On August 17th, I wrote a post, After you study abroad, you become president. My audacious title attempted to encapsulate my own wonder about the link between foreign study and leadership, especially in contexts where the leader can influence his or her country’s social and economic development.
On August 19th, the Washington Times published an article on similar topics, Armed with U.S. education, many leaders take on world. For my taste, the article is saccharine with pro-USA rhetoric. It focuses too much on America’s “soft power” advantage and too little on how an individual’s degree leads to tangible change in his or her home country.
Yet it did provide several examples of world leaders who studied in the U.S. (a brief list is posted to the right), including this interesting example:
Before John Garang took up arms at the helm of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, he spent four years at Iowa’s Grinnell College earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. A decade after graduating in 1969, he returned to the state to get his master’s degree and doctorate from Iowa State University in agricultural economics.
(Yes, this author is an ISU graduate and biased.)
Also, in my August 17th post, I highlighted two articles on the Sahel Blog; on that site, a reader named Ahmed posted the following comment about the upcoming presidential elections in Somalia:
I find Anne Campbell’s piece on the issue of African presidents and overseas education fascinating. Next week, the 275 Somali member of parliament will select speaker and president. Nearly 120 such foreign-trained are running for the above. But will the Somali conundrum be solved once and for all if any of the above wins next week? May the best loser win.
Ahmed also shared an opinion piece from Wardheer News, which provides several examples of Somali foreign-education presidential candidates.
I also received a few emailed comments. Examples, critiques, and thoughts are always welcome on this site, as well!