Where did the serving world leaders get their education?

More world leaders studied in the US than other countries as the UK lags behind Education Beyond Borders Podcast

23-AUG-2022 | The Higher Education Policy Institute just published its annual analysis of how many leaders were educated in countries other than their own. Of the world leaders who were educated overseas, more studied in the United States than in any other country.

The United States continues to dominate with 67 serving world leaders taught there. The current heads of state and heads of government who have received their undergraduate or postgraduate education from American colleges and universities are Bulgarian prime minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov, president of Moldova Maia Sandu, and Prince of Monaco Albert II.

Meanwhile the United Kingdom, the second in the ranking, has fallen further behind, laying claim to the education of 55 current world leaders. Current leaders educated in the UK include Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and Japanese emperor Naruhito. The UK topped the index when it was first published in 2017, but the US overtook the UK in 2018 and the gap has continued to widen every year since then.

France remained in third place having taught 31 leaders, followed by Russia which educated 10. 

Also on the list are Australia and Switzerland, which both educated seven, Canada and Germany with six, and Italy and South Africa with five. 

There are 19 world leaders who appear to have had no higher education of any sort, whether in their own country or abroad.

The Higher Education Policy Institute defines world leaders as heads of state and heads of government including monarchs, presidents and prime ministers. The Queen of the United Kingdom is excluded as she did not attend university. 

Educating people from other countries is understood to be a measure of soft power. A 2013 report from the British government found that foreign UK alumni had a “positive understanding” of the UK’s culture and values, as well as trust in the country that led to an improved outlook on trade and diplomatic relations. 

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