How Much Do You Know About World Leaders?

By: Zoe Samuel

How Much Do You Know About World Leaders?
Image: Italian G7 Presidency 2017 via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

Civilization does not just happen. It is the result of the efforts of thousands of people around the world working in governments to ensure that the staples of civilization are available: food, water, health, and comfort. Becoming the leader of a nation takes decades of experience, or moments of nepotism, or billions of dollars, or an army of rabid, well-armed followers. National leaders around the world come from humble beginnings as the sons of former dictators, or sons of former presidents, or local community organizers, to rise in the ranks of their parties, using social skills, brilliant policies, and/or bloodthirsty militias until one day, they can lay claim to the title of head of state.

Just because one doesn't know about world leaders does not make one safe from their actions. It could be argued that world leaders who stay away from the spotlight are potentially the most capable of having unseen influence. Of course, even the famous world leaders we think we know so well may have more to them than meets the eye. Western governments are just as prone to presidential myth-making as eastern ones, even if individual nations bestow upon their head of state the title of "Dear Leader." Do you have "Commons" knowledge? Can you parlay your parliamentary savvy into points? Are facts about world leaders part of your political "Diet"? Put your knowledge to the test with this quiz!

6 Putin Which of these world leaders is 5 feet and 7 inches tall?
Shinzō Abe
Donald J. Trump
Vladimir V. Putin
Vladimir V. Putin, who has likened homosexuality to Satan worship and frequently seeks opportunities to show his bare chest, or be seen wrestling with soldiers, is a diminutive 5 feet, 7 inches. This is exactly the same height as Napoleon Bonaparte. President Putin is the leader of Russia.
Queen Elizabeth II

Advertisement

22 Nguyễn Phú Trọng Which world leader got their start as an expert in political theory?
Paula-Mae Weekes
Ashraf Ghani
Sauli Niinistö
Nguyễn Phú Trọng
President Nguyễn Phú Trọng of Vietnam was educated in philology in Vietnam before earning the Soviet equivalent of a doctorate in political science, in Russia. Being a rigorously trained academic, it is no surprise that his start in politics was a political theorist for the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Advertisement

17 Salva Kiir Who was President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan preceded by in that office?
Riek Machar
Ali Osman Taha
John Garang
No one
President Mayardit is the first President of South Sudan, and has been in office since 2011. He was an important figure in the Sudanese Civil War that resulted in the country splitting in two.

Advertisement

21 Rodrigo Duterte Not every politician appreciates their nicknames. Can you say which politician is nicknamed "The Punisher"?
Emomali Rahmon
Mette Frederiksen
Paula-Mae Weekes
Rodrigo Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has been in politics for a very long time, having served 22 years as a mayor before running for president. One reason for his popularity is his hard-line approach to crime in general, and drug-related crimes in particular, advocating for extra-judicial vigilante killings of drug dealers and users, motivating Time Magazine to dub him "The Punisher," a nickname he loves.

Advertisement

7 Ali Khamenei Can you guess the profession of the father of Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran?
Religious scholar
Unsurprisingly, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, a theocrat, comes from a family whose profession has been, for centuries, religious scholarship. Before becoming Ayatollah in 1989, the provenance of the Iranian religious regime, helmed by the Ayatollahs, lead to the line in "Mad Max 2" when Lord Humungus is referred to as "Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla."
Barber
Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla
College professor

Advertisement

26 Knox Grammar School At school, one rubs elbows with men and women who may really go places. Which world leader went to an elite boarding school at the same time as actor Hugh Grant?
Sauli Niinistö
Volodymyr Zelensky
Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi
Boris Johnson
Separated by a paltry four years, British PM, Boris Johnson, was a student at Eton College, which means he would have been a student there at the same time as a young Hugh Grant. Eton College has produced 24 British Prime Ministers.

Advertisement

20 Emmanuel Macron Can you recall which of the following world leaders married their schoolteacher?
Mette Frederiksen
Boris Johnson
Paula-Mae Weekes
Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron came into politics as a technocratic outsider, interested in enacting policy, not politics. In his early 40s, good looking and wealthy, Macron is married to his former schoolteacher, Brigitte Macron, whom he met when she was married to her ex-husband and had three children.

