is, is as charming and handsome as it could get. Since then, he has been lauded as a champion of inclusivity and tolerance in a racially hostile time. Capitalizing on the rich diversity in Canada, Trudeau has been known to have a successful cabinet with an equal ratio of men and women that he says is a reflection of what the country looks like. Trudeau’s immigrant reforms have made Canada the “least xenophobic country in the Western world” in 2016, with over 25,000 Syrians refugees given asylum in the country.
Designation: Prime Minister of Spain
Accomplishments: Pedro Sanchez is a comeback kid. Unrelenting and ambitious, he was recently elected the Prime Minister of Spain after he led a vote of no confidence against the incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has been embroiled in corruption scandals.
Sanchez's road to victory, however, was not a short one. The dashing new Prime Minister, who holds degrees and a doctorate in economics, business, and politics, had been Madrid’s town councilor, in parliament, and the leader of the Socialist party. While his performance within his political party caused him to leave, a break of seven months with his fellow Spaniards proved to be the ticket to leading him back to a leading figure in Spanish politics. Sanchez now leads a minority government, with 84 lower house seats taken up by the members of his party and a cabinet with a majority of women.
Enrique Peña Nieto
Designation: President of Mexico
Accomplishments: As early as 1979, Enrique Peña Nieto already had big dreams of being in government. When he was little, he used to tell his classmates he was planning to be governor. Little did he know that in a little over three decades, he would be the president of Mexico.
A lawyer by profession, Peña Nieto was elected president in 2012 under the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Since then, he has enacted Pact for Mexico, breaking apart the stalemates that have made the Mexican government stagnate in the past 70 something years. Some of his major reforms also include modernizing the education sector and opening up the country’s energy sector up for investment and improvement.
Designation: President of France
Accomplishments: Five years ago, no one knew who Emmanuel Macron was. He wasn’t in public office nor was he a part of a political family. Against all odds, the former investment banker, who wasn’t part of a political party nor parliament, managed to become the President of France.
The centrist Macron first came into the public eye as the deputy chief of staff and political protégé of François Hollande in 2012. In 2014, the boyish Macron spent two years as economics minister, where he pushed for labor law reforms (popularly referred to as the Macron Law). Eventually, the Macron Law was passed, and he realized, after getting disillusioned by the system, that change was needed. That’s when he started En Marche (On the Move!). By interviewing the public about what they wanted from the government, he was able to gather support without the usual political party to back him. Fighting for a change in the system and a pro-EU France, in 2017, Macron was able to defy all odds to win the French presidency at 39 years old.
Designation: President of South Korea
Accomplishments: In less than a year, Moon Jae-In has been able to negotiate the end of the Korean War, a task many in Korea have deemed impossible over the past 65 years. The son of North Korean refugees himself, the darling president of South Korea is a human rights activist turned lawyer who passed the bar while imprisoned for criticizing a dictatorship.
He initially came into the public eye in 1987 as a leader in the pro-democracy movement who chose to continue as a lawyer following his country’s first democratic election. Eventually, he entered politics in 2003 as the chief of staff to Roh Moo-hyun. He was elected president in
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Designation: King of the Kingdom of Bhutan
Accomplishments: Bhutan is the exception to a highly industrialized world. It boasts of being the only carbon negative country in the world and the only one with a capital city with no traffic lights. It has free education and
Educated at Oxford, Jigme Khesar ascended the throne in 2006 at 26 years old, when his country was still transitioning to democracy. Popular due to his good looks and humble persona, he was the one who completed the country’s transition into democracy and has been described by the country’s prime minister as “the ultimate anchor of the country”. He has since signed a friendship treaty with India, helped draft the constitution, and has been working tirelessly to help land reform in the country.