2019 World Leaders: A Pronunciation Guide

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This guide lists the names, titles, and pronunciations of a wide range of foreign leaders from around the world. This is not a comprehensive list; countries of particular importance to current affairs have been indicated with an asterisk. The names and titles are from the CIA World Fact Book and recent media sources. Foreign leaders for each country are listed in descending order of potential engagement with US Policymakers. Pronunciations are based primarily on the Voice of America pronunciation guide. Surnames and family names are indicated by all capital letters. Upcoming election information has also been included for positions with scheduled elections.

Africa

Algeria

Head of State: Acting President Abdelkader Bensalah 1

(ahb-dehl kah-DER bin-sah-LAH)

Since: April 9, 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo

Head of State: President Felix Tshisekedi

(fee-LIKS chee-seh-KEH-dee)

Since: January 25, 2019

Next Election: December, 2023

Djibouti

Head of State: President Ismail Omar Guelleh

(HIHS-mah-ihl  OH-mahr  GEH-leh)

Since: May 8, 1999

Next Election: April, 2021

Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed

(Ab-dool-kaw-der Kah-meel  moh-HAH-mehd)

Since: April 1, 2013

Appointed by the President

Egypt*

Head of State: President Abdel Fattah Elsisi

(AHB-dehl FAH-tah ah-SEE-see)

Since: June 8, 2014

Next Election: March, 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly

(mohs-tah-fah mad-BOOL-ee)

Since: June 14, 2018

Appointed by the President

Kenya

Head of State: President Uhuru Kenyatta

(oo-HOO-roo  kehn-YAH-tah)

Since: April 9, 2013

Next Election: August, 2022

Libya*2

Prime Minister (Government of National Accord): Fayiz al-Saraj

(FAH-yehz al sahr-RAJ)

Since: March 30, 2016

Prime Minister (National Salvation Government): Khalifa al-Ghawil

(kah-LEE-fah al-GAH-weel)

Since: October 14, 2016

Field Marshal (Libyan National Army): Khalifa Haftar

(kah-LEE-fah HAHF-tar)

Since: March 2, 2015

Mali

Head of State: President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

(EE-brah-hihm BOO-bah-kahr KAY-tah)

Since: September 4, 2013

Next Election: July, 2023

Head of Government: Prime Minister Boubou Cisse

(BOO-BOO SEE-say)

Since: April 23, 2019

Appointed by the President

Morocco

Head of State: King Mohammed VI

(moh-HAH-mehd)

Since: July 22, 1999

Head of Government: Prime Minister Saad Eddine al-Othmani

(SAHD eh-DEEN ooth-MAH-nee)

Since: March 17, 2017

Appointed by the King

Niger

Head of State: President Mahamadou Issoufou

(mah-hah-mah-DOO)

Since: April 7, 2011

Next Election: February, 2021

Head of Government: Prime Minister Brigi Rafini

(BREE-ghee RAH-fee-nee)

Since: April 7, 2011

Appointed by the President

Nigeria*

Head of State: President Muhammadu Buhari

(moo-hah-MAH-doo boo-HAH-ree)

Since: May 29, 2015

Next Election: February 2023

Somalia*

Head of State: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

(moh-HAH-mehd ahb-dah-LAH-hee moh-HAH-mehd)

Since: February 16, 2017

Next Election: February 2022

Tunisia

Head of State: President Beji Caid Essebsi

(BAH-zhee KAH-ihd eh-SEHB-see)

Since: December 31, 2014

Next Election: November 10, 2019

Rwanda

Head of State: President Paul Kagame

(PAWL kah-GAH-meh)

Since: March 24, 2000

Next Election: August, 2024

South Africa

Head of State: President Cyril Ramaphosa

(SIH-rehl rah-mah-POH-sah)

Since: February 15, 2018

Next Election: May, 2024

South Sudan*

Head of State: President Salva Kiir Mayardit

(SAHL-vah KEER M-EYE-ahr-diht)

Since: July 23, 2016

Next Election: July, 2021

Head of Government: Vice President (in Exile) Riek Machar

(ree-EHK mah-SHAHR)

Since: July 23, 2016

Appointed by the President

Sudan*

Chairman of the Transitional Military Council: Abdel Fattah al-Burhan3

(AHB-dehl FAH-tah al-BOOR-han)

Since: April 12, 2019

Zimbabwe

Head of State: President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa

(EHM-ehr-sohn muh-nahn-GAHG-wah)