Advertisement

19 Shinzō Abe All people are dust in the wind. Do you know which of the following world leaders nearly never existed, because their father nearly died on a suicide mission?
Shinzō Abe
Japanese PM Shinzō Abe's father, Shintaro Abe, volunteered to be a "kamikaze" pilot during the Second World War, but the war ended before Shintaro was ready to fly. Shinzō Abe's ancestors have a fascinating past spanning both high and low points in Japanese history, including his great-great-grandfather General Ōshima Yoshimasa, whose family had been samurai before the Meiji Restoration.
Malcolm Turnbull
Emmanuel Macron
Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Advertisement

24 Malcolm Turnbull This world leader got their start protecting a man who published a book deemed officially secret by the British government. Who is it?
Malcolm Turnbull
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull is best known for his recent party squabbles in the 2018 leadership spill, but once upon a time, he was a lawyer for the publisher of "Spycatcher," a book by former MI-5 counterintelligence officer Peter Wright. The book, which contains passages about the hunt for KGB agents within the British government, resulted in a lawsuit against the publisher by MI-5. Turnbull argued effectively for the publisher.
Boris Johnson
Mette Frederiksen
Nana Akufo-Addo

Advertisement

28 Mette Frederiksen Politics don't always travel well. Which of the following world leaders would be well received by their natural political allies in the U.S., until the Americans heard all of their views?
Mette Frederiksen
A strong environmentalist, the youngest Prime Minister of Denmark, engaged to a celebrated film director and veteran of a public spat with President Trump over his desire to buy Greenland, Mette Frederiksen seems like the sort of figure who would be embraced by a certain section of American politics. Of course, having immigration policies that are functionally the same as those of President Trump would not win her any permanent friends in her natural political niche in the U.S.
Sauli Niinistö
Ashraf Ghani
Nana Akufo-Addo

Advertisement

3 CDU Which of the following world leaders is a member of a party abbreviated as CDU?
Emomali Rahmon
Donald J. Trump
Alexander Van der Bellen
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel, whose first national office as a cabinet minister for women and youth was under PM Helmut Kohl's regime, is a member of the CDU, which stands for the Christian Democratic Union. Considered a relatively conservative party by German standards, the CDU would be seen as outright leftist in America.

Advertisement

14 Kim Kielsen Who is Kim Kielsen?
She is the PM of Iceland.
He is the PM of Greenland.
Despite having a relationship with Denmark similar to the relationship between the UK and Bermuda, Greenland is its own country with its own parliament. The PM of Greenland, Kim Kielsen, is perhaps best known for mocking the recent American bid to purchase Greenland from Denmark, which does not own it.
She is the President of Sweden.
He is the President of New Zealand.

Advertisement

4 Bashar Al-Assad Which profession did Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad dream of entering, before his turn in politics?
Tickle-torturer
Doctor
Before Bashar al-Assad followed in the footsteps of his father, Hafez "Hama Massacre" al-Assad, who killed tens of thousands of his own people after seizing power in a military coup, the younger Assad dreamed of being a physician. Many Syrians probably wish he had followed that dream, rather than perpetuating his family's bloody reign.
Bomber pilot
Corrupt businessman

Advertisement

18 Jacinda Ardern PM Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand graduated from university in 2001. In what subject was her degree?
Comparative Religion
Electrical Engineering
English Literature
Communication Studies
When PM Ardern refused to name the mass shooter in Christchurch, she was likely drawing upon her expert knowledge of communications, as a major in Communication Studies while at university. Having worked her way through the political ranks, she was once an aide to the second female PM in the history of New Zealand.

Advertisement

27 Khaltmaagiin Battulga What profession did Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga have before entering politics?
Snake wrangler
Professional wrestler
President Khaltmaagiin Battulga's father was a famous wrestling coach, and Khaltmaagiin followed in his footsteps, allowing him to see the world and learn Sambo and Judo. While abroad, he founded a successful international trading business he named Genco, after the first consigliere of the Corleone family in "The Godfather."
Pearl diver
Cattleman

Advertisement

29 Alexander Lukashenko What title is held by Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus?
President of Belarus
When someone is president long enough, one has to suspect something is wrong. President Alexander Lukashenko has been President of Belarus since 1994. In 1996, when he was going to be impeached for violating the constitution, he had it amended by referendum. When he reached his term limit, he held a referendum to eliminate them. Lukashenko, who has dim views of gays and Jews, has been given awards by Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Libya.
King of Belarus
Grand Commander of Belarus
Dictator of Belarus

Advertisement

31 Jair Bolsonaro Of what has Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed he is incapable?
Changing his political party affiliation
Coddling the firearms industry
Filing for divorce
Loving a gay son
President Bolsonaro has proven himself a capable man. He has shown he is, despite describing himself as a religious Catholic, divorcing repeatedly. He has proven himself a strong backer of the Brazilian firearms industry, which includes popular handgun maker Taurus. He has changed his political party several times. He draws the line, he says, at loving a gay son of his own.

