We often hear of leaders of countries who are known for their despotism or heavy-handedness in running their country. In fact, it may seem that the worse they are, the more attention they get.
But, what about those leaders who are taking positive steps in changing the world, like those in countries that form the G8. Representatives from these countries come together once a year for the purpose of discussing issues and providing their unique insight and thoughts on them. Four of them are discussed below.
1. Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada)
Canada is represented in the G8 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper is an example of someone who realized the value of a post-secondary education and returned to college after having previously dropped out. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Calgary, and later returned to earn a master’s degree, also in economics. Mr. Harper is only the second Prime Minister in Canada not to possess a law degree.
2. Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany)
Chancellor Merkel has the distinction of being Germany’s first female Chancellor. Her 2007 appointment as chair person of the G8 made her the second woman to hold this prestigious position.
Perhaps it is Chancellor Merkel’s willingness to take on challenges that makes her such a noteworthy member of the G8. One project in particular was implemented when she was a student at the University of Liepzig (from which she earned a doctorate in physics) and consisted of reconstructing the ruin of the Moritzbastei, the only remaining part of the bastion of Leipzig.
3. Prime Minister Naoto Kan (Japan)
Prime Minister Kan became a licensed benrishi, which is a patent agent as well as an attorney in 1971, after his graduation the previous year from Tokyo Institute of Technology. He combined his knowledge with a love for one of his hobbies—mahjong—by building a machine which would perform the calculations necessary to tally the points one earns in mahjong.
This system can become quite complicated, but Prime Minister Kan’s machine does the work for the players; it is not necessary to have someone try to concentrate on his or her mahjong tiles and keep up with scoring, only to have to try to figure out the points afterward. Innovative ideas such as this are what can change the world. It sounds as though Prime Minister Kan is up to the challenge.
4. President Barack Obama (United States)
Representing the United States in the G8 is President Barack Obama. Although his greatest claim to fame is the fact that he is the first African American ever elected president, there is much more to this leader. Mr. Obama is a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School. During his time at Harvard Law School, he served as president of the Harvard Law Review. Before Mr. Obama earned his degree, however, he was already giving back to Chicago by working as a community organizer.
When it comes to leading the world, having strong leaders makes a difference. It’s no surprise that all have substantial educational backgrounds – sometimes having advanced degrees; but it takes more than book smarts to be a real leader. It takes character. And these leaders have shown great strength of character and are working every day to change the world for the better.