Primer|National Security   21 Minute Read

World Leaders: A Pronunciation Guide

Published May 24, 2016

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This guide lists the names, titles, and pronunciations of a wide range of foreign political leaders in the following areas.1

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia/Oceana
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • North America/Central America
  • South America
  • Multilateral Organizations

Africa

Egypt

Defense Minister:2 Sedki Sobhi

(SIHD-kee )

Since: March 27, 2014

President: Abdel Fattah el Sisi

(AHB-dehl  FAH-tah ah SEE-see)

Since: June 8, 2014

Kenya

President: Uhuru Kenyatta

(oo-HOO-roo kehn-YAH-tah)

Since: April 4, 2013

Libya

Head of Unity Government: Fayez al Sarraj

(FAH-yehz al sahr-RAJ)

Since: February 15, 2016

Morocco

Head of State: King Mohamed VI

(mo-HAH-mehd)

Since: July 23, 1999

Nigeria

President: Muhammadu Buhari

(moo-HAH-mah-doo boo-HAH-ree)

Since: May 29, 2015

Rwanda

President: Paul Kagame

(kah-GAH-meh)

Since: March 24, 2000

South Africa

President: Jacob Zuma

(JAY-khub ZOO-mah)

Since: May 9, 2009

Sudan

President: Omar al-Bashir

(OH-mahr ehl baa-SHEER)

Since: June 30, 1989

South Sudan

President: Salva Kiir

(SAHL-vah KEER)

Since: July 9, 2011

Zimbabwe

President: Robert Mugabe

(RAH-behrt moo-GAH-beh)

Since: December 31, 1987

Prime Minister Designate: Morgan Tsvangirai

(MOHR-gehn CHAHN-gihr-EYE)

Since: February 11, 2009

Asia

Afghanistan

President: Ashraf Ghani

(ahsh-RAHF gah-NEE)

Since: September 29, 2014

Prime Minister: Abdullah Abdullah

(ahb-DUH-LAH ahb-DUH-LAH)

Since: September 29, 2014

India

Prime Minister: Narendra Modi

(nah-REHN-drah MOH-DEE)

Since: May 26, 2014

Burma

President: Htin Kyaw

(HOO-tin CHAW)

Since: March 30, 2016

Human Rights Activist: Aung San Suu Kyi*

(AWN SAN SOO CHEE)

*1991 Nobel Prize recipient

China

President: Xi Jinping

(SHEE JEEN-PEENG)

Since: November 14, 2013

Premier: Li Keqiang

(LEE KUH CHANG)

Since: March 15, 2013

North Korea

Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army: Kim Jon Un

(KIHM JAWNG-UHN)

Since: December 30, 2011

Indonesia

President: Joko Widodo

(JOH-koh WEE-doh-doh)

Since: October 20, 2014

Japan

Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe

(SHEEN-zoh AH-bay)

Since: December 26, 2012

Emperor: Akihito

(ah-kee-HEE-toh)

Since: January 7, 1989

Pakistan

Prime Minister: Nawaz Sharif

(nah-WAHZ shah-REEF)

Since: June 5, 2013

President: Mamnoon Hussain

(mahm-NOON hoo-SAY-N)

Since: September 10, 2013

Chief of Army Staff: Gen. Raheel Sharif

(ra-HEEL shah-REEF)

Since: November 27, 2013

South Korea

President: Park Geun-hye

(PAHK GOON HEH)

Since: February 25, 2013

Taiwan

President: Tsai Ing-wen

((t)S-EYE EENG WUHN)

Since: May 20, 2016

Australia/Oceana

Australia

Prime Minister: Malcom Turnbull

Since: September 15, 2015

New Zealand

Prime Minister: John Key

Since: November 19, 2008 

Europe

France

President: Francois Hollande

(frahn-SWAH oh-LAHN-deh)

Since: May 15, 2012

Germany

Chancellor: Angela Merkel

(ahn-GAY-lah M-AIR-kl)

Since: November 22, 2005

Greece

Prime Minister: Alexis Tsipras

(ah-LEHK-sees SEEP-rahs)

Since: September 21, 2015

Ireland

Prime Minister: Enda Kenny

(EHN-dah KEH-nee)

Since: March 9, 2011

Italy

Prime Minister: Matteo Renzi

(mah-TAY-oh REHN-zee)

Since: February 22, 2014

Russia

President: Vladimir Putin

(vlah-DEE-meer POO-tihn)