Advertisement

16 Narendra Modi PM Narendra Modi of India is suspected of playing a role in something big in 2002. What was it?
He wrote Nickelback's 2002 hit "How You Remind Me."
He said that Amitabh Bachchan's performance in "Aankhen" was "lackluster."
He used the soup spoon to stir his tea at a state dinner with Tony Blair.
He encouraged the 2002 riots in Gujarat that killed a thousand people.
PM Narendra Modi is a hard-line Hindu nationalist whose activities in reaction to the 2002 attack on a train of Hindus in Gujarat by Muslims are believed to have resulted in the riots that killed about a thousand people, mostly Muslims. PM Modi was married at 13 through an arranged marriage but did not live with his wife until they were 18, and soon, the future PM abandoned the marriage.

Advertisement

5 - Pierre Trudeau Which of the following world leaders is part of a political dynasty?
Justin Trudeau
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is the son of 16-year former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, whose time as Prime Minister coincided with his son's upbringing. Pierre Trudeau's father, Justin's grandfather, saw that Pierre benefited from an excellent education, one that took him to the heights of power. Pierre Trudeau benefited similarly from his father and spent some time as a schoolteacher before entering politics.
Emmanuel Macron
Paula-Mae Weekes
Emomali Rahmon

Advertisement

25 Idriss Déby In which of the following ways does President Idriss Déby distinguish himself?
He is the tallest head of state in Africa.
He is the most brutal dictator in Africa.
He was a famous singer before entering politics.
He is the seventh richest President in Africa
Idriss Déby is estimated to be worth $50 million. In 2006, Forbes Magazine named Chad the most at the "top" of the world's "most corrupt nations," citing how World Bank funds intended to build a pipeline to feed the starving people of Chad were diverted to support Déby's regime.

Advertisement

5 Barham Salih For what reason was Barham Salih arrested in 1979?
He was accused of being part of a Kurdish separatist group.
A Kurd, President Barham Salih of Iraq was arrested twice in 1979 because the government accused him of being part of a Kurdish nationalist group for having photographed government protesters, spending more than a month in jail, where he was tortured. All this before he even graduated from high school.
He was accused of littering.
Are you kidding? He was in Iraq! They didn't need a reason!
He published a critique of Saddam Hussein.

Advertisement

33 Sebastián Piñera President Sebastián Piñera has a doctorate. Where did he earn it?
The Catholic University of Chile
Harvard University
An undergraduate alumnus of the Catholic University of Chile, President Sebastián Piñera earned a doctorate in economics from Harvard University. His upbringing was distinctly global, spending much of his childhood in the US and Belgium, following the career of his father, a civil servant.
Oxford University
Trump University

Advertisement

12 Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed What does Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's nickname refer to?
His time in the military
His success in sports
His unwavering support of the United States
His love of cheese
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's nickname is Farmajo, a corruption of "formaggio," the Italian word for cheese, which he famously loves. Why Italian? Somalia was once an Italian colony and has vestiges of Italian language of culture present. On the subject of Somalia, according to "Trading Economics" rating of corrupt nations, Somalia rates number 180 out of 180 corrupt nations, the US being number 22 and Russia being number 138.

Advertisement

34 Nana Akufo-Addo Many world leaders are the product of elite boarding schools. Which one went to Lancing College?
Nana Akufo-Addo
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana is the product of a powerful family with deep roots in politics in Ghana, one that paid for him to attend high school in the UK, at Lancing College, a boarding school in Sussex. Following graduation, he attended New College at Oxford briefly before several other universities, ultimately getting his law credentials through The Inns of Court in London.
Ashraf Ghani
Volodymyr Zelensky
Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi

Advertisement

32 Kim Jong-Un Kim Jong-Un is the wacky, terrifying dictator of North Korea. Which of the following facts about him is false?
He is the only top-ranking military leader in the world to have zero military training or experience.
He lifted the ban on women wearing trousers, earrings and platform shoes to attract feminists to North Korea.
He named curling the official sport of North Korea.
Kim Jong-Un is as mysterious and unpredictable as he is predictably mysterious. Stories about his eccentric behavior abound, some verifiable, some less so. One story run by "The Daily Mail" reads like an "Onion" story: Kim Jong-Un was alleged to have plastic surgery to make him look more like his grandfather.
He killed Deputy Defense Minister Kim Chol by exploding him with a mortar. His crime? Failing to sufficiently mourn the death of Kim Jong-Il.