Since: November 24, 2017

Next Election: July, 2023

Asia

Afghanistan*

Head of State: President Ashraf Ghani

(ahsh-RAHF gah-NEE)

Since: September 21, 2014

Next Election: September 28, 2019

Head of Government: Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Dr

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

Since: September 29, 2014

Appointed by the President

Burma*

Head of State: President Win Myint

(win MYE-unt)

Since: March 30, 2018

Next Election: November, 2020

Head of Government: State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi

(AWN(g) SAN SOO CHEE)

Since: April 6, 2016

Appointed by the President

China*

Head of State: President Xi Jinping

(SHEE JEEN-PEENG)

Since: November 15, 2012

India*

Head of State: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

(nah-REHN-drah MOH-DEE)

Since: May 26, 2014

Next Election: May, 2024

Head of State: President Ram Nath Kovind

(raum nath Koh-vihnd)

Since: July 25, 2017

Next Election: July, 2022

Japan*

Head of State: Emperor Naruhito

(Nar-rooh-HE-tow)

Since: May 1, 2019

Head of Government: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

(SHEEN-zoh AH-bay)

Since: December 26, 2012

Next Election: October 22, 2021

North Korea*

Head of State: Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un

(KIHM JAWNG-UHN)

Since: December 30, 2011

Pakistan*

Head of Government: Prime Minister Imran Khan

(ihm-RAHN KAHN)

Since: August 18, 2018

Next Election: October 12, 2023

Head of State: President Arif Alvi

(AH-rihf AL-vee)

Since: September 9, 2018

Appointed by the Electoral College

Philippines

Head of State: President Rodrigo Duterte

(roe - DREE - go doo - TARE - tay)

Since: June 30, 2016

Next Election: May 9, 2022

South Korea*

Head of State: President Moon Jae-in

(MOON JAAH IHN)

Since: May 10, 2017

Next Election: May, 2022

Taiwan

Head of State: President Tsai Ing-wen

((t)S-EYE EENG WUHN)

Since: May 20, 2016

Next Election: January 11, 2020

Australia/Oceana

Australia*

Head of Government: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Since: August 24, 2018

Next Election: May, 2022

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

New Zealand

Head of Government: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

(Jah-sin-da Ar-durn)

Since: October 26, 2017

Next Election: November 21, 2020

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

Europe

Denmark

Head of Government: Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen

(MAY-tah Fred-er-rik-son)

Since: June 27, 2019

Next Election: June, 2023 (based on an ability to achieve majority support in Parliament)

Head of State: Queen Margrethe II

(mahr-GREHT-eh)

Since: January 14, 1972

Estonia

Head of State: President Kersti Kaljulaid

(Keer-stee Kal-YU-layd)

Since: October 10, 2016

Next Election: October, 2021

France*

Head of State: President Emmanuel Macron

(E-man-yoo-ell Ma-crohn)

Since: May 14, 2017

Next Election: May, 2022

Georgia

Head of State: President Salome Zourabichvili

(SAH-loh-may zoo-rah-BEESH-vee-lee)

Since: December 16, 2018

Next Election: November, 2024

Germany*

Head of Government: Chancellor Angela Merkel

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

Since: November 22, 2005

Next Election: October, 2021

Head of State: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

(FRAHNK VAHL-tehr SHT-EYE-N-m-eye-her)

Since: March 19, 2017

Next Election: February, 2022

Greece

Head of Government: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

(ah-LEHK-sees SEEP-rahs)

Since: September 21, 2015

Next Election: July, 2023

Head of State: President Prokopios Pavlopoulos

(pro-KOH-pee-os paav-LAW-poo-laws)

Since: March 13, 2015

Next Election: February, 2020

Holy See (Vatican City)*

Head of State (Supreme Pontiff): Pope Francis

Since: March 13, 2013

Hungary

Head of Government: Prime Minister Viktor Orban

(VIHK-tohr OHR-bahn)

Since: May 29, 2010

Next Election: April, 2022

Head of State: President Janos Ader

(YAH-noosh AHD-air)

Since: May 10, 2012

Next Election: March, 2022

Ireland

Head of State: President Michael Daniel Higgins

Since: September 11, 2011

Next Election: October, 2025

Head of Government: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar

(TEE-SHOOK Leo Var-ad-kar)

