World leaders range from the everyday man or woman with humble beginnings to the best educated in the world. While you don’t have to have an advanced degree in order to go far in politics, there are a surprising number of world leaders who have doctorates. Here are 8 world leaders who graduated with a doctorate. We’ll discuss what they studied and their paths to power and prestige.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was first elected president of Turkmenistan in 2007. This is surprising given the fact that he graduated not with a degree in law or political science, but medicine. Five years after he earned his doctorate in medical sciences, he became the head of the Turkmen Ministry of Health’s dental department. He also became the dean of dentistry at the Turkmen State Institute. In 1997, he became the Minister of Health. Four years after that, he became the Deputy Prime Minister. When former President Niyazov died, Berdymukhamedov was chosen as acting president. He was re-elected President in 2012.
Karolos Papoulias of Greece
Greek President Karolos Papoulias earned a doctorate in private international law from the University of Cologne after attending both the University of Milan and University of Athens. He started work as a lawyer in 1963. In 1977, he was voted into Parliament. He served in a variety of roles before becoming the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1985. He became President of Greece in 2005. He was re-elected in 2010.
Manmohan Singh of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He earned a master’s degree two years later. He traveled to England to earn a first-class honors degree from Cambridge. Then he completed a doctorate in economics from Oxford University in 1962. He returned to India to teach economics and then moved into governmental roles. He became the Prime Minister’s economic adviser in 1990 and then became India’s finance minister. In 2004, he became Prime Minister. In 2009, he was reinstated as Prime Minister.
Mohamed Morsi of Egypt
Mohamed Morsi completed a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Cairo. He graduated with a master’s degree from Cairo University in 1978. He then travelled to the United States and earned a doctorate in material science in 1982. He taught material science for several years in the U.S. before returning to Egypt. Mohamed Moris was the head of the materials engineering department until 2010. During this time, he was also a parliamentary candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2012, he was elected President of Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood’s government was overthrown by the secular military in 2013.
Ivo Josipović of Croatia
Ivo Josipović is Croatia’s third President. He originally graduated with a degree in law in 1980 and earned a master’s in 1985. He earned a doctorate in criminal science in 1994. Interestingly, he also has a degree from the University of Zagreb’s Academy of Music; he’s lectured at the school as well. Ivo Josipvoc has written a number of books and musical compositions.
His political career began in 1980 in the League of Communists of Croatia where he helped the party become the Social Democratic Party. He left politics to focus on law and music for a time before rejoining the SDP in 2003. He was voted back into parliament in 2007 and was elected President of Croatia in 2010.
Angela Merkel of Germany
Angela Merkel is currently Chancellor of Germany. She earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry and worked as a researcher in physical chemistry for twelve years. After the Berlin Wall fell, she joined the Democratic Awakening Party and became its deputy spokesperson.
In 1990, she joined the Christian Democratic Union where she held several cabinet positions. In 1998, she became Secretary General of the party and in 2000, she became the head of the party. Her first run for Chancellor failed in 2002, but she won the race in 2005. This made her the first female Chancellor in Germany’s history and the first leader to have come from East Germany.
Merkel stands out as one of the few leaders on this list who didn’t study business or law at any point. Angela Merkel shows that even working in academia or business for years doesn’t preclude rising far in politics later in life.
Xi Jinping of China
Xi Jinping is serving as the President of the People’s Republic of China. He first graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979 and graduated with a doctorate in law in 2002. He started working for the Central Secretariat in 2007. In 2013, he was elected President of China.
Abdullah Gül of Turkey
Abdullah Gül of Turkey first earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1971. He spent several years teaching economics while founding an engineering department at the University of Sakarya. He earned a doctorate from Istanbul University and from there, he worked as an economic advisor for the Islamic Development Bank. In 1991, he was voted into parliament. In 2002, he served as the interim Prime Minister and in 2007 he became President of Turkey.
This list is definitely one full of inspiration. If you’re working on becoming a leader, remember to celebrate the small victories along the way. Nobody walks into a position of power, so working your way up should be celebrated. Having the right mindset is also essential. To establish and celebrate your own successes, display your certificates and diplomas. Not only does this help you be mindful of your hard-earned achievements, it also makes those around you aware of your educational background. Consider selecting a frame from diplomaframe.com so that your certificate is properly protected and can be displayed with pride.
Additionally, while celebrating your own successes don’t forget to celebrate your team’s achievements. A leader is nothing without his or her team. Check out this article for inspiration: http://www.coraliesawruk.com/celebrate-team-success/.
Of course, a full list of world leaders with doctoral degrees would be much longer than this one. But we took time to list those we consider the most interesting and most famous examples. It’s important to remember that leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and they all took different routes to get where they are today. What will your route be?