Since: May 7, 2012

Spain

Prime Minister: Mariano Rajoy

(mah-ree-AH-noh rah-HOY)

Since: December 21, 2011

Head of State: King Felipe VI

(fay-LEE-pay)

Since: June 19, 2014

United Kingdom

Prime Minister: David Cameron

(DAY-vihd KAM-uh-ruhn)

Since: May 11, 2010

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II3

Since: June 2, 1953 

Middle East

Bahrain

King: King Hamad

(HAH-mahd)

Since: March 6, 1999

Iran

Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

(Eye-ah-toe-LAH ah-LEE hahmehn-a-EE)

Since: June 4, 1989

President: Hassan Rouhani

(hah-SAHN roh-hah-NEE)

Since: August 3, 2013

Iraq

Prime Minister: Haider al Abadi

(H-EYE-dehr al ah-BAH-dee)

Since: September 9, 2014

President: Foouad Massoum

(foo-AHD mah-SOOM)

Since: July 24, 2014

Israel

President: Reuven Rivlin

(ROO-vihn RIHV-lihn)

Since: July 24, 2014

Prime Minister: Binyamin Netanyahu

(behn-yah-MEEN neht-an-YAH-hoo)

Since: March 31, 2009

Defense Minister: Moshe Ya’alon

(moh-SHEH yah-ah-LOHN)

Since: March 18, 2013

Jordan

Head of State: King Abdullah II

(ahb-DUHL-lah)

Since: February 7, 1999

Lebanon

President: Michel Suleiman

(mee-SHELL soo-lay-MAHN)

Since: May 25, 2008

Secretary General, Hezbollah: Hassan Nasrallah

(HAH-sahn nahs-RAH-lah)

Since: February 16, 1992

Palestinian Authority

President of the PA: Mahmud Abbas

(mah-MOOD ah-BAHS)

Since: January 15, 2005

Saudi Arabia

Head of State: King Salman

(SAHL-mun)

Since: January 22, 2015

Syria

President: Bashar al-Assad

(bah-SHAHR ahl AH-sahd)

Since: July 17, 2000

Turkey

Prime Minister: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

(reh- JEHP t-eye-YIHP ERR-doh-ahn)

Since: March 14, 2003

Yemen

President: Abdurabu Mansur Hadi

(AH-bd RAH-boh mahn-SOOR HAD-ee)

Since:  November 23, 2011

North/Central America

Canada

Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau

(Justin TROO-doh)

Since: November 4, 2015

Mexico

President: Enrique Peña Nieto

(En-REE-kay PAYN-yah nee-EH-toh)

Since: July 2, 2012

Cuba

President: Raúl Castro

(rah-OOL KASS-troh)

Since: April 19, 2011

Nicaragua

President: Daniel Ortega

(dahn-YEHL or-TAY-gah)

Since: January 10, 2007

South America

Argentina

President: Mauricio Macri

(MORE-ree-SEE-o MAH-cree)

Since: December 11, 2015

Bolivia

President: Evo Morales

(E-voh moh-RAH-lays)

Since: January 22, 2006

Brazil

President: Dilma Rousseff

(JEEL-mah ROO-sehf)

Since: January 1, 2011

Chile

President: Michelle Bachelet

(mee-SHELL bah-cheh-LET)

Since: March 11, 2014

Colombia

President: Juan Manuel Santos

(HWAHN mahn-WEHL SAHN-tohs)

Since: August 7, 2010

Peru

President: Ollanta Moises Humala

(oh-YAHN-tah oo-MAH-lah)

Since: July 28, 2011

Venezuela

President: Nicholás Maduro

(nee-koh-LAHS mah-DOO-roh)

Since: April 19, 2013

Multilateral Organizations

European Union

President, European Council: Donald Tusk

Since: December 1, 2014

International Monetary Fund

Managing Director: Christine Lagarde

(Krihss-TEEN lah-GAHRD)

Since: July 5, 2011

United Nations

Secretary General: Ban Ki-Moon

(BAHN GHEE-MOON)

Since: January 1, 2007

World Bank

President: Jim Yong Kim

Since: July 1, 2012

NATO

Secretary-General: Jens Stoltenberg

(YEHNS STOHL-tehn-behrk)

Since: October 1, 2009

  1. This is not a comprehensive The names and titles are from the CIA World Factbook and recent media sources. Pronunciations are from the Voice of America pronunciation guide.

  2. The Defense Minister is currently in charge of the provisional government; elections are currently ongoing.

  3. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state to 15 Commonwealth countries including: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Papua New Guinea.

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