Since: June 1, 2018

Appointed by the President

Italy*

Head of State: President Sergio Mattarella

(ser-gih-oh mat-tah-rel-lah)

Since: February 3, 2015

Next Election: January, 2022

Head of Government: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

(Jee-u-zeh-peh Kon-te)

Since: June 1, 2018
Next Election: May, 2023

Latvia

Head of State: President Raimonds Vejonis

(Rah-ey-moon vey-yu-ah-nis)

Since: July 8, 2015

Next Election: June, 2019

Head of Government: Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins

(KRIS-chn KOOR-inss)

Since: January 23, 2019

Next Election: October, 2022

Lithuania

Head of State: President Dalia Grybauskaite

(dal-LEH   GREE-bohsk-eye-teh)

Since: July 21, 2009

Next Election: May, 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis

(SOO-lee-us skarn-nae-lis)

Since: December 13, 2013

Next Election: October 11, 2020

Poland

Head of State: President Andrzej Duda

(awn-jay doo-duh)

Since: August 6, 2015

Next Election: May, 2020

Head of Government: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

(Mah-tey-oosh More-ah-vyets-kee)

Since: December 11, 2017

Next Election: November 11, 2019

Russia*

Head of State: President Vladimir Putin

(vlah-DEE-meer POO-tihn)

Since: May 7, 2012

Next Election: March, 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

(d-MEE-tree   m(y)ehd-V(y)EHD-yehf)

Since: May 8, 2012

Next Election: September 19, 2021

Spain*

Head of Government: President Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon

(Pey-dro San-chez)

Since: June 2, 2018

Next Election: May 28, 2023

Head of State: King Felipe VI

(fay-LEE-pay)

Since: June 19, 2014

Ukraine

Head of State: President Volodymry Zelensky

(VOH-loh-dee-meer zeh-LEHN-skee)

Since: May 20, 2019

Next Election: March, 2024

United Kingdom*

Head of Government: Prime Minister Theresa May

Since: July 13, 2016

Next Election: Underway (as of June 14, 2019)

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

Middle East

Bahrain

Head of State: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

(HAH-mahd bihn EE-sah al-kah-LEE-fah)

Since: March 6, 1969

Head of Government: Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa

(EE-sah bihn  SAL-mahn  al kah-LEE-fah)

Since: January 19, 1969

Iran*

Head of State: Supreme Leader (Ayatollah) Ali Hoseini-KhameneI

(eye-ah-toh-LAH  ah-LEE  hah-mehn-a-EE)

Since: June 4, 1989

Head of Government: President Hasan Fereidun Ruhani

(hah-SAHN roh-hah-NEE)

Since: August 3, 2013

Next Election: June, 2021

Iraq*

Head of State: President Barham Salih

(BAHR-hahm SAH-leh)

Since: October 2, 2018

Next Election: October, 2022

Head of Government: Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi

(ADD-ihl  ahb-DAH-lah  MAH-dee)

Since: October 25, 2018

Next Election: October, 2022

Israel*

Head of State: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(BEHN-juh-min neht-an-YAH-hoo)

Since: March 31, 2009

Next Election: September 17, 2019

Head of Government: President Reuben Rivlin

(ROO-vihn RIHV-lihn)

Since: July 24, 2014

Next Election: September 17, 2019

Jordan

Head of State: King Abdullah II

(ahb-DUHL-lah)

Since: February 7, 1999

Kuwait

Head of State: Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah

(suh-BAH al-ah-mawd al-jaw-beer al-suh-BAH)

Since: January 29, 2006

Head of Government: Prime Minister Jabir Al-Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah

(jaw-beer al- moo-BAH-rahk HAH-mahd al-sah-BAH)

Since: December 4, 2011

Lebanon

Head of Government: Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Hariri

(SAH-ahd al-hah-REE-ree)

Since: December 18, 2016

Appointed by the President

Head of State: President Michel Aoun

(Ah-kee-HEE-toh)

Since: October 31, 2016

Next Election: April, 2022

Palestinian Authority

President Mahmud Abbas

(mah-MOOD ah-BAHS)

Since: January 15, 2005

Qatar

Head of State: Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

(TAH-MEEM BIHN HAH-mahd al TAH-nee)

Since: June 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia*

Head of State: King Salaman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

(SAHL-mun BIN AH-bihd al ah-ZEES al-sah-OOD)

Since: January 23, 2015

Designated Successor: Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

(moh-HAH-mehd BIN SAHL-mun)

