Magazine article Times Higher Education

UK Universities Are Political Heavyweights on Global Stage

Magazine article Times Higher Education

UK Universities Are Political Heavyweights on Global Stage

Article excerpt

Hepi says Manchester and Oxford lead for number of alumni who are world leaders. Jack Grove writes

Asked to identify something associated with Manchester, most people would probably mention its football clubs, Coronation Street or one of its numerous indie bands.

But the city should perhaps be recognised for a lesser-known export in recent times: world leaders, suggests a study that highlights where international statesmen and women were educated in the UK.

Eight current prime ministers and presidents attended the University of Manchester, according to research by the Higher Education Policy Institute published on 1 October.

Only the University of Oxford produced more overseas leaders, boasting a total of nine, including five monarchs.

Among those to study at Manchester are Michael D. Higgins, president of the Republic of Ireland, Iceland's president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (pictured) and Iraq's prime minister Haider Al-Abadi, as well as elected leaders from Palestine, Mozambique, Somaliland and two Caribbean countries.

Those counting Oxford as their alma mater are arguably better known. They include Australia's new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who ousted fellow Oxford alumnus Tony Abbott last month, Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán, and the kings of Belgium, Bhutan, Jordan, Norway and Malaysia.

Other leaders educated at UK universities include Iran's president Hassan Rouhani, who studied prehistoric archaeology at Glasgow Caledonian University, Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos, who studied at the London School of Economics, and Tuvalu's prime minister Enele Sopoaga, who studied at both Oxford and the University of Sussex. …

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