Advertisement

35 Michael Higgins What year did Michael Higgins take office in Ireland?
2009
2011
Michael Higgins, who was elected as the ninth President of Ireland in 2011, has been involved in politics since the early 1980s and was a Labour Party leader before his presidency. President Higgins has thus far used his time in office to address the old wounds in society, promoting social justice.
2002
2015

Advertisement

30 Sauli Niinisto Sports can endear a politician to their constituents. Which world leader was the president of their country's football association?
Nana Akufo-Addo
Volodymyr Zelensky
Sauli Niinistö
President Sauli Niinistö of Finland made several attempts at winning the Presidency of Finland before succeeding, making him the first conservative to do so since the 1950s. In the interim, from the end of 2009 until his inauguration as President, he was the President of the Finnish Football Association.
Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi

Advertisement

13 Mark Rutte PM Mark Rutte of The Netherlands is as straightforward as he is Dutch. Which of the following statements about him is untrue?
He has double-jointed shoulders and can escape from a straight jacket.
The Netherlands is an unusual place with an unusual government. PM Mark Rutte is unmarried, which is uncommon among most world leaders, and he does, in fact, like to teach one day a week, uses an old fashioned Nokia with buttons, and has interrupted President Trump to contradict him.
He teaches civics in a Dutch secondary school once a week.
At the White House, he contradicted President Trump to his face when Trump claimed failing to agree on tariffs with the EU would be a good thing.
He claims he uses a Nokia phone for texting because his thumbs are too large for a smartphone interface.

Advertisement

15 Giuseppe Conte Do you know which of the following politicians' parties draws its name from the heavens?
Giuseppe Conte
PM Giuseppe Conte's anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, came about as a reaction to the rampantly corrupt and feckless Italian governments of the past. Founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, this populist movement's name is derived from five key, related issues: environmentalism, sustainable transportation, sustainable development, public water, and a right to internet access.
Emmanuel Macron
Emomali Rahmon
Shinzō Abe

Advertisement

11 Pedro Sánchez Pérez Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez had some cool jobs, but one stands apart. Do you know what that job was?
Housing architect for Habitat For Humanity
Chief Elf and Executive Vice President of Toy Innovation for Santa's Workshop
Pediatric neurosurgeon with Doctors Without Borders
Chief of Staff to the UN High Representative in Bosnia during the war in Kosovo
PM Pedro Sánchez is nothing if not on a roll. After earning degrees from several venerable European learning institutions, he worked variously for the UN and the European Parliament. After stints as a mayor and a party leader, he became PM after the other major political party suffered a major scandal. He has opposed the separatist movement in Catalonia his whole career.

Advertisement

8 Andrés Manuel López Obrador On what policy is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, noted for touting in his run for office?
Ending the mismanagement of the Department of Redundancy Department!
Ending all unnecessary medical procedures!
Providing free access to some sort of medicine that everyone likes!
Actually, his platform was something of a Rorschach test.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, made two runs at the Presidency of Mexico before being elected, having left his old party altogether. The platform he ran on in 2018 was heavy or rhetoric and light on specifics, even among Obrador's own staff. As a result, voters could see in him what they wanted to see, which was clever.

Advertisement

10 Law Who received their law degree in 1987?
Shinzō Abe
Viktor Orbán
Viktor Orbán, who was Prime Minister of Hungary from 1998 to 2002 and again from 2010 until the present, earned his law degree in 1987 and began his career in a European research group sponsored by The Soros Foundation, a group that now decries Orbán as anti-democratic.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Alexander Van der Bellen

Advertisement

23 Saadeddine Othmani To what party does Moroccan PM Saadeddine Othmani belong?
The Lamp Party
Moroccan PM Saadeddine Othmani has positioned himself as a reformer, saying he wants to model his Lamp Party on the Christian Democratic Union party in Germany, of which PM Merkel is a member. In a very cool turn of history, he earned his degree in Casablanca.
The Candle Party
The Reform Party
The Crescent Party

Advertisement

1 Xi Jinping Politicians must endure all manner of indignities at the hands of the public. Who chafes when they are compared with Winnie the Pooh?
Donald J. Trump
Shinzō Abe
Emomali Rahmon
Xi Jinping
China's President Xi Jinping has profound power in China, having extended his tenure by changing the Communist Party rules to allow him to serve more than two terms as President. His nation has no Bill of Rights to speak of, meaning the President has nearly limitless power. That said, President Xi is very sensitive about comparisons between his looks and those of Winnie the Pooh, even banning mentions of the bear from the internet.

Advertisement

Astrophysics
Physical education
Abstract theory of dead languages
Zoological engineering and accounting
Winner of the 2017 Kyrgyzstan presidential contest, Sooronbay Jeenbekov's education was a product of the Soviet Union and its priorities, combined with the practical needs of Kyrgyzstan. He earned two degrees, one in "zoological engineering" and one in accounting. Mom and dad must be very proud.

Advertisement

You Got:
/35

Featured