Since: June 21, 2017

Syria*

Head of State: President Bashar al-Assad

(bah-SHAHR ahl AH-sahd)

Since: July 17, 2000

United Arab Emirates

Head of State: President Khalida bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan

(kah-LEE-fah bihn ZAH-yehd al-nah-hah-YAHN)

Since: November 3, 2004

Yemen*

Head of State: President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi

(AH-bd RAH-boh mahn-SOOR HAD-ee)

Since: February 27, 2012

North America / Central America

Canada*

Head of Government: Prime Minister Justin Pierre James Trudeau

(Justin TROO-doh)

Since: November 4, 2015

Next Election: 21 October, 2019

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

Cuba*

Head of the Communist Party of Cuba: First Secretary Raul Castro

(Rah-ool KASS-troh)

Since: April 19, 2018

Next Election: March, 2023

Head of State: President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez

(mee-GAYL DEE-ahss Kah-nel)

Since: April 19, 2018

Appointed by the National Assembly

El Salvador

Head of State: President Nayib Bukele

(jay-mss moh-RAH-lays)

Since: June 1, 2019

Next Election: February, 2024

Guatemala

Head of State: President James Morales

(nay-YEEB BOO-kay-lay)

Since: June 1, 2019

Next Election: June, 2023

Honduras

Head of State: President Juan Orlando Hernandez

(HWAHN ohr-LAHN-doh air-NAHN-dehs)

Since: January 27: 2014

Next Election: November, 2021

Mexico*

Head of State: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

(ahn-DRAYS mahn-WEHL LOH-pehss oh-brah-DOOR)

Since: December 1, 2018

Next Election: July 2024

Nicaragua

Head of State: President Daniel Ortega  

(dahn-YEHL ohr-TAY-gah)

Since: February 7, 1999

Next Election: November, 2021

South America

Argentina

Head of State: President Mauricio Macri

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

Since: December 10, 2015

Next Election: October, 2023

Bolivia

Head of State: President Evo Morales

(A-voh moh-RAH-lays)

Since: January 22, 2006

Next Election: October 20, 2019

Brazil*

Head of State: President Jair Messias Bolsonaro

(jY-Ear Meh-CE-ASS  Bol-SOO-naro)

Since: January 1, 2019

Next Election: October, 2022

Chile

Head of State: President Sebastian Pinera

(seh-bahst-YEHN peen-YEH-rah)

Since: March 11, 2018

Next Election: November, 2021

Colombia

Head of State: President Ivan Duque Marquez

(EYE-vun DOO-keh maar-kehz)

Since: August 7, 2018

Next Election: May, 2022

Peru

Head of State: President Martin Vizcarra Cornejo

(Mar-teen viz-kar-ra corn-ne-ho)

Since: March 23, 2018

Next Election: April, 2021

Venezuela*

Head of State (Recognized as such by the United States): President Juan Guaido

(Juan gwy-DOH)

Since: January 10, 2019

Next Election: May, 20244

Head of State: President Nicolas Maduro

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

Since: April 19, 2013

Next Election: May, 20245

Multilateral Organizations

International Monetary Fund*

Managing Director: Christine Lagarde

(krihss-TEEN lah-GAHRD)

Since: July 5, 2011

Next Election: June, 2021

NATO*

Secretary General: Jens Stoltenberg

(YEHNS STOHL-tehn-behrk)

Since: October 1, 2014

United Nations*

Secretary General: António Guterres

(ahn-TOHN-yoo goo-TEH-rehsh)

Since: January 1, 2017

Next Election: March, 2022

World Bank*

President: David Malpass

Since: April 9, 2019

Next Appointment: February, 2024

Endnotes

  1. Former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika postponed Algeria’s election in response to protests against his candidacy for a fifth term. Bouteflika resigned on April 2, 2019 and a new election date has not been set.

  2. Libya is experiencing an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking to control the country. Primary belligerents include the Libyan National Army, the Government of National Accord (recognized as the official government by the United Nations), and the National Salvation Government.

  3. The Transitional Military Council is the current military junta governing Sudan in the aftermath of the coup d’état in April 2019, which deposed former Prime Minister Omar al-Bashir.

  4. Venezuela is currently experiencing a presidential crisis (as of June 14, 2019) which  may affect projected election dates

  5. Venezuela is currently experiencing a presidential crisis (as of June 14, 2019) which  may affect projected election dates