Go to the Head of the Class

By Baker, Katie | Newsweek, August 30, 2010 | Go to article overview

Go to the Head of the Class


Baker, Katie, Newsweek


Byline: Katie Baker

Running a country can be a thankless job, but these 10 leaders have managed to win serious respect.

The Leader Other Leaders Love: Manmohan Singh

The prime minister, a sophisticated former economist, played the key role in India's emergence as a world power, engineering the transition from stagnant socialism to go-go capitalism. But it's Singh's unassuming personal style that really inspires awe among his fellow global luminaries, who praise him for being modest, humble, and incorruptible.

The Ambitious Newcomer: David Cameron

Britain's youngest prime minister in more than a century, the 43-year-old inherited a fragile economy, an unpopular war, and a country fed up with politicians when he took office three months ago. But his drastic plans for tackling the budget deficit have soothed markets, and analysts across the political spectrum are hailing him for his political daring.

The Green Guru: Mohamed Nasheed

President of an island nation imperiled by rising sea levels, Nasheed has become a hero among environmentalists. In Copenhagen, he shamed rich nations by pledging to make the Maldives the world's first carbon-neutral country. Al Gore likes to quote him on the human cost of climate change. And in April, the U.N. elected him a "2010 Champion of the Earth."

The Loved-Abroad-Hated-At-Home: Nicolas Sarkozy

Scandals and dismal approval ratings plague him in France, but give the French president a bigger stage and he shines. As EU chief in 2008, he took the lead on everything from fighting piracy to brokering peace between Russia and Georgia. This fall, Sarko will take over the G8, with Iran and the recession on his to-do list.

The Man of the People: Wen Jiabao

China's premier has earned a reputation as a leader with a heart. Speaking with survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, he openly wept. This month he flew to a remote province to visit villagers trapped by floods. And he's dedicated himself to reducing China's rich-poor gap. …

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