Do you ever watch the nightly news and think, “For the love! Who is driving this crazy ship?” ? Do you ever wonder what kind of education the movers and shakers of our planet have? Oh… you don’t? Well, we here at Classes and Careers sure do. These guys are in charge of life and death decisions every day. Each of them command the allegiance of millions of people. Most of them could plunge the world into World War III with a single executive order. So, what qualifies them to make these kinds of choices? Few universities offer courses on Pre-emptive Nuclear War Decision-making or How to Implement a Global War on Terror. No, these are big jobs, bigger than any one person. But I think it goes without saying that some leaders are more fit to lead than others. Let’s see who makes the grade below:

george-w-bush collegePresident George W. Bush

After playing baseball and being head cheerleader (try not to let your imagination run away with that one) during high school, President Bush attended prestigious Yale University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in history in 1968. He applied to the University of Texas School of Law in 1970 but was rejected. And, of course, anyone who got caught up in the Texas Air National Guard scandal of the 2004 presidential elections knows that Bush went through the MBA program at Harvard. By his own account, he was an average student. So, how qualified is he to be the leader of the free world? I’m bound to get people offended either way, so I’ll go with a solid, middle-of-the-road grade. 

His grade: C

Nicolas Sarkozy collegeNicolas Sarkozy

The new French president’s early education is marked by failed exams and mediocrity. He managed to graduate, however, and went on to study Business Law at Universite Paris X Nanterre. After graduating, he entered the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Unfortunately, he failed to graduate because of an insufficient command of the English language. Sarkozy’s education has a happy ending, however: he passed the bar exam and went on to practice business and family law. Not a stellar educational record. Does anyone else get a little nervous about a politics dropout having such a prominent position in international politics. 

His grade: C-

Gordon Brown

It seems the new British prime minister is one smart cookie (or biscuit, I suppose). He was taken to high school two years early and was admitted to the University of Edinburgh at age 16. He graduated with First Class Honours MA and stayed to complete a PhD. Leadership includes so much more than a strong education, but if academic performance is any indication of aptitude, he has my vote. 

His grade: A

kim-jong-il collegeKim Jong-Il

The early education of the man behind the curtain of the North Korean dictatorship is foggy at best. Most of the mystery may be due to his father being the “Eternal President of the Republic” and Kim being his eventual successor. His official biography says Kim attended primary and middle school in Pyongyang. Most academics, however, believe it’s more likely he was schooled in China to keep him safe during the Korean War.

Kim was extremely politics-oriented during elementary and middle schools, starting an anti-factionalism club and pushing for greater ideological education amongst his peers (that’s just creepy). He attended a university named after his father (surprise, surprise) and majored in Marxist Political Economy (surprise, surprise). To further round out his future-evil-ruler-of-the-world education, he also minored in philosophy and military science, apprenticed with road workers, and built TV broadcasting equipment. Why did he want to learn to build TV broadcast equipment, one may ask? My guess: so he would be able to broadcast his threats to the world with little supervision (“One million dollars!”). Hello! He was being trained for insidious, brainwashing world-domination from the start. For me, scariness equals low grades. 

His grade: F

Hugo Chavez

This questionable Venezuelan dictator graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences and pursued a graduate degree in political science. Unfortunately, he dropped out. I don’t know about you, but power-usurping dictators who opt out of political science make me more than a little nervous. 

His grade: D

mahmoud-ahmadinejad collegeMahmoud Ahmadinejad

This outspoken (to put it mildly) Iranian president was apparently a top student. On Iranian national university entrance exams, he placed 132nd out of 400,000 participants. He studied civil engineering as an undergrad and mastered in the same subject. Before embarking on his career as a public official, he also earned his PhD. in transportation engineering and became a member of the faculty at Iran’s Science and Technology University.

The man likes building things (i.e. uranium enrichment facilities, nuclear bombs). Perhaps, he should have also taken courses in history, sociology, and international relations. Frighteningly, one gets the feeling he really doesn’t think those are very important. 

His grade: D

Are you scared yet? I sure am, ready to build that bunker and pack it full of canned tuna and M-16s. Tell us what you think in the comments!

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7 comments on “Education of World Leaders 2008

  • Hmm, interesting. Didn’t know that Sarkozy was such a failure in school, or that Ahmadinejad was that intelligent.
    But shouldn’t Singh, Hu Jintao and Putin also be taken into consideration when one contemplates world leaders?

  • I don't agree with you, Daniel. If a person is holding a position of a president, he/she should be a well-educated person at least. It is a very important.

  • I strongly disagree with this article regardless of the subjectivity that his visible in the people that were chosen. My point is about our perspective of education, As dont mean much in reality if other things such as honesty and integrity, courage and character are missing from a person. There have been people who were extremely productive for a large group of people sometimes countries but didnt have As. Einsteine and Bill Gates are just a few examples. It seems as though you just wanted to vent something about some of these guys whom you dont think are good leaders. The truth is some of them may be good leaders but you may not like their policies and vice-versa.

  • I wouldn’t want to believe Ahmedinejad was a D student as it runs contrary to the previous part where you said he was an Iranian top scorer. Besides D students don’t go on to obtain Ph.Ds in engineering or lecture in universities

  • Seriously dude, you yourself are a wuss!! George Bush is a “D-“. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an A student. The most qualified leader in the world is Dr. Manmohan Singh of India. Singh has degrees form Panjab, Cambridge and Oxford along with a PhD. Alt

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